CPL Preview: Defending champs Tallawahs take on Tridents this weekend
Jamaica Tallawahs marched to a crushing nine-wicket win over Guyana Amazon Warriors in St Kitts to clinch their second CPL title (CPL/Sportsfile)
The Jamaica Tallawahs open their defense of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title on Saturday in the second game of a double header at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Tallawahs take on the Barbados Tridents in the 3 pm match-up, with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots battling the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the opening game of the Florida leg at 11 am.
The Jamaica franchise is skippered by Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakarra for the 2017 edition with previous captain Chris Gayle moving to the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the off-season.
The Tallawahs, which was recently bought by Worldwide Sports Management, have also lost Andre Russell for the season after the Jamaican was banned for one year from cricket for a whereabouts clause violation.
The Tridents have brought in New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, Damion Jacobs of Jamaica, United States wicketkeeper Akeem Dodson, Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz, and Guyana’s Christopher Barnwell.
Also returning for the Tridents are T&T fast bowler Ravi Rampaul and Barbadian Tino Best, along with Dwayne Smith, who campaigned for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2016.
Chris Gayle leads the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, which includes the talents of leg-spinner Samuel Badree and West Indies skipper Carlos Brathwaite.
The franchise also signed Mohammad Hafeez and Hasan Ali, who featured in the 2017 Pakistan team which won the Champions Trophy in England in June.
Guyana Amazon Warriors lost the prolific Australian Chris Lynn to an injury last week and brought in another Pakistan star in Babar Azam, who struck three consecutive ODI hundreds against the West Indies in 2016.
Guyana has finished runners up in the 2013, 2014 and 2016 editions of the Hero CPL.
The 5th edition of the tournament bowls off on Friday with the St Lucia Stars hosting the Trinbago Knight Riders at Gros Islet.
St Lucia Stars is captained by Darren Sammy, who captained West Indies to ICC World T20 glory in 2012 and 2016.
The Stars brought in the New Zealand duo of Jesse Ryder and bowler Mitchell McClenaghan who will replace South African David Miller, who is on international duty, and Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga, who is injured.
The Trinbago Knight Riders, the 2015 winners (as the T&T Red Steel), will have Darren Bravo for the entire tournament as the batsman was not selected on the West Indies team for the tour of England in August and September.
All-rounder Dwayne Bravo again leads the Knight Riders, which also boasts the batting prowess of Hashim Amla, Brendon McCullum and Colin Munro and the bowling firepower of Sunil Narine, Shadab Khan and emerging Bangladesh star Mehedi Hasan Miraz.
Opening fixtures of the 2017 Hero CPL
St Lucia Stars vs Trinbago Knight Riders, August 4, Gros Islet
Guyana Amazon Warriors vs St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, August 5, Fort Lauderdale
Barbados Tridents vs Jamaica Tallawahs, August 5, Fort Lauderdale