Hero Caribbean Premier League 2018…It’s a battle of the last placed teams as St Lucia Stars and the Barbados Tridents lock horns in an interesting encounter at the Kensington Oval Ground at 14:00h today.The Stars, who were in last place for most of the tournament following the 13-match plus losing streak, have now been pushed up to second to last with the Tridents sadly slipping to last place following a nightmare past few games.Qais AhmedKieron Pollard’s men will want to capitalize on the Tridents’ recent 8-wicket loss which they suffered at the hands of the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Friday night. To date Pollard, Andre Fletcher, Rakeem Cornwall, Lendl Simmons and David Warner have all scored significant runs, and could use this chance to further impose themselves on the wounded Tridents.Guyana’s bowlers exposed the Tridents’ top order, but a strong comeback from Steve Smith; Nicholas Pooran; and Shai Hope, who has been the core of the batting throughout the tourney, helped Barbados to a decent batting total. Smith will again be looked upon as he scored 40-odd in the last match; so, too, did top-scorer Pooran, who continues to dig the Tridents out of a hole.Opener Dwayne Smith has been in good form, while the big man Hashim Amla has been short of runs on this Caribbean tour, but could come alive at Bridgetown.The Tridents will not worry about their bowlers, who have been in menacing form, especially Pakistanis Wahab Riaz and Mohammed Irfan; while off-spinner Ashley Nurse has been providing impetus with bat and ball.The Stars have suffered in the past primarily because of their mixed bowling. Their last few games have seen an expose of their true talent, as Kiwi pacer Mitchell McCleneghan and left-armer Obed McCoy have been making steady inroads.Windies T20 specialist Kesrick Williams and Cornwall’s off-spin will also add significant fire-power to the attack, while leg-spinner Qais Ahmed will provide his usual bag of tricks.The last time these two sides met, more than 400 runs were scored, and the Tridents racked up the highest score in the tournament – 226 — to beat Barbados by 38 runs in the end. Pollard slammed a ton, while Fletcher, who hit 80, was in his zone as they mauled the Tridents.Both sides will be playing for their lives, with the Tridents having more to play for, having hovered in the higher levels of the points table earlier in the tournament.
Cheick Tiote Cheick Tiote has piled more pressure onto under-fire boss Alan Pardew after declaring he wants to leave Newcastle.The 28-year-old midfielder has confessed he plans to move away from the Magpies in the January transfer window and confirmed he has already held talks with Premier League rivals Arsenal.Tiote, who joined the Toon in August 2010 from Twente in a £3.5 million deal, was persuaded by Pardew to stay at St James’ Park in the summer but it now looks likely he will leave the club.He said: “I want to leave Newcastle – I need to look for a new challenge.“I will focus on the upcoming games but let’s see what happens.“It’s true there’s been contact for me from Arsenal. A club in Russia is also keen – but I prefer to stay in England.” 1