By Zaheer Mohamed
For the first time in the history of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20, Providence will be hosting matches in the playoffs and fans can expect more excitement since some of the biggest names in T20 leagues will be on show.
Riding high on confidence, The Guyana Amazon Warriors will once again face leaders Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) tonight in the first playoff. The winner of this encounter will earn a direct berth to the final while the loser will have another chance of making the grand finale when they tackle the winner of the second playoff which will be contested between Jamaica Tallawahs and St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots tomorrow night.
Guyanese will be hoping for a repeat of Sunday night’s clash when Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford launched a brutal assault on TKR attack to guide the Warriors to a six-wicket victory.
While Hetmyer is the youngest centurion in the tournament, Rutherford who scored a century in the Global T20 in Canada earlier this year for the West Indies ‘B’ team, has once again demonstrated his ability in the game’s shortest format.
Whereas the duo gave the sold-out crowd much to cheer about with their fearless batting, the Warriors’ bowlers held their own in limiting TKR much touted batting line up to pave the way for their second place finish.
Densh Ramdin and Darren Bravo have been in fine form while both Ali Khan and Sunil Narine will be back for this encounter, but the Amazon Warriors gave sufficient reasons not to take them lightly on home soil.
Speaking at a press conference held yesterday the Guyana Marriott, Captain of the Amazon Warriors Chris Green said his boys are confident of going into the game and will be looking for another victory.
”The TKR have been the team in form and they have played some really good cricket. We take a lot of confidence after Sunday night, but we know going into tonight’s game they will make some changes and its going to be a really exciting clash again. We obviously have got our home town support here which we thoroughly enjoyed and I know our team is really excited for what is going to be a really good challenge.”
Green indicated that they are hoping that all-rounder Keemo Paul will be fit for the clash. “He is obviously a class player and it’s difficult at this time of the tournament, however our physiotherapists are working really hard to get him fit and ready for the contest.” he added.
TKR Captain Dwayne Bravo congratulated the four teams adding that they deserved to be in the playoffs. “Anyone can take the title, all the teams have match winners and it’s going to be tough. It has been a long tournament and the fans have seen some good cricket throughout the CPL.
We rested two of our keys players, Narine and Ali Khan and like I said it has been a hectic season and it’s good to give them a rest, having said that we have Kevon Cooper who has been around. I would not say it was an experiment, we always want to win games, it was always going to be difficult to defend 150 and we were very disappointed that they got it in 14 overs. That’s all done and dusted now, we still remain at the top of the table despite that and it’s a fresh start, its all about who hold their nerves more in these games,” he posited.
Either the Tallawahs or the Patriots will be going home following tomorrow night’s clash. Tallawahs skipper Russell stated that he is happy to be in the playoffs in his first year as Captain. “That’s an achievement I really appreciate going this far. I am looking forward to an exciting game against St. Kitts, its not going to be easy from now, we have to approach every game like a final,” he pointed out.
St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots skipper Chris Gayle explained that there have been some ups and downs, but they have to be satisfied where the team is at the moment and it’s a fresh start for the four teams.
The DRS will be used for the first time in the tournament which is been welcomed by the Captains. Both games start at 18:00hrs.
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