Jamaica Tallawahs lock horns with Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in the first knockout match of the Caribbean Premier League at the at the St Kitts' Warner Park stadium in Basseterre on Thursday.
The winner of this game will face Guyana Amazon Warriors in the semifinal. Barbados Tridents have already qualified for the final by virtue of a superior run rate in comparison to the other teams.
Both the Tallawahs and Red Steel have lost some momentum going into the game as they've suffered losses in their two previous encounters each. The batting would particularly bother both these sides. The Tridents shot out the boys from Jamaica for a measly 87 runs when they were in pursuit of 176. Red Steel too were made to suffer by the same opposition as they were bundled out for 105 while chasing 175.
The fact the Tallawahs and Red Steel haven't been able to put up substantial scores is a worrying factor. Red Steel could only manage 113 during their upset at the hands of bottom of the table Antigua Hawksbills.
That they 've been bowled out for low scores twice in a row is a bit of a surprise considering they boast of some very fine batsmen such as Ross Taylor, Bravo brothers Dwayne and Darren and in the in-form Ewin Lewis. To add to this the hard-hitting Irishman Kevin O' Brien is also in their ranks.
In bowling, Red Steel will hope Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper will make inroads and Samuel Badree keeps the runs down. They would have to contend with the dangerous Chris Gayle at the other end.
Jamaica Tallawahs too have some batting issues. They appear heavily reliant on skipper Gayle and opener Chadwick Walton. Andre Russell has contributed occasionally, however, the middle order comprising of Adam Voges and Owais Shah haven't played as well as they would've liked.
The likes of Dwayne Bravo and Cooper can exploit this to their advantage. Jamaica's bowlers, particularly pacer Jerome Taylor and South Africa's Rusty Theron, will hope to bowl Red Steel out for another low score again in this all-important match.
In their last two losses, Red Steel appeared to have some problems against the medium pacers Jason Holder and Ben Laughlin. Veteran Daniel Vettori will look to play a crucial role here, even though the last time the two teams met Ewin Lewis took to him as the New Zealander conceded 34 runs in three overs.
As both teams have an aggressive bunch of players like Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Russell, O' Brien they will undoubtedly attack as if there's no tomorrow. This all-important match promises to be exciting.
Where to Watch Live
The game will start at 4 pm local time (1:30 am IST) with live coverage on Sony Six in India. The match is available live online HERE. US viewers can catch the action on ESPN3, with the option to live stream HERE.