By Ravendra Madholall
Guyana Amazon Warriors will clash with rivals Jamaica Tallawahs on Saturday in the continuation of the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 eight-team tournament.
Like the previous six rounds that concluded Thursday evening, the actions once again are set for the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, South Trinidad.
The players are off Friday, but both Saturday and Sunday will have double-header schedules.
Warriors have mixed fortunes so far having featured in two matches. They were humbled by nemesis Trinbago Knight Riders in the opening contest by four wickets but bounced back quite emphatically defeating St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots by three wickets.
Their assignment to face the Tallawahs is slated to get cracking from 02:25 pm, the second encounter of the day, preceding the Patriots’ and St. Lucia Zouk’ engagement.
Reflecting on what would have transpired in the pair of matches behind closed doors owing to the Global Pandemic caused by the COVID-19, Trinibago, with multiple CPL titles, and five-time finalist Warriors, displayed traditional rivalry.
Warriors rattled up a competitive 144-5 from the reduced 17-overs but fought feverishly until the hosts reached the total with only balls remaining and in the process during they lost six wickets.
The reduction of the overs was due to rain which delayed the commencement of this year’s edition, the eighth in succession.
They were asked to take first strike in hazy conditions and didn’t get the solid start they normally got off to in past years. But in anticipation of an impressive innings from Shimron Hetmyer unfolded as the left-hander unleashed a series of boundaries in his 44-ball, unbeaten 63.
Regardless of wickets falling regularly at the other end, Hetmyer, who has international experience in every format, batted intelligently mixed tidy defense with occasional aggression against the high-profile Riders’ bowling attack, led by the world-renowned mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine.
Ross Taylor, a vastly New Zealand batsman, showed his maturity by contributing a watchful 33 and shared a steady 59-run third-wicket partnership with the fluent Hetmyer.
To some, the batting at times was very susceptible as a few senior guys fell cheaply and it continued in their game against the Patriots as they struggled intermittently. They lost seven wickets against Patriots, another firm indication of their out-of-form specialist batsmen but number 3 batsman Hetmyer once again came to the fore. He batted with supreme confidence wheeling his blade with consummate ease as he cracked another beautiful half-century (71).
Tallawahs have also beaten once and come out victorious on the other outing. They started off auspiciously whipping Zouks by five wickets but crashed to a resounding seven-wicket margin against one of the tournament favorites, Trinbago Knight Riders.
Guyana Amazon Warriors will be hoping that their main batsmen apart from Hetmyer and to a large extent Taylor, find the much-needed form as the competition progresses in Trinidad and Tobago.
Their openers Brandon King, a stylist pugnacious opener has not fired as yet and Chanderpaul Hemraj can convert his good starts to more substantial contributions.
Sherfane Rutherford, Nicolas Pooran and versatile all-rounder Keemo Paul certainly are asked to make a bigger impact with the bat especially in this fixture against Tallawahs, who were crowned champions two times already.
Their bowling will center around the spinners Chris Green, the first-time skipper, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and two youths: Kevin St. Clair and Ashmead Nedd, if selected. Pacers Romario Shepherd, Paul and Naveen-Ul-Haq along with Odean Smith and Jasdeep Singh could be consistent as well.
On Sunday at the same time, Guyana Amazon Warriors will meet St. Lucia Zouks. This year’s final is slated for September 10 also at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
Barbados Tridents, with a win and loss too, are the defending champions.