The Antigua Hawksbills will fight it out against the Jamaica Tallawahs on Friday in the Caribbean Premier League at Sabina Park in Kingston.
This a return match for the two sides. In the earlier game the Chris Gayle-led Tallawahs bowled the Marlon Samuels' Hawksbills out for 96 and then eased home by eight wickets.
Gayle's Tallawahs, the defending champions, are a rather formidable outfit. In their four matches so far they have lost only one. The loss, however, came in their last game against a very aggressive Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel.
Their bowlers, who have done well throughout the competition, came a cropper against the strong Red Steel batting lineup led by the belligerent pair of Ewin Lewis and Kevin O'Brien. Here, even the miserly Daniel Vettori was taken for runs. Pacer Jerome Taylor did not have much of an impact. South African Rusty Theron and Windies all-rounder Andre Fletcher took two wickets but could not prevent the Red Steel batsmen from scoring freely.
The batting, even though Chris Gayle played in his usual aggressive manner and made 60, could not overhaul Red Steel's score of 183. They were always behind the run rate and in the end did not catch up to the target.
Jamaica would be hoping this was an off day as they look to get back to winning ways. The onus to keep the runs down will be on the experienced Vettori, while Taylor will look to make early inroads. Wickets from Theron and Fletcher will be handy too.
While batting, as usual, the key lies with left-hander Chris Gayle. If he can get going it will be a sight to savour as the opposing team more often than not will struggle. Jermaine Blackwood will be hoping to come good as well. In the death overs, Russell can hit the ball a long way .
Antigua Hawksbills for now have their task cut out. The team, yet to be on the winning side this tournament, face quite a challenge against the defending champions. In the last game between these two sides their batting was all over the place as they were shot out for 96. On that occasion Taylor and Vettori did the damage.
The Hawksbills, in their last game against the Barbados Tridents, did put up a fight but ended up on the losing side by a wicket.
The batting once again let them down as they could get to only 129 with skipper Samuels scoring 66. The bowlers did well though despite coming second best in a tight contest. They all chipped in with wickets. Pacer Sheldon Cottrell scalped two. Veteran spinner Brad Hogg was economical while picking up a wicket as well.
Despite the loss there were positives that the Hawksbills took from the game. If they are to come good against the Tallwahs the batsmen have to do well.
A lot rests on Samuels and David Hussey. If the openers Ben Dunk and Danza Hyatt can get their act together a good platform will have been laid.
Amongst the bowlers, keeping the runs down will be Hogg's job while pacer Cottrell will look to provide early breakthroughs. Carlos Braithwaite and Ben Laughlin too can chip in.
Where to Watch Live
The game will start at 2 pm local time (12:30 am IST) with 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.