Following their 49-run loss in the first match against host and defending champions Barbados Tridents, the Guyana Amazon Warriors will now look to rebound against a dangerous-looking St Lucia Zouks today in match six of the 2015 Hero CPL T20 tournament.
In the opening match, the Warriors played inconsistent cricket in all departments, especially in the field. After allowing the Tridents to post a score of 158, the Warriors who were unable to gain sufficient training and practice in Guyana due to the inclement weather were exposed as a result. The Zouks on the other hand, have been up and down over the past two seasons despite their wealth of talent and ‘overseas muscle.’ However, in the match against the Trinidad Red Steel which was rained out after the Zouks batted first, the Darren Sammy-led side looked a composed and highly dangerous batting clique.
The Zouks on Wednesday crushed the hapless St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by seven wickets.
Playing at home, the Zouks will bask in the familiar conditions as well as the crowd support which usually lifts the home team. The touring Warriors will be under pressure to rebound from their loss against the champs and prove to the world that they were two-time finalist.
Amazon Warriors Batting
After a dismal chase of a ‘gettable’ 150-odd score, the international players Brad Hodge and Tillakaratne Dilshan were the two standouts with scores of 24 and 26 respectively. Lendl Simmons, the team’s leading run-scorer, Shiv Chanderpaul, skipper Denesh Ramdin, Chris Barnwell and Assad Fudadin made up the nucleus of the Warriors but they all failed during the chase.
Apart from the two elder statesmen, none of the Guyana batters looked ready for the chase but a few days of regrouping as a full unit and a few more needed practice sessions might prove to be exactly what the doctor ordered for the two-time finalist.
Coming up against a battery of St Lucia quicks, the likes of: Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and the cunning of Sammy, the Warriors will need to step up and ‘flex their muscles’ against the bowling quality of the Zouks.
Although being led by their two off-spinners Sunil Narine and Veerasammy Permaul both of whom were miserly and successful, the Warriors still lacked the skill of their trump card for season’s one and two, Krishmar Santokie, who has proven to be the team’s chief tormentor with the new ball.
South African Marchant de Lange and Guyanese Ronsford Beaton were lively but wicket-less and conceded nearly 30 runs off their respective four overs. The quandary for the Warriors will
certainly be: who should bowl the middle and death overs and who will make up a few overs if needed?
Dilshan, Simmons and Chris Barnwell all leaked more than 10 runs per over in the last match and will need to improve in their length against a top heavy St Lucia team.
St Lucia Zouks Batting
Heading into the match with the Warriors, Sammy will definitely feel confident especially after his team’s performance against the Red Steel. Bolstered by the full commitment of Englishman Kevin Pietersen, whose batting form has been good over the past few months, the Zouks ‘flexed their guns’ as all of their top six batters ended their first match with a strike rate of over 130 run per ball. The batting again will revolve around openers Johnson Charles and half-centurion Andre Fletcher, both of whom looked aggressive from the get-go. The middle-order’s responsibility will be left to Pietersen who scored a brisk 26-ball 42 with three fours and as many sixes as well as Henry Davids, Sammy and Kyle Mayers all three of whom finished off the innings in a flurry.
After rain stopped play, the Zouks bowling could not be properly assessed but on paper the St Lucia side will fancy their chances against any team in this year’s competition due to their three frontline bowlers in Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards and Shannon Gabriel all of whom have ODI/Test/T20 caps for the West Indies.
Sammy will also be called upon to provide a possible four overs of his military-medium paces while Mayers could also fill in as a possible part time bowler. The Beausejour Stadium wicket is usually hospitable to most departments of bowling and while both teams have quality performers in their side, it’s expected to be a high-scoring affair.