Tallawahs look to return to winning ways

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Lights are now installed at Sabina Park, but fans will not see cricket under artificial luminance when the reigning champions Jamaica Tallawahs host the struggling Antigua Hawksbills in today's Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) contest.

The game is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm.

The Hawksbills, who have lost all five games so far, including to the Tallawahs in Antigua, are at the base of the points standing.

The Tallawahs, who will be playing their first home game of the season, won three of four on the road. They are third with six points, behind the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel (10) and Guyana Amazon Warriors (eight), but both have played two games more.

While Christopher Gayle is captain of the Jamaica franchise, another Jamaican batting star, Marlon Samuels, is the skipper of Antigua Hawksbills. Both should be eager to impress in front of their respective fans.

After losing to the Red Steel in their last outing, Gayle said his team is keen on bouncing back with a victory. He added the wounded Hawksbills could prove to be fierce opponents.

"We are looking to get back to our winning ways, especially at home.

"It's a tough game for us because most teams when their backs are against the wall, that's when they play their best cricket," Gayle told reporters at yesterday's press conference.

The Tallawahs coach Mickey Arthur said his team is looking to improve after being "slightly off in all three areas" against the Red Steel.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer moments after the Hawksbills arrived in Kingston, the team's mentor Sir Vivian Richards said persistence and commitment in today's clash could see the Antigua franchise earning their first win of the 2014 CPL.

He also urged the Hawksbills players and officials to remain positive.

"We'll get it right, so long as we persist and continue to work as hard as we are. It's going to take that extra effort to succeed. When you have a coach [Tim Nielsen] who is so dedicated, things can turn and we just have to be patient and keep our heads high," Richards said.

In the meantime, Arthur said the bare-looking batting surface suggests "quite a few runs" could be scored, but he cautioned that last year's matches at the venue were generally not high-scoring encounters. In recent years, the Sabina strip has been particularly favourable to slower bowlers, offering grip and sometimes inconsistent bounce.

The Tallawahs will also host the Amazon Warriors on Saturday, before closing out their home tour against Barbados Tridents a day later. Both of those games are set to commence at 11:00 am.




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