Two-time champions Jamaica Tallawahs begin their campaign in the eighth edition of the Caribbean Premier League against St Lucia Zouks in the third match of the season.
Having finished at the bottom of the table last season, the Rovman Powell-led side will certainly look to bury the ghosts of the 2019 season and start afresh.
2019 was also the only season when Tallawahs did not enter the play-offs. With Gayle parting ways with the Tallawahs for the upcoming season, the Jamaica-based team will have big shoes to fill.
Going into the tournament, they had to deal with the unavailability of Tabraiz Shamsi, Andre McCarthy and Jeavor Royal; Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Jermaine Blackwood and Ramaal lewis have been named as the replacements.
Jamaica Tallawahs won the inaugural edition of the CPL in 2013 and followed it up with another title win in 2016. They qualified for the play-offs in all remaining seasons except for 2019.
Jamaica Tallawahs Squad for CPL 2020:
Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Glenn Philipps, Chadwick Walton, Oshane Thomas, Sandeep Lamicchane, Carlos Brathwaite, Asif Ali, Fidel Edwards, Preston McSween, Nicholas Kirton, Nkrumah Bonner, Veerasammy Permaul, Ryan Persaud (ICC Americas pick), Jermaine Blackwood, Ramaal Lewis, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Jamaica Tallawahs Team Analysis:
The top order includes New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman Glenn Philipps, Chadwick Walton and one among Nicholas Kirton, Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner.
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Walton batted at 3 last season, but in the absence of Chris Gayle, he is set to open the innings with Philipps. Number 3 might be an area of concern for the Tallawahs, where they will look to slot in one among Kirton, Bonner and Blackwood, none of whom have great T20 credentials so far.
The middle-order has enough firepower to chase down any total. But it is also vulnerable against quality spin, especially against wrist spinners.
Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Asif Ali and Carlos Brathwaite are some of the fiercest hitters of the ball available in the league and are the reason why Jamaica will be one of the most difficult teams to defend against this season. However, the backups are not very reliable as they don’t have much experience.
Sandeep Lamicchane, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Veerasammy Permaul lead the spin attack, with Ramaal Lewis coming in as an all-rounder. They can go either with Mujeeb or Lewis, depending on the combination they want. Lewis at 8 gives enough batting depth while Mujeeb provides a quality bowling option.
Jamaica have a pace attack that is capable of bouncing out any opposition. Fidel Edwards and Oshane Thomas lead the pace attack, assisted by Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite.
The 4-prong pace attack is one of the best in the tournament and on their day can run through any side. The fact that they can get a minimum of 8 over from the top 7 gives them the luxury of playing a batting all-rounder in Lewis at 8 instead of a pure bowler.
Jamaica Tallawahs Probable Playing XI:
Glenn Philipps, Chadwick Walton, Nicholas Kirton, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Asif Ali, Carlos Brathwaite, Ramaal Lewis/ Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fidel Edwards, Sandeep Lamicchane, Oshane Thomas
Expected Finish in CPL 2020:
Unlike the last season, Jamaica should be a certainty in the top 4. A title win is also possible depending on how well they cope up with quality wrist spin in crunch games.