The Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) party comes to Guyana at the National Stadium located at Providence later tonight and features two of the Caribbean’s most familiar opponents, Guyana’s Amazon Warriors and the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.
Contested on a totally different scale, as opposed to 11 Guyanese versus 11 Trinidadians, this match features a mix of talents from the length and breadth of the world and even offers a bit of “friendly-fire” when the Trinidadians playing for Guyana go up against their countrymen playing for the Red Steel.
Both teams look evenly poised on paper as they head into what will be a pressure game for the Warriors who will be playing their first three games on home soil.
Both teams can boast of the quality of their international talents, the Red Steel skipper Dwayne Bravo is ranked at number nine on the International Cricket Council’s T20 all-rounder list and is the current West Indies One Day International captain.
The lion’s share of international T20 bragging privileges goes to the Amazon Warriors, which team possesses players such as Mohammad Hafeez, Sunil Narine and Martin Guptill, all of whom are listed on the ICC World T20 rankings.
Narine is the current number one rated bowler on the list while his teammate Hafeez is the number-three ranked bowler and number-three ranked all-rounder as well.
Guptill, the New Zealand opening batsman, is also among his teammates sitting at number six on the list
From a batting perspective, the Warriors have on deck a balanced quota of international, regional and local players who are capable of imploding or blasting the local team to the top of the table in a flash.
The international batters such as Guptill, Hafeez, and James Franklin have very good limited over statistics, especially in this format. They will be supported heavily from the other players in the squad such as; West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons, William Perkins and out-of-favour West Indies wicketkeeper, Denesh Ramdin.
The local batting strength features talented and experienced players, such as young opener Trevon Griffith, all-rounder Steven Jacobs and IPL player Christopher Barnwell, who also returned home from his duties this past weekend representing the West Indies in their double T20 loss to the touring Pakistan.
The former West Indies middle-order batsmen, Narsingh Deonarine and team skipper, Ramnaresh Sarwan are the most senior local players in the squad and will need to shepherd the younger players.
The Red Steel will call upon the international talents of dangerous New Zealand batsman, Ross Taylor, Ireland’s belligerent Kevin O’Brien and South Africa’s wicket-keeper batsman; Davy Jacobs. They will find reinforcement in the likes of the skipper Dwayne Bravo and his younger brother Darren, along with openers Justin Guillen and former West Indies opener Adrian Barath.
Both teams feature a few world-class bowlers in their arsenal, the Amazon Warriors as mentioned have the magic of Narine and Hafeez along with left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who is also another ex West Indies player that will definitely make an impact in this format.
Jacobs will also be called upon with the ball as he showed his capabilities recently in various matches locally and regionally, as a potent off-spinner. Jamaican left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie, who averages 11 in this format, will form partnerships with the other seamers in the squad such as Franklin, Barnwell and Keon Joseph, who replaced the injured Ronsford Beaton.
While the Red Steel have a battery of class bowlers in their wings. Fast bowler Fidel Edwards, IPL military-medium seam bowler, Kevon Cooper, young pacer, Miguel Cummins and the skipper Dwayne, make up an imposing seam line up.
Their slow bowling department is no walk over either, the likes of Samuel Badree who plays T20 for the West Indies and former West Indies spinner the lanky left-arm Sulieman Benn.
When Stabroek Sport visited the Stadium yesterday, the players were engaged in final preparations. The Amazon Warriors, who were encamped for a week prior to tonight’s encounter, were wrapping up their training session in the nets.
Earlier in the week, Head Coach Roger Harper said the Amazon boys were in good spirits and he was comfortable with the team’s progress and their cricketing displays. He also mentioned that the players were gelling together nicely as a team.
Stabroek Sport was also fortunate to have a brief word with Franklin who in an invited comment said that the track is “ideal for spin” and “140 is a good score” on the track given the quality of spin bowlers the Amazons posses.
The local team will need to win this encounter tonight which will put them in a positive frame of mind heading into their other matches.
The match begins at 20:00hrs
Amazon Warriors Squad: Sunil Narine, Mohammad Hafeez, Ramnaresh Sarwan ( Captain), Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, James Franklin, Christopher Barnwell, Martin Guptill, Krishmar Santokie, William Perkins, Steven Jacobs, Keon Joseph, Trevon Griffith, Narsingh Deonarine, Veerasammy Permaul.
Red Steel Squad: Dwayne Bravo (Captain), Ross Taylor, Darren Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Davy Jacobs, Samuel Badree, Kevon Cooper, Kevin O’Brien, Sulieman Benn, Adrian Barath, Delorn Johnson, Nicholas Pooran, Yannick Cariah, Miguel Cummins, Justin Guillen.