The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has reached the knockout stages and the four teams that have qualified now head to St Kitts & Nevis for the finals. The first match sees top of the league Guyana Amazon Warriors take on second placed Jamaica Tallawahs on Wednesday night (7pm) for a spot in the final on Sunday, 7 August.
While a loss in this game will not be the end of the road for these teams, as the top two they get another shot of qualification for the final against the winner of Playoff 2, both sides are targeting a win here to ensure a final appearance.
Rovman Powell of the Jamaica Tallawahs, a breakout star of this Hero CPL, says they want a win to get themselves one step closer to the franchise’s second title.
“We really want to go to St Kitts and get the final place secured. Fort Lauderdale hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us over the last few days but there are a lot of positives we can take from those games looking forward to the finals,” Powell says.
Back-to-back losses to the St Lucia Zouks in the Florida leg will have dented the Tallawahs’ confidence somewhat and Powell admits they need to find a way to come back strong.
“It is not really a clean slate, Guyana Amazon Warriors are a good team, it is important for us to come back and get our act together. We have got the next few days to get our plans right for the finals.”
Speaking of the opposition Powell says he is aware of the star men in the Amazon Warriors side but that they need to plan for playing the whole squad, not just the big names.
“They have Jason Mohammad who has been batting well and Chris Lynn as an overseas player, but we are not just focusing on two players we are focusing on all 14 or 15 players. It is T20, anyone can turn up and produce a match winning performance. It is just us focusing on our game plan and not thinking about them too much.”
Dwayne Smith of the Amazon Warriors says that his side is brimming with confidence having lost just three matches this season to finish top of the Hero CPL table.
“I think the guys are going to be very upbeat. This is what we wanted to do, to end in the top two, and that is what we just did. It is just to go out there now in St Kitts and perform as best we can. Even when we lost games this season the guys were still upbeat. It is one family here which is good and I hope we can carry on the performances and take it to the knockouts.”
Smith says that moving from playing in Florida to Warner Park in St Kitts will not present a problem for his side and he doesn’t feel the other teams will struggle to make the transition either.
“I don’t think it will be a challenge [to adapt to conditions], everyone knows how the pitch plays in St Kitts already so it is going to be good games, it is going to be tough but I am sure that we can come out on top.”
The Amazon Warriors lost their captain Martin Guptill to New Zealand duty halfway through the season but the absence of their leader and star opening batsman did not unduly affect them. Smith credits the excellent team spirit the Amazon Warriors have created for this.
“From the time that I went to join the team in the camp before the tournament I could see the camaraderie in the team and to see that where you have people coming from all over the Caribbean and all over the world it is good to see that we were together as one so quick. I knew from that time that we were going to be one of the teams contending for the championship. Any T20 game is a competitive game so once we continue to be consistent with our performances we can continue to come out on top.”
It was one win each when these teams met in the group stage so it should be a close fought contest for that final spot.
TICKETS: Tickets for all CPL finals week fixtures at Warner Park, St Kitts are on sale now from www.cplt20.com and from the Stadium Ticket Office. Children (under-16) in St. Kitts & Nevis will be offered free access to the Mound at Warner Park for the three knock out matches on Wednesday 3 August (7pm), Thursday 4 August (7pm) and Friday 5 August (8pm).
Stadium Ticket Office Opening Hours: Monday: 12pm – 4pm. Tuesday: 12pm – 4pm, Wednesday – Sunday: 9am – late.