St. Lucia Stars will have their hands full when they come up against a Guyana Amazon Warriors on their home turf, the Providence National Stadium this afternoon in the fourth match of the 2018 HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Both teams had contrasting opening matches with the Stars imploding to a 100-run defeat at the hands of 2015 champions, Trinbago Knight Riders while Guyana defeated Chris-Gayle’s St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots by six wickets with 21 balls to spare in their chase of 145.
Skipper of the Warriors, Shoaib Malik had declared his high expectations of home boys, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford prior to the start of the competition. All three stepped up to the plate in familiar conditions in the opening match.
Hetmyer battered a match winning 79 not out from 45 balls while Paul bowled with control and precision, claiming 2-16 in his four overs.
But, with the likes of David Warner, Andre Fletcher and former Amazon Warriors, Lendl Simmons along with homeboy Chandrapaul Hemraj, the top heavy Stars will be a handful to deal with.
With the top solid, the skipper, Kieron Pollard, has always been an outside the box thinker and can pull a rabbit out of the hat at any given time. With the assistance from former Stars captain and two-time World T20 captain, Darren Sammy, providing valuable experience, the Stars are not to be underestimated and can hurt teams if their plans come off.
Warriors’ batting line up is an imposing one with Luke Ronchi and Chadwick Walton at the top off the order. Stars will be tempted to shelter Kesrick Williams from Walton after the Warriors opener unleashed a battering on the medium pacer in what was dubbed the revenge of the season since Williams had gotten Walton in their first confrontation.
Hetmyer has hit a rich vein of form and has shown Providence is his hunting ground. He will want to replicate that good form and hopefully secure his maiden T20 century.
Malik has also found a liking to the pitch with the ball and will also provide stability in the middle period, usually anchoring his side to the back end of the match. Pollard, despite his recent slump in form, has single handedly taken matches away from teams with both bat and ball. Similarly, Sammy has had a few good knocks and has proven to be economical with the ball.
Meanwhile, the bowling department of the Stars is star-studded with charismatic Williams along with overseas players, left arm seamer Mitchell McClenaghan, leg break bowler Qais Ahmad and Mohammed Sami can be a lot to deal with.
But the pitch at Providence has historically been favourable to the spinners, Warriors have stocked heavily in that department with the likes of Malik, Jason Mohammed and Chris Green with their off spin and Imran Tahir with his leg break.
The bench strength of their team also is jam-packed with variations in the bowling department with left arm orthodox Veerasammy Permaul and leg break bowler Devindra Bishoo missing the first match.
The first ball will bowl off from 16:00hrs.
GUYANA AMAZON WARRIORS: Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Malik, Chadwick Walton, Chris Green, Rayad Emrit, Imran Tahir, Jason Mohammed, Luke Ronchi, Veerasammy Permaul, Roshon Primus, Shimron Hetmyer, Devendra Bishoo, Gajanand Singh, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Keemo Paul, Saurabh Netravalkar and Akshaya Persaud.
ST. LUCIA STARS: Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, David Warner, Darren Sammy, Andre Fletcher, Mitch McCleneghan, Kesrick Williams, Niroshan Dickwella, Rakheem Cornwall, Qias Ahmad, Kaveem Hodge, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Dasun Shanaka, Christopher Lamont, Obed McCoy, Jaskaran Malholtra and Odean Smith.