WHILE welcoming their making the final four as a step in the right direction, Jamaica Tallawahs Captain Rovman Powell is expecting more from players if the franchise is to cash in at the business end of this Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament.
Powell, reflecting on last season's failure when the Jamaican franchise placed fifth in the six-team tournament, is optimistic that his squad can capitalise on the turaround in fortune, starting with today's play-off contest against St Lucia Kings at Providence in Guyana.
This encounter between the third- and fourth-placed teams is scheduled for 6:00 pm Jamaica time, after top two finishers Barbados Royals and Guyana Amazon Warriors do battle at 9:00 am.
The winner of the Royals versus Warriors contest will go straight to the final, while the loser will face the winner of the Tallawahs/Kings encounter.
Having won only four of their 10 games in the preliminary stages, which saw them placing fourth on nine points, Powell admitted that his team have at times been found wanting in their performances. However, he is now backing their experience and potential as a collective unit to come to the fore.
Their last game against the Kings ended in a no-result on Sunday due to inclement weather.
"It's been a up and down season for us as a franchise but, having said that, I think the guys have played some good cricket in patches.
"They are up for the challenge and are looking forward to what is to come. I think they are ready. It's basically the business end of the season and it's time for us to bring our 'A' game, and I think the guys are chomping at the bit for that," Powell said during a pre-game conference on Monday.
"I think it's a step in the right direction, not being in the play-offs last season to being in the play-offs now, but it's just for the guys to continue putting up their hand. And those who are yet to do so, now is the time to come to the party," he added.
Despite one of the Tallwahs' five losses coming at the hands of the Kings earlier in the season, Powell said it hasn't caused added pressure but has instead added impetus to their desire to win.
Since winning the 2013 and 2016 tournaments, the Tallawahs have struggled to make it back to a final.
"The preparation has been good. We had two very good sessions leading up to the game yesterday [Sunday]; it was just unfortunate that we didn't get to play, but such is the nature of the sport. The guys are rested and ready to go for the big weekend that is coming up," Powell informed.
Meanwhile, the Kings ended the preliminary stage with a similar record to the Tallwahs, and much like Powell, South African Faf Du Plessis is backing his team to make amends.
"Batting form plays a big role as a team. I feel like myself and John [Johnson Charles] up front has some good form and some of the other guys are looking like they are hitting the ball better — and that's always good to get into that purple patch of form and cash in on that," du Plessis said.
"Obviously our starts have been like a weapon for us so hopefully we can go for a good start again. But I am happy that some of the guys who were low on runs at the beginning of the competition are looking like they are ready to hit the board, so that's really pleasing from a batting unit perspective," he added.