Warriors, Tallawahs hunt top two spot

(l-r) Guyana Amazon Warriors’ Head Coach Johan Botha, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach and Jamaica Tallawahs’ Head Coach Mark O’Donnell

Both the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the Jamaica Tallawahs cricket teams will be hunting the final top two spot of the Caribbean Premier League whereby they can have two bites at the proverbial cherry.

Ahead of their showdown at the Providence National Stadium, Guyana, tonight, both teams expressed their enthusiasm of winning the match in an effort to secure a top two finish.

At the pre-match conference at the Marriott Hotel yesterday, Jamaica Tallawahs’ head-coach, Mark O’Donnell, stressed the importance of the match from their perspective.

Shimron Hetmyer

O’Donnell indicated that a win was the only way his team would have a chance of finishing in the top two as both teams sit on 10 points while Trinbago Knight Riders are on 12 points and St, Kitts and Nevis Patriots on 11.

“Crucial game tomorrow [tonight] night boys, the top four has been decided, it’s just a question of the order of who finishes where and it is very, very important. We need to beat Guyana to make sure we have a chance of making the top two,” O’Donnell stated.

O’Donnell said that the aim was to contain the Warriors to a reasonable total.

He said that his side has been consistent around the 10-run per over mark but was wary of the threat Warriors pose at home.

“ We are going to try not to chase over 200. We are probably on par with that 10 runs an over mark and lost a couple of wickets straight after that. They [Warriors] are a good side and a good side playing here. We played them here last year and beat them so there are a lot of guys,” the Tallawahs’ coach said.

Tallawahs’ strike bowler, Kemar Roach shared the same sentiments, indicating that the mindset of the team was to march into the finals.

“I think it’s some very crucial games coming from here on out. It’s to the finals and our minds are focused on that. We are going out there to play the best cricket we can,” Roach said.

Warriors’ young gun, Keemo Paul pointed out that the win can secure a place in the top two which would give Warriors two chances of making it to the final or winning the first playoff to go straight into the final.

“Tomorrow [today] is a very important game for us, taking it as a must-win game. We can just go out there and get the win. The team is up for it so it’s going to be a challenge so we are looking forward to winning tomorrow’s game,” Paul added.

Warriors’ Head Coach, Johan Botha said he is happy with his team’s performance so far but acknowledged the importance of the game tonight while relishing in the comfort of having a full squad to pick from.

“We have been happy with our progress so far in the tournament. Obviously happy to have five wins out of eight and nice to consolidate the playoff spot with three games so we happy with that but as everyone knows tomorrow is a big game so we are all looking forward to it… it’s nice to have everyone fit and available to pick from,” Botha said

O’Donnell commented on the support Warriors have, indicating that the home advantage is not something to worry about for them since it was similar in Florida but he opined that “it is a brilliant display for T20 cricket” the way the fans turn out in support of their teams especially in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

The last time these two teams met at Providence, Tallawahs’ shattered the hearts of many, snatching a narrow two-run win from the home team as Warriors’ only managed 126-4 from their 20 overs.

Looking at the teams’ Shimron Hetmyer has been the leading batsman for the Warriors with 279 runs so far in the tournament including a magnificent century against Tallawahs in Florida. However, since then, Hetmyer has not kicked off as expected with scores of 1, 15, 30 and 11 since.  Warriors will need him to come good, especially since the top order batsmen have been struggling for runs.

Alternately, Tallawahs’ have had the services of Glen Phillips who has smashed six scores of over 30 from his nine innings. Should Phillips gets going, it can set the foundation for the explosive batsmen such as Andre Russell and Rovman Powel to capitalize on.

In the bowling department, Oshane Thomas and Russell have been the leading wicket-takers in the tournament with 14 each, bowling with ruthless pace and aggression.

They will be difficult to manoeuvre but on a spin-friendly track like Providence, Warriors will be dependent on Imran Tahir who has 13 wickets in the tournament and an economy rate of just over six. Sohail Tanvir, Keemo Paul and Chris Green have also been among the wickets and with Romario Shepherd having a dream debut with 3-29 he could pose some problems for the Tallawahs’.

The first ball is expected to bowl off from 20:00hrs.

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