10Cric IPL

Steyn, Harper braced for top-of-the-table Caribbean Premier League clash

South African fast bowler Dale Steyn believes that the Jamaica Tallawahs are in a good place as the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) resumes on Thursday night with a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash against hosts Guyana Amazon Warriors in Providence (7pm).

Looking ahead to Thursday night’s game the 33-year-old Proteas star paid tribute to skipper Chris Gayle and said that he is relishing the opportunity to feature in his first Hero CPL.

“I’ve played in a lot of teams where people buy you and you come over. The key thing is to get the guys to gel as quickly as possible. A lot of guys obviously know each other and there’s great camaraderie amongst the boys. You should drive in our bus! It’s amazing to listen to everyone laughing. I think it’s that Caribbean style that kind of influences that. You get the foreigners who come in and who have never met these guys before, and they blend in very quickly. So, it’s pretty cool.

“I’ve never played in the CPL before, so me coming up against them (Amazon Warriors) is not like a Manchester United versus Chelsea kind of derby…so I’m walking into this fresh. I know the wicket is kind of slow and was difficult to score on in the Tri-Series, but that keeps the bowlers interested and we have a lot of wicket-takers in our side. After the game that we played the other night, our batters have a little bit more momentum on their side too. (It’s) two from two for us and hopefully if we play well, and box smartly with bat and ball, we can make it three.

Reflecting on Chris Gayle’s century in Queen’s Park Oval, Steyn added: “For a change I’m in his team! Normally I’m playing against him or sitting back at home watching the telly when he’s playing for other sides, smashing everyone all over the place. It’s great to be in his side. He’s such a chilled kind of guy and doesn’t say a lot on the field, but when he does talk people listen. He has such a proud record and so much experience…He just commanded that space and it was brilliant. We all know what he’s capable of, but under a pressure situation like he was, as captain, to go out there and play that innings was brilliant.”

Meanwhile, Guyana Amazon Warriors Coach Roger Harper spoke about individuals, such as Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa, and expressed the hope that his side can make home advantage count as they also aim to make it three wins on the bounce.

“I think that the team has performed pretty well so far. We’ve played two games away from home, and won two games, and I think each member of the team has contributed in one way or another. We want to build on our performances. We’re at home, so we should be a little bit more familiar with these conditions and we want to show that when we go out there and play we can try and build on what we’ve done abroad.

“(Zampa) is a young player, but he has an old head on him for a spin bowler and I expect him to handle the situation well and bowl well in these conditions also.”