Sep 21, 2022 Sports
– Gurbaz, Shakib Al Hasan added to lineup
By Rawle Toney
The scenarios for the Amazon Warriors to advance to Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Playoffs are – to simply put – complicated.
Win all four matches and they’re in the playoffs; lose two and that’s the end of their campaign; win three and they will have to wish on a star for the likes of the Jamaica Tallawahs, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and the Trinbago Knight Riders to not have favourable results in their remaining matches.
One might argue on which is simpler to achieve based on the Warriors’ form in this year’s tournament where they’re at the bottom of the six-team table with three points from six matches (one win, four losses, one no-result).
And no, he’s not speaking about Shai (Hope), but rather, the team’s coach is backing his men on playing perfect cricket – something they will certainly need to do given the fact that they also have the lowest Net Run Rate in the tournament (-0.540).
First up, the Jamaica Tallawahs tonight at 7:00pm at the Guyana National Stadium.
The Jamaica Tallawahs, owned by Guyanese businessman Kris Persaud, are known for raining on the Warriors’ parade ever since the inaugural edition.
In 2013, the Tallawahs defeated the Warriors by seven wickets to hoist the trophy for the first time. Fast-forward three years later (2016), the Tallawahs defeated the Warriors by nine wickets to pick-up their second title.
This time around, the Jamaican franchise will be the first of four hurdles the Warriors must climb in their quest for a place in the tournament’s Playoffs stage.
“We’re home. We know how important it is for these last four games, we really need these four games badly because we put ourselves in this position, especially when we lost games three (against Patriots) and game five (against Knight Riders) because those are the two games where we lost some points and should’ve gained some points and we would’ve been in a better position,” Griffith told the local media yesterday.
Griffith has gotten the most from his bowlers in this year’s CPL, but it’s the team’s batting that resulted in their failure, so far.
“I think batting wise, instead of 20’s and 30’s we need to stretch that a bit longer and try to get some 50s and 60s and even 70s. We had one innings from Heinrich Klaasen who got 63 (unbeaten), so we know where we fall short,” Griffith said when asked about what can be done differently.
GURBAZ AND SHAKIB INCLUSION
Afghanistan wicketkeeper/batsman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz will replace Klaasen, while Shakib Al Hasan will take the place of Tabraiz Shamsi, after both South Africans were called for International duties.
Al Hasan, in 2016, helped guide the Tallawahs to CPL glory over the side he’s now suiting up for. In 2019, with the Barbados Tridents (now Royals), the Bangladeshi all-rounder picked up another CPL title, again at the expense of the Warriors.
His 6-for-6 bowling figures in 2013 is still the record in the CPL and with a total of 490 wickets, he’s sitting 5th all-time in T20 cricket.
However, Griffith believes that with the current situation, the Warriors will have to take a collective approach to their remaining matches, telling reporters, “everybody will have to put their hands up. Sometimes you come, you might have a good game or you don’t, but every player is important to perform at his leg.”
NOT WORRIED ABOUT THE PRESSURE
The Amazon Warriors are in an unfamiliar position for the first time in the franchise’s history of the CPL, especially at this stage of the tournament.
There’s a love-hate relationship between the Warriors and their supporters, but after playing in every playoffs and five finals (the most by any franchise), Coach Griffith wouldn’t be fazed by the pressure of their fans’ expectations.
“To be honest, so far, we’re trying to keep them together, they’re in good spirit. The pressure could be on, but at the end of the day, it’s cricket, we all work, we’ve been here before so you have to understand how to handle pressure and you could get the best out of them. So, I’m still having confidence in my side to go the long way,” the usually composed Griffith said.
One thing is for certain, Griffith isn’t naïve when it comes to the tight rope that they will have to walk starting from tonight, adding “we know that if we slip, we will slide…we all know the position the team is in at the moment, we just have to stay focus and try to execute – bat, ball and in the field as well.”
Following tonight’s clash with the Tallawahs, the Warriors will battle St Lucia Kings tomorrow (Thursday), followed by back-to-back matches against the Knight Riders and the Royals and Saturday and Sunday.
One thing is for certain, the National Stadium will see a capacity crowd, with everyone turning up to witness the ‘biggest party in sports’ played loud in Guyana.
It will be either ‘Let’s go Warriors!’ or, ‘oh No Warriors!’
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