Tallawahs target full points against St Lucia Zouks as CPL bowls off at Sabina Park today

Reigning champions Barbados Tridents lead the six-team standings with eight points, while St Lucia Zouks have seven and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots hold down third sport with six points. It makes today’s 6:00 pm clash with St Lucia Zouks at Sabina Park all the more important.

Three additional home games follow with clashes against fifth-placed Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel on Thursday; Barbados Tridents on Saturday; and sixth-placed Guyana Amazon Warriors on Sunday.

“It’s good to get a start here, and if we get that winning start then we can try to maximise on that as much as possible. I’m sure the guys are looking forward to it and the fans as well,” Gayle told reporters at Sunday’s team welcoming reception hosted by sponsors Appleton and Digicel at Norman Manley International Airport.

“The teams above, you want to keep in reach of them. Those are things to look at, and the Zouks are up there in second, so it’s the perfect thing to get that win under our belt,” the big left-handed batsman added. But defeating the Zouks is not expected to be an easy task. The Darren Sammycaptained franchise has plenty of firepower in the batting department.

Openers Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles have been good, while Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor, and Sammy have the potential to tear apart any bowling attack. The Zouks’ bowling unit features pacers Shannon Gabriel, Fidel Edwards, Sammy and the off-spinner Shane Shillingford. The Tallawahs have a starstudded line-up of their own — a fact that makes for an expected explosive contest under the relatively newly installed lights at Sabina.

In Gayle, his opener partner Chadwick Walton, and Andre Russell, the Tallawahs have some of the most attacking players in regional cricket. Add the swashbuckling Chris Lynn and the legendary Mahela Jayawardene and the batting, on paper, looks like a dream. The bowling set-up, which includes pacers Jerome Taylor, Krishmar Santokie, Russell and left-arm spinners Daniel Vettori and Nikita Miller, is also quite formidable.

But so far this season, all components have hardly fired at the same time. Saturday’s embarrassing 119-run meltdown against the Patriots at Warner Park in St Kitts was an example of the team falling short in all facets. In hindsight, the Tallawahs captain said he could have gone about things differently after winning the toss in the early afternoon clash.

“We thought the best thing was to bowl first, but the wicket was actually perfect to bat first. Maybe it was an error in judgement. But we won two games chasing and we wanted to continue.

They [the Patriots’ batsmen] jumped us early and went off to a flyer. We had to chase 200 runs, and in T20 cricket it’s not easy, and once you lose early wickets things can crumble around us.” However, Gayle is hoping that the comfort of home brings positive results. “I thought we played good cricket in the first three games, but the Patriots outplayed us in all departments [on Saturday].

Our bowling wasn’t up to scratch and the batting display was actually terrible. All around we didn’t do what we wanted to, but this is a perfect opportunity for us to rebound on our home turf and put that behind us as quickly as possible.

“The atmosphere is fantastic [at Sabina Park], so hopefully we can get the support because we need it. It’s a new venture under the lights and I’m sure everybody is looking out for that,” he said. Fans could also look out for a cracker from the champion batsman. “I always try to entertain at home…there’s a lot of history here at Sabina Park as well, so I’m looking forward to that,” Gayle said.


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