Tallawahs put unbeaten streak on line against Red Steel
REIGNING champions Jamaica Tallawahs, the only remaining unbeaten team this season, hunt win number four today when they face Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in the 2014 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) showpiece.
The game is scheduled to commence at 11:00 am (Jamaica time) at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.
The encounter pits some of regional cricket's finest players against each other. The Tallawahs will depend on skipper Christopher Gayle, Chadwick Walton, Andre Russell, Nikita Miller and company.
The Red Steel, who have won three of their four games, possess the quality of Dwayne Bravo, his younger brother Darren, Samuel Badree and Sulieman Benn.
While batsmen Gayle and Walton have been standout performers for the Tallawahs at the top of the innings, the all-rounder Russell has bowled some important spells for his team -- integral in helping them to their perfect start.
Russell is a hard-hitting stroke player, usually very effective in providing run-scoring impetus late in the batting innings, but some have criticised him for inaccurate pace bowling and overuse of the short ball, particularly in the T20 format.
This CPL campaign, however, has seen the 26-year-old unleashing a number of excellent yorkers at the toes of batsmen at high pace, making him a valid option when the Jamaica Tallawahs are bowling towards the end of an innings.
"I will always come into the attack and bowl my yorkers and get some variation," he told the Jamaica Observer.
The Jamaican gave some insight into how his game has developed. He revealed that simulating situations where he is bowling to some of the game's most destructive hitters such as West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy is an important element in his evolution.
"When I'm practising I bowl first up with the new ball to get my areas right. And then I create a situation of bowling at the death [late in the innings] with an older ball and practise my yorkers and pretend I'm bowling to someone like a Darren Sammy, or someone like him."
Russell and overseas import, left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori are the joint leading wicket-takers for the Jamaica franchise with four a-piece.
The pacer was pivotal in the Tallawahs narrow four-run win over Guyana Amazon Warriors in Providence almost a week ago, varying his deliveries well and conceding just six runs in the final over when 11 were needed for a home team victory.
Supporters of the Jamaica Tallawahs will hope that Russell's form remains intact in today's expected humdinger against the talented T&T Red Steel.