Guyana Amazon Warriors have been one of the unluckier sides in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The team has finished thrice as the runners-up and every other time has qualified for the playoffs. Last season, they were led by Shoaib Malik for the first few games following which Chris Green took over. Green is likely to be retained as the skipper after taking the Warriors to the final.
Their first match is against Darren Sammy’s St Lucia Zouks at the Providence Stadium in Guyana. The teams have locked horns six times at the venue out of which the hosts came out trumps in five instances. In fact, the St Lucia-franchise last won in Guyana way back in 2013. As far the Zouks are concerned, they have Sammy back as the captain after Kieron Pollard moved to the Knight Riders.
Pitch and Conditions
The track hasn’t been an absolute belter over the time period. It has helped the spinners and batting second could be a tad difficult. The batters need to be wary while playing shots on the up. There are chances of rain in the morning, but during match time, the heavens aren’t expected to open up. The temperature will be around the 27 and 31 degrees Celsius.
Guyana Amazon Warriors
In the batting department, the Warriors will depend heavily on the likes of Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran. The former was their leading run-scorer last season with 440 runs. Pooran, on the other hand, has grown leaps and bounds in the last year or so after playing for the West Indies. Sherfane Rutherford also promised a lot and he can churn out some lusty blow in the death overs.
Last but not the least, Shoaib Malik’s calmness in the middle will also be a crucial factor. In the bowling area, Imran Tahir, their leading wicket-taker last season, should make the eleven. Shadab Khan may have to warm the bench since Guyana already has two specialist spinners and the part-timers of Malik. Ben Laughlin is outstanding at the death and it will be hard to keep him out.
Chandrapaul Hemraj, Brandon King Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shoaib Malik, Sherfane Rutherford, Chris Green (C), Keemo Paul, Shadab Khan/Ben Laughlin, Imran Tahir, Romario Shepherd
St Lucia Zouks
The Zouks will mostly depend on their bowling to deliver. Fawad Ahmed was one of TKR’s standout bowler last season and he’ll now be looking to replicate the same for the Warriors. Hardus Viljoen has also made a name for himself in T20 cricket and he won’t be an easy prospect. Obed McCoy and Kesrick Williams have variations up their sleeves that can disturb the batsman’s momentum.
Andre Fletcher did well last season and a lot will depend on him at the top. He will most probably be partnered by the left-handed John Campbell. Najibullah Zadran and Thisara Perera can find the boundary with ease and they will need to step up. Not to undermine Rakheem Cornwall, who played with a strike-rate of 156.94 last season. On his day, even Viljoen can turn up with some big shots.
Andre Fletcher (wk), John Campbell, Rakheem Cornwall, Andre McCarthy, Najibullah Zadran, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy (C), Hardus Viljoen, Kesrick Williams, Fawad Ahmed, Obed McCoy
Probable Top Performers
Shimron Hetmyer – Guyana Amazon Warriors | Fawad Ahmed – St Lucia Zouks
TV – Star Sports
Match Timings – 03:30 IST (September 6) and 18:00 local (September 5).
The prediction is for Guyana Amazon Warriors to make a winning start.
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