Tallawahs, Royals vie for CPL glory
While accepting that Barbados Royals are favourites heading into Friday evening’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final, Jamaica Tallawahs Captain Rovman Powell believes his team has the quality to create an upset.
The Twenty20 (T20) cricket final is scheduled to start 6:00 pm (Jamaica time) at Providence Stadium in Guyana.
The Royals have been the outstanding team in the tournament so far, losing only twice in 10 preliminary stage matches. They then advanced to the final after beating Guyana Amazon Warriors in Qualifier 1.
The Tallawahs were inconsistent throughout the preliminaries, losing five times. However, after holding on to the fourth and final play-off spot they defeated both the St Lucia Kings in the Eliminator and Guyana Amazon Warriors in Qualifier 2 to progress to the grand showpiece.
One of the Royals’ defeats came at the hands of the Tallawahs — a six-run loss via the Duckworth & Lewis method after rain intervened in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on September 15.
In the other meeting between the teams, the Royals won by eight wickets in Gros Islet, St Lucia on September 11.
“I think both teams have very good momentum,” Powell said during a press conference on Thursday when asked about the Tallawahs’ form in the play-offs.
“The Royals have been easily the best team in CPL 2022, so for us to be here competing [in the final] against the Royals is definitely an achievement. But hopefully once we get our plans right we can pull through,” the 29-year-old all-rounder added.
Kyle Mayers, the Royals skipper, said his team’s success has been largely due to the understanding within the group, but noted there remains scope for growth.
“The team is grooving really nicely and everybody knows their role and these guys have been awesome,” he told members of the media.
“There is always room for improvement; I think batting-wise we could be much better… I think once we assess the conditions,” Mayers, 30, added.
Both franchises have won two CPL titles. The Royals (then named Barbados Tridents) were champions in 2014 and 2019, while the Tallawahs were winners in the inaugural 2013 season and again in 2016.
Despite the Royals’ dominance this season, in T20 cricket it takes only a moment of brilliance to tip the scales one way or another. And in a one-off final there’s no chance for reprieve if a team has a bad day.
Powell appeared wary to that fact.
“It’s important for our senior players to really come to the party, and the guys have done that over the last few days. The way the guys have stuck together is really commendable,” Powell said.
Mayers noted that his team has shown fighting spirit all season.
“We are very resilient because even if we lose some wickets early or runs scored against us in the Powerplay the guys are always willing to come back,” the all-rounder said.
The Tallawahs opener Brandon King is the tournament’s second highest scorer with 339 runs, just six behind Johnson Charles of St Lucia Kings. Mayers, who has also been terrific with the ball, has 337 runs. Rovman Powell has been consistent while compiling 267 runs.
Pace bowlers Jason Holder and left-armer Obed McCoy have led the Royals with 16 and 15 wickets, respectively.
For the Tallawahs left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, who is an injury doubt, and left-arm finger spinner Imad Wasim have claimed 16 wickets each.
— Sanjay Myers