Captains, coaches relishing challenge of CPL semis
Basseterre, St Kitts — The Jamaica Tallawahs and the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel will both be looking to recapture their early tournament form as the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) reaches the semi-finals stage.
Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo will go head to head today at 4:00 pm at Warner Park, St Kitts, to decide which team will face the challenge of playing Denesh Ramdin's Guyana Amazon Warriors tomorrow, also at 4:00 pm. The stakes are high, as the prize for the winners will be to battle against the Barbados Tridents in the final on Saturday.
Jamaica Tallawahs captain Gayle feels that the chance to go up against his friend Dwayne Bravo will be all the incentive he needs to play himself back into form and help his team beat the Red Steel.
Gayle said: "I actually blame (Dwayne) Bravo for us being in this position in the first place by losing to the Hawksbills at the weekend, and I always regain my form when I face him, so I am looking forward to the challenge of playing the Red Steel. We have the quality to get the job done and I back my team to get the results and come out on top."
Jamaica Tallawahs coach, Mickey Arthur, said: "In a tournament this long, you are always going to have a couple of hiccups along the way, and we have had ours in the later stages which is not ideal as it can affect confidence levels going forward.
"However, I think the remaining games are going to be very tight. All four teams left in the competition finished on the same points, so every ball will be important in these matches and an event in their own right. The team that comes out on top from the semi-finals will be the one that handles the pressure of the situations better."
Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel coach Simon Helmot said: "We are not going into this game in great form, but we are a good team, well led by Dwayne Bravo, and I am confident we will demonstrate the type of form and attacking cricket we showed earlier in the tournament.
"The CPL has been a great thing for cricket in the Caribbean and stands up against any of the other T20 competitions in the world, and we have two of its most exciting cricketers in Nicholas Pooran and Evin Lewis, so we will be looking to do well and reach the final."
Looking forward to the second semi-final on Thursday, Roger Harper, coach of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, said: "I do not mind which team we play — we are concentrating on playing the best cricket we can each day in our practice sessions and ensuring we are preparing well for the matches. The quality of the cricket this year in the CPL has been very good, and we are seeing real development from young players across the region which bodes well for the future of West Indies cricket."
Denesh Ramdin, captain of the Guyana Amazon Warriors, said: "We have had a good rest day this week and our minds are now turning to Thursday's game. I am determined to win the game, which would take us into the final in good shape."