Tonight the Guyana Amazon Warriors will kick off their 2018 HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign with the first of three home matches this week at the National Stadium, Providence against St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
The Warriors have a score to settle. Last season, the Patriots had the better of the Warriors, winning both games by four wickets. However, with a revamped Warriors set up and home advantage, Warriors will feel confident in their chances.
Warriors were the beneficiaries of two warm-up matches that showcased to their newly installed head-coach and assistant-coach Johan Botha and Rayon Griffith respectively, the form of some of the players.
According to Botha at the end of their final warm-up match Tuesday night, the team has been settled and there are about 11 or 12 players who have put their hands up and basically picked themselves.
Looking at the overseas players, Shoaib Malik will captain the side making him an automatic pick. He has shown a liking to the Providence surface, scoring considerably well in the two matches while wicketkeeper/batsman, Luke Ronchi, has also adapted to the surface with an unbeaten 48.
Left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir has impressed with the ball and so has leg-break bowler Devindra Bishoo and left-arm orthodox spinner Veersammy Permaul while Imran Tahir, who only had the benefit of one match on the pitch, looked in sync with his tantalizing leg-break bowling.
Newbie and exciting young prospect, Chris Green, has also delivered with the ball and adds to the lengthy list of off spinners in the side while his big hitting ability could add some depth to the batting order.
Also, United States of America’s Saurabh Netravalkar, adds variation with the left-arm seam option to go with Tanvir.
Jason Mohammed has not made that much of an impact lately but his efforts last year showed what he is capable of doing and the Warriors unit will be hoping he does the same this season.
Likewise, Chadwick Walton, who is likely to open the batting with Ronchi will look to kick start the Warriors innings with a bang.
With Shimron Hetmyer scoring over 170 runs in the two One Day Internationals recently at the venue, in addition to a blistering 66 in the warm-up match, he has shown his skill and determination to make an impact in the CPL if given the nod. Gajanand Singh, another top order batsman who has been in the fold before, along with new comer Akshaya Persaud are the other two batting options in the Warriors squad.
Botha compared a 125-130 run score as challenging a few seasons ago but noted this year it seems that has changed to a range of 160-180.
Similarly, West Indies T20 fast bowling all-rounder Keemo Paul is an exceptional talent with the head coach already impressed with him and Sherfane Rutherford who hits the ball a long way and provide the additional seam option.
Romario Shepherd, Roshan Primus, Rayad Emrit are both handy with the ball and bat, making the Warriors squad one of the most rounded in the tournament.
Meanwhile, in the Patriots set up, the openers alone with the likes of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis will be the beginning of discussions for any opposition but with head coach Donovan Miller already noting Gayle isn’t under pressure to score he has exerted confidence in his team with Anton Devcich also in the fray.
The West Indies T20 captain, Carlos Brathwaite has the ability to win games with both bat and ball while Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah has showing his worth on the venue and during the recent T20 series in the Caribbean.
Brandon King and Devon Thomas can both his the ball a far way but it is the bowling unit of Patriots that stand out.
The seam pair of Sheldon Cottrell and Alzarri Joseph will be a lot to deal with while the Nepal spinner, Sandeep Lamichhamie will play a big part.
Jeremiah Louis’ career has been on the rise and had been one of the standouts in the Canada T20 Global for the West Indies B side.
Ben Cutting is an explosive batsman and electrifying blower, who along with Fabian Allen with his ability to score runs and slow left arm orthodox can provide stability to the side and allow the balance.