PORT-OF-SPAIN, Sporting Alert – The CPL cricket schedule moves into the knockout phase on Thursday with Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel and the Jamaica Tallawahs meeting in the first knockout game. Live coverage is available on ESPN3.com.
The CPL Twenty20 battle will take place at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad and the live action gets going at 6 pm ET.
Tallawahs stole the fourth spot in the CPL table standings after edging out the St Lucia Zouks with a better net run-rate. Both franchises finished on nine points from their 10 games.
Trinidad & Tobago, meanwhile, finished third in the standings and just missed out on second place when losing to Guyana Amazon Warriors on Monday.
The winner of the clash between the Tallawahs and the Red Steel will earn the right to face the Amazon Warriors in Saturday’s 2nd playoff game.
Regular season table-toppers and defending champions Barbados Tridents are already in Sunday’s final and await the winner of the three-team battle.
The current series between Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica is locked at 1-1.
In the first meeting this season between the two clubs, hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayle hammered a 57 ball 105, which included 9 sixes and 6 fours in a 50 runs victory at Sabina Park in Jamaica.
However, the Red Steel returned the favour on their home soil with a seven runs victory on Sunday with South African top order batsman Jacques Kallis, who made 46 in the first meeting, leading the way this time with 61 runs and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo making 49 and picking up two wickets.
As expected, West Indies opener Gayle, the top scorer in the tournament thus far with 400 runs and has hit 30 sixes, is the main target of Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday and Bravo admits the hosts will try to “knock him over” early.
Despite having a very strong all round lineup, the Tallawahs have struggled in recent fixtures – dropping three of the last four games and Bravo believes if they can get the big man out early the chance of them winning would be greater, especially with the other top batsmen, including Mahela Jayawardene, fighting to scoring find form.
“We’re going to target [Gayle], definitely early on and try to see if we can knock him over,” Bravo said ahead of the battle.
“Chris is a very important player for them. He being the captain obviously he will try to bat longer and bat more-and-more of the overs, so for us as a team we’ll have to try to get him out early,” added the home side’s captain.
Jamaica captain Gayle, in the meantime says he’s feeling confident about his team’s chance of winning.
“Listen to me, I’m pretty confident going into tomorrow (today’s) game,” he said. “The Red Steel play good at home so it’s going to be a challenging game.
“But at the same time, we are looking forward to it as well because we know what’s required.”