Cricket

Tallawahs take aim at Knight Riders today

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, August 26, 2017

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Defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs will be hoping for another top performance against Trinbago Knight Riders when the two renew their rivalry in the 24th match of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 Tournament today.

The contest, scheduled to bowl off at 8:00 pm, will be the second of four home games for the two-time champions at Sabina Park, following last night's opener against St Lucia Stars.

The other games will be next Wednesday against the Chris Gayle-captained St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, and against Guyana Amazon Warriors next Friday.

In their previous meeting at Queen's Park Oval, the Tallawahs completed a four-wicket win — which condemned the Knight Riders to their only defeat of the campaign thus far — and will be looking to inflict further damage to the opponents' record.

The Tallawahs, led by stellar bowling performances by Kesrick Williams (3-26) and young Odean Smith (3-20) in that contest, restricted the Knight Riders to 147 before Captain Kumar Sangakkara stroked 47 off 41 balls to lead the Jamaican franchise to 148-6 with four balls to spare.

Sangakkara lauded his bowling unit for that performance, pointing out that it was “outstanding”.

“Kesrick (Williams) has improved a lot over the period of time; he had a mixed bag in the first six overs but came back well with his variations. The Knight Riders are an outstanding side [and] we are a complete team unit — one or two big stars, but the rest of them always chip in,” the former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper/batsman said.

Now at home, another victory will be on the cards for the Tallawahs. However, the Dwayne Bravo-captained Knight Riders are not about to roll over and play dead, and will be gunning for revenge when they take to the field.

The Tallawahs were in third place on eight points and one win away from the play-offs prior to last night's contest, while the Knight Riders, who have won seven of eight outings thus far, will look to consolidate their position at the top of the six-team standing.

They are on 14 points and have already secured a spot in the play-offs, along with the Patriots, in second on 11 points.

“I thought we started well, but then we lost wickets at crucial times and those of well-set batsmen. Credit to their bowlers — I thought my bowlers did well, but we didn't have enough runs.

“But I am happy with the way we kept fighting till the end. I am not a big supporter of constantly changing teams, but we will look at the conditions and decide on our playing eleven,” said Bravo.

Jamaica Tallawahs are expected to once again be led by the ever-consistent and reliable Sangakkara, along with young New Zealander Glenn Phillips, who is another brilliant addition to the team at the top of the order.

Lendl Simmons, Andre McCarthy and Rovman Powell can and are also expected to take the attack into the opposition's camp.

Meanwhile, Brendon McCullum is back in form after a lull period, and this augurs well for the Knight Riders, who will be relying on the New Zealander and fellow opener Sunil Narine for a positive start.

The ever-attacking Colin Munro, who has given the team solidity at number three, can also take the game away from the Tallawahs if allowed to free his hand, as evidenced by some of his scores so far.

However, the Knight Riders have shown a preference to chasing rather than defending, which will make the toss an even more crucial part of this contest, as the Tallawahs seek to exploit that weakness.

Teams: Jamaica Tallawahs — Lendl Simmons, Kumar Sangakkara (Capt), Riyad Mahmudullah, Glenn Philips, Mohammad Sami, Rovman Powell, Kesrick Williams, Garey Mathurin, Jon-Russ Jaggesar, Krishmar Santokie, Jonathon Foo, Kennar Lewis, Andre McCarthy, Odean Smith, Trevon Griffiths, Oshane Smith.

Trinbago Knight Riders – Dwayne Bravo (Capt), Kevon Cooper, Brad Hogg, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Anderson Phillip, Denesh Ramdin, Shadab Khan, Ronsford Beaton, Darren Bravo, Hamza Tariq, Brendon McCullum, Colin Munro, William Perkins, Khary Pierre, Javon Searles, Mehedi Hasan, Hashim Amla.

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