THE GUYANA Amazon Warriors will square off against the struggling Barbados Royals on Tuesday at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts as the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) continues.
The Amazon Warriors are fourth in the points standings with 2020 winners Trinbago Knight Riders with six points, but an inferior net run-rate, while the Royals are at the bottom of the six-team table with two points. Both Amazon Warriors and Royals have played six games.
During an online media interview on Monday, Amazon Warriors coach Rayon Griffith said, “At the moment, everything is going really good in the camp. The players’ confidence (is) building. We got three victories (and) we lost three. Having those points is very important this time, in this competition.”
Both teams faced each other on Saturday, with the Amazon Warriors cruising to a nine-wicket victory.
But Griffith is not allowing the team to rest on their laurels. “The areas to improve are definitely understanding situations, and playing the situations,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t play the situations.”
Griffith added, “We are getting better. (Chandrapaul) Hemraj and (Brandon) King, from the last game, were impressive in terms of the opening stand. I think that’s an area that we improved also.”
Hemraj and King, on Saturday, produced an opening partnership of 103, with the left-handed Hemraj notching his first CPL century – an unbeaten 105.
However, Brandon King has been a shadow of the batsman who forced his way into the WI white-ball squads, with 496 runs in 12 matches, at an average of 55.11. This season, he has been moved up and down the batting order, as he has only tallied 56 runs in six innings.
“He’s not having the best of tournaments but we’re going to back Brandon,” Griffith noted. “We believe that Brandon will come (good). We’ll give him some advice.”
Another player who has been going through a tough phase is off-spinner Kevin Sinclair, who made his T20 debut against Sri Lanka, in Antigua, in March. He has only played one game this season for the Amazon Warriors.
“He played the last game with both off-spinners (Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik),” the Amazon Warriors coach pointed out. “Sometimes, you’re playing different oppositions and you have different combinations you’ll like to play. It was a bit tough for him not getting in. He will get his opportunity as the tournament goes along.”
The Royals have flattered to deceive this season, having earned one win to date.
Coach Daniel Vettori acknowledged, “It’s a tough start. Like most franchise tournaments, teams look back and can see two or three games they could have easily won. It’s probably our scenario at the moment.
“We’ve got a bit of regret over a few close games but we also know that, with a tournament so tight and compact, that a couple wins can make you look a hell of a lot different. I suppose that’s the attitude we’ll take in our last four (preliminary round) games.”
A few bright spots for the Amazon Warriors have been the batting of burly Pakistani Azam Khan, his countryman, fast bowler Mohammad Amir and the pace of the rejuvenated Oshane Thomas.
“We’ve bowled really well throughout the tournament. I think we’ve put ourselves in a chance in most games with our bowling performances,” said Vettori, the former New Zealand captain and left-arm spinner. “We just haven’t gotten starts as a batting unit. The wickets haven’t been easy, but teams have managed to be in better situations.”
As far as the Royals’ line-up is concerned, Vettori said, “You’re always looking at options. We’ve changed a few things in bringing in Smit Patel and his first group game was exceptional for us.
“We’ve had a bit of chop and change with our bowling, trying to get our Under-23 players in, Nyeem Young and Joshua Bishop, who have been fantastic in the games they’ve played. There are a few injury concerns with Amir and Joshua Bishop as well. We’re just trying to find the perfect combination that can get us on a roll.”