CPL 2020: Batting could be decisive factor in semi-final- Green
Five-time losing finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors are looking to book another spot in the championship game of Hero CPL, while St. Lucia Zouks are aiming for a maiden trip to the grand finale. The two sides clash in semi-final number two on Tuesday afternoon from 17:30h.
Generally, batting has underperformed as compared to previous editions of the CPL. This season, just one batsman, Glenn Phillips, has surpassed 300 runs after the 10 preliminary matches.
Though both Warriors and Zouks have quality and matching-winning spinners in their arsenal, Warriors’ captain Chris Green said on Monday, the decisive factor in the match will be who bats best.
Only two batsmen from both sides have accumulated 200 runs or more this season. Shimron Hetmyer (267 runs) and Nicholas Pooran (234 runs) are leading batmen for Warriors, while Roston Chase (203 runs) and Najibullah Zadran (200 runs) lead for the Zouks.
“Spin for all teams has been playing a key part in keeping the runs down and taking the wickets. Imran Tahir has been key to our success and similarly, St. Lucia playing a number of off-spinners, it will be spin versus spin but I think it will come down to the batting,” the Warriors skipper stated.
He added, “The guys who can get in there put a partnership, put their hands up and deliver a big score to help the team get a big score or help us chase down whatever is set for us (will be key).”
Green further indicated the team is focused on the task at hand, and are conscious of their previous shortcomings in the knockout stages. He said they are confident since he felt they are peaking at the right time and they are taking it one step at a time.
Warriors have won their last four matches quite convincingly after an inconsistent start to the season. Barbados Tridents had a similar season in 2019, where they too finished second after the preliminary rounds and went on to title success.
“A lot of teams have done it from this situation, but knowing at the same time the other three teams left in the competition are not just going to roll over. We spoke about learning along the way, we spoke about peaking at the right time and sticking together and showing good character.”
This is only the second time in eight seasons the Zouks have reached the knockout stage, the first being in 2016, and according to skipper Daren Sammy, they are under no added pressure to perform.
“Our first objective was getting into the playoffs and now we are here our focus is on the Amazon Warriors and we are planning how to come up with ways in which we can defeat them. We have done that once before in this competition and we believe we can do it again,” Sammy expressed.
Warriors have won 10 of the 15 encounters with the Zouks.
With both sides banking on their spinners, the preferred option might be to bowl first given the dew factor at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
Guyana Amazon Warriors Squad: Chris Green (captain), Imran Tahir, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Ross Taylor, Shimron Hetmyer, Kissoondath Magram, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Naveen-ul-Haq, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kevin Sinclair, Ashmead Nedd, Odean Smith, Anthony Bramble, Jasdeep Singh.
St. Lucia Zouks Squad: Daren Sammy (cpt) Roston Chase, Mohammad Nabi, Andre Fletcher, Najibullah Zadran, Kesrick Williams, Scott Kuggeleijn, Chemar Holder, Obed McCoy, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Zahir Khan, Kimani Melius, Leniko Boucher, Kavem Hodge, Javelle Glen, Saad Bin Zafar.