Aug 11, 2017 Sports
By Sean Devers in Trinidad in association with Carib Beer, Ming’s Services & Products, Vnet Communications and Rose Hall Youth & Sports Club
After a horror start to their 2017 Hero CPL campaign in Florida where they lost both matches to the Patriots, three-time finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors will hope to rebound by beating Trinbago Knight Riders in their backyard tonight from 21:00hrs at the Queens Park Oval.
These two teams have meet nine times in CPL action with Trinidad winning five and the Warriors winning on four occasions since this tournament was inaugurated in 2013. The only time the Warriors did not reach the finals was in 2015 when Trinidad defeated them in the semi-finals and their battles have always been epic and attracted sold out crowds whether at Providence or the ‘Oval’ and despite the threat of rain, tonight promises to be no different.
In 2014 the two sides played to a trilling tie when both team made 118 before Guyana won in the super over. In the 2015 semi-final Sunil Narine took 1-23 bowling for the Warriors before Jason Mohammed’s unbeaten 18 pushed the Trinidad Franchise to 109-4 for a last over win.
This time, Narine has returned home while Mohammed is now playing for the Warriors and tonight both are expected to play key roles before what is expected to be the first capacity crowd of this year’s tournament.
While the Warriors are yet to come off the mark from two matches, the Knight Riders sit on four points from two wins over St Lucia Stars and a loss against Jamaica Tallawahs. The Warriors, who oppose St. Lucia Stars on Sunday before returning home for four games at Providence from August 17-22, will need to win at least five of their 10 matches to qualify for next month’s final four’ at the Brian Lara Stadium here in Trinidad.
On the slow tracks in Florida, the thin Warriors batting produced scores of 123-7 and 128-8 but despite the low scores they threw away both games with carless cricket with victory there for the taking.
In the first game Chadwick Walton made 60 but no one else reached 25 while Steven Jacobs (2-23) and Rayed Emrit (2-24) shackled the top order before an unfinished 49-run sixth wicket stand saw SKNP to 124-6 in 19 overs.
The next day was even worse as Guyana, chasing 132, were 126-5 going into the last over. But after debutant Gajanand Singh who was well set on 28, played an irresponsible shot, the Warriors panicked and lost three wickets for two runs to lose by four runs.
Brendon McCallum (58) and Colin Munro (66) powered T&T to 137-1 in just 10.4 overs chasing St Lucia’s small total after Dwayne Bravo and 18-year-old Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab Khan had two cheap wickets for the winners.
In the next game Kevin Cooper (3-21) and Bravo (2-33) limited St Lucia to 118-9 before Khan (30*) and Jason Searles (27*) saw TKR to 120-6 from 76-6. In Wednesday night’s game against Jamaica, Kumar Sangakkara (47) and Lendl Simmons (38) saw TKR to 61-1 in 5.3 overs before they were bowled out for 147 with Munro (41), Darren Bravo (33) and Narine, in the new role as opener, hitting a quick fire 23.
Jamaica reached 148-6 for a last over win although Narine, Cooper, Khan and Skipper Bravo all bowling tight spells. The Warriors were forced to practice indoors due to the adverse weather and tonight they could be again without their Captain and most experienced batsman Martin Guptill who missed the last game due to hamstring injury and will know his faith today.
Walton is the only Warriors’ player with a fifty but he is a ‘hit or miss’ batsman and will hope to fire at the top of the order with Guptill, if he plays. Pakistani Babar Azad scored three consecutive ODI tons against West Indies last year and along with American Steven Taylor, Mohammed, Singh and the all-rounders will need to play smart cricket with the bat.
Left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir, Emrit and Kemo Paul, who conceded just 18 from his four overs in the last game when Gayle made 66 not out, should take care of the pace attack.
Off-spinner Jacobs will open bowling and is Guyana’s most economical bowler in this tournament while Afghanistan 18-year-old leg spinner Rashid Khan looked ordinary in Florida and in the practice games in Guyana and will hope to up his game tonight against arguable the best team in this tournament.
Left-arm spinner Veerasammy could lose his place if Guptill returns with Mohammed playing the role of third spinner. TKS’s batting is solid on paper since McCullum, Narine, who could again open, Munro, the Bravo siblings, Denesh Ramdin, Khan, 32-year-old South African all-rounder Robbie Frylinck, Searles and Cooper are all capable of run in this format.
Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre could open the bowling with Searles while Cooper and slower ball specialist Bravo offer medium pace support. But the Warriors biggest threat will be the eight overs of spin from Narine and Shadab Khan on a good track and a sluggish outfield from the heavyrain here in Port-of-Spain.
Teams: GAW: Sohail Tanvir, Martin Guptill, Chadwick Walton, Babar Azam, Rayad Emrit, Rashid Khan, Jason Mohammed, Steven Taylor, Veerasammy Permaul, Roshon Primus, Gajanand Singh, Assad Fudadin, Keon Joseph, Steven Jacobs, S Katwaroo, Ali Khan, Kemo Paul.
TKR: Hashim Amla, Dwayne Bravo, Kevon Cooper, 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.
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