Cricket

Tallawahs' Ross Taylor off and running

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 17, 2018

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Ross Taylor could not have asked for a more effective start to his 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 campaign with two-time champion franchise Jamaica Tallawahs.

The former New Zealand captain is now being hailed as a local hero as his unbeaten 51 against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at Sabina Park on Wednesday aided the Jamaican franchise to a comfortable 47-run win — their third in as many games this season.

Taylor, a usually aggressive top-order batsman capable of taking the challenge to top-notch bowling attacks, was slightly slow out the blocks since arriving in the Caribbean for this his third stint in the Hero CPL. But Wednesday's knock indicates he is picking up steam.

After only mustering one run and an unbeaten eight in four-wicket and six-wicket wins over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders and St Lucia Stars, respectively, Taylor unleashed on the Patriots to record his fourth CPL half-century.

Even though the 34-year-old was again slow in finding his range, his patience paid dividends in the latter stages of the innings as he smashed four sixes and two boundaries in a 35-ball knock which led the Tallawahs to 178-4 from their 20 overs.

The bowlers then did their part in restricting Patriots to 131-9 to ensure Tallawahs had a perfect two-from-two at Sabina Park.

“It is always good to be there at the end. I struggled a bit because I was 10 off 20 balls at one stage, but it is not how you start when you come in the middle, it is how you finish. But I feel like I am starting to hit the ball a lot better now and hopefully I can show that in the next couple of games,” Taylor shared.

“A lot of the times you don't want to put a lot of runs in mind. you just want to win games because, when you bat in the middle order, sometimes it is like a 20 off 10 or a 40 or a 60. But you just have to go with the flow and see what happens; as long as you win then its fine,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The experienced batsman has now tallied well over 500 runs in the CPL, having previously scored 118 in nine games with St Lucia Zouks — now St Lucia Stars — at a strike rate of 95.93, with his best score then being an unbeaten 30.

Taylor then returned for a 18-match stint with Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel — now Trinbago Knight Riders — for whom he amassed 386 runs at a strike rate of 107.52, scoring three half centuries with a best score of 70.

However, with his form and confidence now on par, Taylor's role with the bat will be even more critical going forward as Tallawahs continue to chart the course towards a play-off spot.

The Tallawahs are currently atop the six-team standing on six points, two ahead of Guyana Amazon Warriors, whom they will face next at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida tomorrow.

The other games to be contested at the same venue as part of the Tallawahs home fixtures will be against Trinbago Knight Riders on Sunday and Barbados Tridents next Wednesday.

“I am enjoying it so far. obviously it is my first time for the Tallawahs, and so it is good to learn a little bit more about the country. I think my job is to help Andre Russell out with the captaincy and take as much pressure of him, but we have other experienced players in the team that are also helping out.

“Only two games in Jamaica to make the most of and hopefully we can go into those three games in Miami with some momentum. It will be exciting, so we are looking forward to it and entertaining the home crowd,” Taylor noted.

The right-hand batsman was reserved in his predictions on the Tallawahs winning this the sixth edition, which would make them the first franchise to hold the title three times.

“A lot of the time you don't want to look too far ahead, but we know if we can get into those semi-finals any team can win from there on. So my focus is on taking it one game at a time, but if we can play consistent cricket where we can get to the play-off, then you never know,” Taylor ended.

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