By Brandon Corlette
The top team in the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) will meet the jaded Jamaica Tallawahs today, Wednesday, September 18 from 20:00h.
These teams have been involved in riveting contests in past seasons, but when they return to Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, GAW will be the more confident unit.
GAW will be looking to make it five wins in as many matches while the Chadwick Walton-led Tallawahs team will be eyeing their second win this season in six matches. One of the most memorable matches between these teams came in 2018 in Florida where Guyanese batting sensation Shimron Hetmyer recorded his maiden T20 century.
With Tallawahs playing their home matches in Florida in 2018, the last time they hosted GAW in Jamaica was back in 2017. In that encounter, GAW cruised to a nine-wicket win. Having played four matches and registered that equal number of wins, GAW will be confident of entering the Tallawahs fortress and registering a fifth win in their 2019 Hero CPL campaign.
At the pre-match press conference, GAW Head Coach Johan Botha and Captain Shoaib Malik addressed media operatives; Botha highlighted that GAW will be looking to turn up and remain a consistent team. Meanwhile, Tallawahs Assistant Coach Ramnaresh Sarwan and stand-in Captain Walton spoke on behalf of their team.
Sharing his sentiments on Andre Russell’s condition, Sarwan stated that the star all-rounder has been undergoing some concussion tests, but he may be hopeful for this clash. “He has been going through his testing, but we have to wait and see,” Sarwan stated. After gaining their first win, Sarwan disclosed that the team are in a good state of mind.
GAW are equipped with top spinners; Botha stated that the spinners have been very effective, but playing in Jamaica, the team will have to assess if the same combination will be effective at Sabina Park. Captain Malik continued to emphasise consistency as the tournament moves forwards.
With Tallawahs scoring 200-plus totals twice this season, Malik stated that their bowlers will have to take wickets regularly. “We have been playing leg-spinners, because they have been creating wicket-taking opportunities,” Malik disclosed.
Players to watch for
In addition to Hetmyer, some players from the respective teams have had good outings in the season thus far. Chris Gayle, who is among the leading scorers again this 2019 CPL with his 205 runs, will be eyeing a special innings against a quality GAW bowling attack. Walton, who has been in form with 166 runs to his name, will be aiming to prove a point against his former CPL franchise, the GAW.
Kiwi wicket-keeper batsman Glenn Phillips has been playing for his money’s worth; he has 162 runs thus far and has been among the few bright sparks for the Tallawahs. The bowling efforts from these teams have been contrasting, with GAW having all the top guns performing at their optimum.
Romario Shepherd, who is among the leading bowlers in the tournament with seven wickets, will be eyeing a good outing on the bouncy Sabina Park wicket. Spin trio Imran Tahir, Qais Ahmed and Chris Green also pose a threat to the Tallawahs. In the GAW batting department, local boy Brandon King will be aiming to continue from where he left off.
Playing in front of his home crowd in Jamaica, King will want to dominate on home soil when he wears the armoury of the GAW. His opening partner, Chandrapaul Hemraj, who is the GAW leading scorer thus far with 138 runs, will be aiming to continue his fruitful homecoming.
Hetmyer has had some failures after his 70, but it will be the perfect time for him to bounce back against the team he scored his century. Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford will also be aiming to add the fireworks to the Sabina Park night sky.