We have hit the final week of the Caribbean Premier League season with the CPL 2023 playoffs beginning on Tuesday night when it is knockout cricket for the St Lucia Kings and the Jamaica Tallawahs when they meet in the Eliminator.
The Kings secured their passage into the postseason quite early in their campaign while the Tallawahs only confirmed their title defence would extend into the knockout stages in their final match so it will be interesting to see if they hold a competitive edge.
St Lucia Kings
This hasn’t been the smoothest campaign for the St Lucia Kings. While having the home leg of the season is actually a decent advantage if you make the most of it, it does leave you a little undercooked when the business end of the season comes along and if you have done it right you’ve basically played a couple of matches which haven’t meant a great deal too and it can be hard to keep your intensity up. That is something St Lucia Kings might need to battle here.
The Kings head into the playoffs off the back of three defeats in their last four matches and are probably the one team who are really searching for some momentum. Those defeats have been relatively comfortable and all of a sudden their bowling has started going around the park almost from nowhere. That certainly isn’t good because this isn’t a team setup to score big runs so they really need their bowlers to show up in this do or die clash.
Just when it looked like the title defence for the Jamaica Tallawahs was going nowhere they have roused themselves and forced their way into the reckoning. They know if they are going to make a successful defence of the crown they will have to win three straight knockout matches but the schedule this season will help with that because they get the extra day to recover if they win the first one ahead of the second one which hasn’t been the case before.
The key for the Tallawahs in the two matches they have won going into the playoffs is their bowlers have come to the party. It was those bowlers who in the main got the job done for them last season. They can score big but it releases a lot of pressure on their batters if the bowlers can give them some assistance. The big confidence boost for Jamaica came on Sunday when they absolutely demolished St Lucia to make it through to this repeat clash.
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Alzarri Joseph has now come through to be the leading wicket taker for the St Lucia Kings in the tournament and you would imagine early scalps could be needed if the Kings are to progress to Qualifier 2 later in the week.
Mohammad Amir has returned for the Jamaica Tallawahs at just the right time and if he can grab a pole or two at the beginning of the innings and get Jamaica on their way the spinners can squeeze and the batters won’t have as much to do. His new ball spell could open the game right up.
The Jamaica Tallawahs beat the St Lucia Kings in the opening match of the season in St Lucia and in the last game of the regular campaign in Guyana as recently as Sunday. The Kings might argue that they made changes to personnel and to their batting order but they were still comfortably beaten, and Jamaica were without their best player in Brandon King as well so that certainly negates that argument. I think this is all about Jamaica.
For me they have more match winners with the bat, particularly right at the top of the order where you would imagine most of the balls will be faced and I also think they have a better balance to their attack too. St Lucia have lacked a top drawer spinner all season and there is an element of overreliance on Alzarri Joseph with the ball unless Matthew Forde has a day out. The fact that St Lucia have failed to chase against Jamaica twice in good chasing conditions suggests that if the Tallawahs play up to expectations they’ll get the job done here.
Back Jamaica Tallawahs to beat St Lucia Kings for a 3/10 stake at 1.73 with Sky Bet