In-form Jamaica Tallawahs will hunt four wins from as many outings at Sabina Park in this season’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when they line up against former champions Barbados Tridents in tonight’s game.
The encounter is slated to begin at 8pm.
The Tallawahs, who won the inaugural CPL in 2013, lead the points standing with 11 points from seven games. The Tridents, who lifted the crown in 2014, are third with seven points from six games.
When they met earlier this season in Barbados, rain brought proceedings to a premature end with both teams walking away with a point. At the point of the final interruption to the game — which was reduced to 12 overs a side — the Tallawahs were 116-2 off 10 overs.
But last season’s encounter at Sabina Park saw the Tridents quieting fans inside the usually noise-filled and rocking Sabina Park.
Trinidadian Kieron Pollard, who captains the Tridents, said winning at Sabina Park last year is a boost, but he cautioned that each game is different.
“Obviously, we feel confident and it’s good if they can remember what we did and what we can do. But for us, it’s more about playing each game as it comes and we know it’s going be to be a tough game in Jamaica,” he said during yesterday’s press conference.
The Tridents skipper said his team should use the expected hostility from the Tallawahs fans as a motivator.
“We’re up for the challenge and we know what to expect. These sort of games and this sort of hostility sometimes bring out the best in players. They are some of the things you need to make you tick, so it’s extra motivation if the crowd can continue to be like it has over the last three games,” Pollard added.
In Pollard and youngster Nicholas Pooran, the Tridents have two of the biggest hitters in the CPL, while Shoaib Malik has plenty of experience in the shorter format. Pacers Ravi Pampaul and David Wiese are expected to lead the bowling.
Two South Africans who play for the Tridents – batsman AB de Villiers and bowler Wayne Parnell – are expected to miss today’s clash due to obligations with Cricket South Africa. Pacer Dale Steyn, another South African, will leave the Tallawahs after the Tridents’ encounter due to the same commitment.
The Tallawahs all-rounder Andre Russell, who was vital in the home wins over Guyana Amazon Warriors, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders, predicts a fierce battle.
“I think they have a very good team and it will be tough. We have to do what we have to do, we are on home soil and they are not accustomed to this wicket. We have to make sure we are on top all the time,” he told reporters Monday night, shortly after the 19-run defeat of the Knight Riders.
Paul Nixon, the Tallawahs head coach, also noted the importance of home advantage, even while acknowledging the quality of today’s opponents.
“It’s our backyard…we’re going to make sure we execute our plans. They’ve got some x-factor players, but we’ve got people with a lot of confidence. This team is hungry and we want to win this competition, it’s important for us, but we are going one game at a time,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
The Tallawahs’ batting has been boosted this season by contributions from Captain Christopher Gayle, Russell, Kumar Sangakkara, Rovman Powell and Shakib Al Hasan. Spinners Imad Wasim and Garey Mathurin, as well as seamers Russell and Steyn have been the main bowlers. (Jamaica Observer)