THE Jamaica Tallawahs have a chance to cement their place in the semi-finals of the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when they host leaders Barbados Tridents at Sabina Park in Kingston, starting at 2:00 pm today.
St Lucia Zouks and Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel, both fighting to squeeze into the last four, will feature in the 10:00 am opener. The Zouks are led by West Indies Twenty20 (T20) captain Darren Sammy, while recently appointed regional 50-over skipper Dwayne Bravo is in charge of the Red Steel.
In the day/night CPL cricket match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, the Antigua Hawksbills — another team desperately battling for a semi-final spot — will host the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Though the Tallawahs have shown inconsistent form so far and went down to the Amazon Warriors for a second time in the tournament in Thursday's first outing on home soil, a big turnout is expected at Sabina Park to support the Paul Nixon-coached outfit.
The exchanges between the teams — both laced with formidable T20 players — should be intriguing on a batting surface which has been favourable to spinners, in particular, during the regional cricket season.
Captain Christopher Gayle aside, the Tallawahs can call on Danza Hyatt, Chadwick Walton, Andre Russell and wicketkeeper/batsman Carlton Baugh for batting impetus.
The bowling is led by South African pacer Vernon Philander, retired Sri Lankan off-spinning legend Muttiah Muralitharan, part-time off-spinner Gayle, and left-arm finger spinner Nikita Miller.
The Tridents, who won the opening four matches before losing the next two, are led by skipper and hard-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard.
The team can also rely on the aggressive batsman Dwayne Smith, middle-order player Umar Akmal, seamers Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite and Rayad Emrit, as well as spinner Ashley Nurse.
The Tridents head the standings with eight points from six matches, ahead of the Amazon Warriors, who also have eight, but with an inferior run rate.
The Tallawahs, after losing narrowly to the Warriors at Sabina Park, have six points from five games, followed by the Hawksbills, the Red Steel and the Zouks — all on four.
Each team is scheduled to play seven preliminary matches, with the top four progressing to the semi-finals.
The Tallawahs will close out the preliminary stage with a match against the Red Steel at Sabina, commencing at 2:00 pm tomorrow.