Mon | Dec 5, 2022

Tallawahs up for Kings challenge

Knock-out stage of CPL begins today in Guyana

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2022 | 12:08 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
The Caribbean Premier League’s final four captains:  From left -  Barbados Royals’ Kyle Mayers, Shimron Hetmyer of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, Faf Du Plessis of the St Lucia Kings and Rovman Powell of the Jamaica Tallawahs. The photograph was taken at
The Caribbean Premier League’s final four captains: From left - Barbados Royals’ Kyle Mayers, Shimron Hetmyer of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, Faf Du Plessis of the St Lucia Kings and Rovman Powell of the Jamaica Tallawahs. The photograph was taken at the play-off press conference in Guyana yesterday.

It has been just under a month that fans have witnessed some enthralling T20 cricket action right here in the Caribbean, but soon, the final four will be whittled down to the last two as the knock-out stage of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) gets under way today with a doubleheader.

Two-time champions the Jamaica Tallawahs, who finished fourth in the standings, will square off with the third-place team, the St Lucia Kings, in the second eliminator match starting at 6 p.m. Jamaica time at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.

Before that, the home side, the Amazon Warriors, who finished second on the table, will do battle with the table-topping Barbados Royals at 9 a.m. Jamaica time in qualifier one.

The Rovman Powell-led Tallawahs know all too well that it’s ‘win or go home’ against the Kings, who won the only game they have played this season, with the other encounter ending in a no-result.

That no-result prevented the Tallawahs from a hat-trick of defeats, but Powell believes that that phase of the competition is done and dusted, and it’s strictly business from here on in.

“It’s been an up and down season for us as a franchise, but the guys have played some good cricket in patches. The guys are up for the challenge, and we are looking forward to what the final weekend brings,” said Powell.

If the Tallawahs are to progress to the championship game, they will have to be at their best not only once, but twice, as they will then face the losers of the Warriors and Royals game for a place in the final.

With the team’s batting flattering to deceive on several occasions this season, skipper Powell believes there is no better time to get it right, with silverware within touching distance.

“This year is a big step up for the franchise, which was not in the playoffs last year. As it relates to the batting, the guys have the full backing of the staff and coaches, and it’s just for us to put up our hands and come to the party.”

One player who has come to the party with the bat is opener Brandon King, who has scored the second most runs in the tournament so far with 326. Powell has also helped himself handily to some runs, scoring 223 in nine innings.

In the bowling department, the Tallawahs will be banking on their Pakistani imports of Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, who has snared 13 and 12 wickets, respectively.

If statistics were the sole determining factor, then the Kings would be on top as they possess the tournament’s leading run-scorer in Johnson Charles as well as the competition’s leading wicket-taker in Alzarri Joseph.

Charles has so far scored 342 runs in eight innings, with four half-centuries with captain Faf Du Plessis also contributing with the bat with 291 runs in nine innings, with a century and a half-century.

Joseph has taken 16 wickets at an economy rate of 6.63, and with those positive numbers, Du Plessis is keen to continue the team’s resurgence to the final.

“Our starts have been something almost like a weapon for us, and hopefully, we can get off to a good start again. I am also pleased that other guys are also starting to hit the ball well, and that is good from a batting perspective.”