Aug 05, 2017 Sports
Face-off with SKNP from noon
The Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) arrived here on Wednesday afternoon and while both St Kitts & Nevis Patriots (SKNP) and Jamaica Tallawahs (JT) had practice games against the USA national team, the Warriors had to settle for two practice sessions in scorching heat ahead of their opening game against SKNP today in Fort Lauderdale from 11:00hrs.
Finalist in three of the four years (2013, 2014 & 2016) of CPL cricket, the Warriors will aim to go all the way this year but head coach Roger Harper and his assistant, former Guyana pacer Esaun Crandon, wants their changers to focus on one game at a time to ensure they qualify for the ‘final four’ in Trinidad next month.
In 2015 they lost in the Semi-finals and today they face-off with a new look SKNP led by the indomitable Christopher Gayle who is making his debut after playing for his home team in the past four tournaments.
The Warriors batting, without the injured Chris Lynn, could be their biggest worry and will depend heavily on the New Zealand Skipper Martin Guptill at the top of the order.
Wicket-Keeper Chadwick Walton could be destructive if he gets going, while the elegant Pakistani Babar Azam, Jason Mohamed (who had two fifties in the three practice games at Providence) and American left-hander Steven Taylor will depended on for runs.
Gajanand Singh did not fire during the practice nor did Assad Fudadin and could be hard pressed to play today since all-rounder Sohail Tanveer and 18-year-old Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan could contribute with the bat. The 19-year-old West Indies U-19 Vice-Captain Kemo Paul impressed with the bat in the practice games and could force his way into the starting X1 today.
American pacer Mohammed Ali Khan could sneak his way into the side, while Tanveer, the Warriors leading wicket-taker last year with 20 scalps, should spearhead the pace attack.
Depending on the nature of the track the Warriors could go with the extra pace of Keon Joseph or stick with the three spinners.
Off-spinner Steven Jacobs should open the bowling and spin the ball away from Gayle who had not been in the best of form recently and is vulnerable to off-spin, while Khan could be Guptill’s trump card with his leg-breaks and bamboozling goolies.
Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul could be the third spinner used or they could include Roshon Primus, Rayad Emrit or Joseph and use Mohammed’s off-spin to complement Khan and the usually frugal Jacobs.
Gayle’s presence should lift the entire team and if he gets going today, the mainly West Indian fans could be in for a treat in what should be sweltering heat and on a good track for batting and fast outfield.
Now 37, Gayle is one of only four batsmen with two Test triple centuries and 215 in ODIs, but it is in the game’s shortest format that the left-hander has been most destructive blasting 18 t20 centuries.
He scored the first ever t20 International ton in 2007 against South Africa, a belligerent 57-ball 117 and has the highest score (175), fastest ton and most sixes in t20 cricket.
But it will not only be the pugnacious Gayle that the Warriors bowlers will have to worry about.
Mohammad Hafeez is very experienced and will want to do well against his former team, while Trinidadian Evin Lewis and Bajan Jonathan Carter have both played for the West Indies and are capable of runs in this format.
Afghanistan’s all rounder Mohammed Nabi is good enough to have scored an ODI century, while the big hitting Carlos Brathwaite, who hit four consecutive sixes to win the t20 World Cup for the West Indies, is capable of quick runs, while former West Indies U-19 Captain Shamarh Brooks and 22-year-old Jamaican Fabian Allen can also bat.
The bowling of the SKNP pace attack will be spearheaded by the genuinely quick 20 year-old Alzarri Joseph, left-armer pacer Sheldon Cotterell, Nabi, Braithwaite and Pakistani pacer 23-year-old Hasan Ali made his debut in the ICC Champions Trophy this year.
Canadian 22-year-old leg-spinner Nikhil Dutta, South African left-arm back of the hand spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and leg-spinner Samuel Badree will take care of the spin options with support from Hafeez and Gayle.
GAW: Martin Guptill (capt), Sohail Tanvir, Chadwick Walton, Babar Azam, Rayad Emrit, Rashid Khan, Jason Mohammed, Steven Tailor, Veerasammy Permaul, Roshon Primus, Gajanand Singh, Assad Fudadin, Keon Joseph, Steven Jacobs, Steven Katwaroo, Kemo Paul, Mohammed Ali Khan
SKNP: Chris Gayle (Capt), Fabian Allen, Samuel Badree, Carlos Braithwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cotterell, Nikhil Dutta, Hasan Ali, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Jeremiah Louis, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammed Nabi, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi.
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