Refreshed Guyana Amazon Warriors take on peaking St. Lucia Zouks today

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The Guyana Amazon Warriors will get back in action after a nine-day break when match 23 of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) bowls off today at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Centre in St. Lucia at 17:00 hrs. The Warriors opponents are the St. Lucia Zouks who have been inspired by home advantage to win two out of two so far.

warriors 4When the teams met earlier in the tournament, the Warriors drew first blood with a convincing eight-wicket victory at Providence. On that occasion, the Zouks batted first and were restricted to 138/6 with Mike Hussey playing a lone hand with 64. As the Warriors quicks, Sohail Tanvir and Rayad Emrit shared four wickets. In reply the home team knocked off the runs with just two wickets down. The consistent top order was led by unbeaten knocks from Jason Mohammed with 43 and Chris Lynn 38 while Dwayne Smith made 32 and Captain Martin Guptill got 19.

However, today’s encounter may not be such an easy assignment for the South America based team as they are coming up against the home team that seem to be peaking at the right time as the league stage of the tournament wraps up. With just two points from four matches before their home leg began, the Zouks were facing elimination for the fourth consecutive year but after two convincing victories in their first two matches their fortunes are brighter for a historic maiden play-off spot.

Darren Sammy, captain of the St Lucia Zouiks
Darren Sammy, captain of the St Lucia Zouiks

The Zouks are well led by Captain and home-town boy Darren Sammy who seems a different player since playing at the ground that is named in his honour and his team mates have responded in like manner. They first defeated the Patriots by 35 runs with Sammy hitting 59 then disposed of the Tridents by seven wickets with Sammy claiming three wickets. Their batting is led by Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher who had useful knocks against the Tridents with assistance from Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, David Miller and Sammy while their bowling charges depends on their pace attack led by Jerome Taylor, Morne Morkel, Delorn Johnson, Watson and Sammy.

The Warriors had a nine-day break since their last match which was a defeat to the Jamaica Tallawahs. They have since made one major change to their squad with Captain Martin Guptill leaving to join his native New Zealand in Zimbabwe for a Test series. He is replaced in the squad by Australian Nic Maddison while the leadership responsibilities rest on the shoulders of Trinidadian Rayad Emrit.

Emrit who has captaincy experience has nine wickets so far in this year’s CPL with Tanvir’s 13 having more scalps for the Warriors. The pair have been responsible for the damage in the seam department and lots will be dependent on them once again today. Adam Zampa, Veerasammy Permaul and Stevan Jacobs have been taking care of the spin department but it is unlikely that all three of them will play today in seam-friendly conditions in St. Lucia. Muhammad Ali Khan and Paul Wintz were used earlier as back up seamers and one of them may be called upon as back up to Tanvir and Emrit while Dwayne Smith can also be useful in such conditions.

The opening slot left vacant by Guptill’s absence will be filled immediately by Maddison the hard hitting left handed opening batsman from New South Wales. The rest of the Warriors batting will revolve around Mohammed, Smith, new vice-captain Lynn with useful contributions from the middle and lower orders namely from wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble, Tanvir and Emrit.

The lone casualty may be Christopher Barnwell who is having a forgettable CPL with scores of 5, 0, 0, 10 and 8 so far from seven matches. He may be replaced by either West Indies winning under 19 captain Shimron Hetmyer or Assad Fudadin who can both give the batting some depth.

Guyana Amazon Warriors; Rayad Emrit (Captain), Chris Lynn (Vice-captain), Sohail Tanvir, Dwayne Smith, Adam Zampa, Jason Mohammed, Christopher Barnwell, Veerasammy Permaul, Orlando Peters, Assad Fudadin, Anthony Bramble, Paul Wintz, Steven Jacobs, Stephen Katwaroo, Muhammad Ali Khan and Shimron Hetmyer.

St. Lucia Zouks; David Miller, Shane Watson, Darren Sammy (captain), Michael Hussey, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Morne Morkel, Jerome Taylor, Derone Davis, Grant Elliott, Kristopher Ramsaran, Shane Shillingford, Delorn Johnson, Kyle Mayers, Keddy Lesporis, Nitish Kumar, Gidron Pope.

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