You couldn’t have asked for a better matchup in this year’s Caribbean Premier League final, both the Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors have been the best performing teams throughout the tournament. It was Guyana who prevailed over Trinbago in the first qualifier of the playoffs, although both sides have had their fair share of success against one another this season.
If the first qualifying final is anything to go by, we’re in for a blockbuster finale tomorrow evening at Brian Lara Stadium! The Amazon Warriors have certainly stunned a few including myself, it’s an almighty achievement to surpass some of the CPL’s powerhouse sides such as the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Jamaica Tallawahs, and they’ve done exactly that. A superb bowling spell from Guyana skipper Chris Green set the standard against Trinbago in the first qualifier, his extremely economical 2/8 from four overs may well have been the difference in the end. Leading the way with the ball in CPL18 for Guyana, South African leggy Imran Tahir has been their game breaker this year claiming 16 wickets at an average of 16.68. When they’ve been desperate for a wicket, Tahir has more often than not produced either a timely wicket or a tight spell to settle things down. Another upside for Guyana has been two of their key seamers returning to form in the competition, both Sohail Tanvir and Rayad Emrit have picked up multiple wickets in their past two outings. They opted to leave out both local spinners Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo in that first qualifier, the pair haven’t had the best of tournaments this year.
One of the major factors that will decide if they walk away with this year’s CPL title will come down to how many runs they can put on the board with the bat. They’ve been impressive with the ball in recent times, but the Knight Riders are more than capable of breaking that trend. A worrying aspect for Guyana is their opening pair, both Cameron Delport and Luke Ronchi in particular haven’t shown a whole lot in CPL18. Ronchi scored an unbeaten 67 against the Tridents some time ago, but apart from that he’s looked vulnerable against the new ball. It’ll most likely be up to their star No. 3 Shimron Hetmyer to produce the goods if they are any chance of winning. Guyana’s leading run-scorer in the CPL this year with 425 runs, Hetmyer has shown what he has to offer in this team, however his fellow batsman have been average at best. The Amazon Warriors are continuing to inject youth into this team which seems to be the winning formula, the tantalizing striking of Sherfane Rutherford has given them a huge X factor down the order.
For the first time in CPL history, Dwayne Bravo and his men are looking to make it back-to-back titles in the Caribbean Premier League. Trinbago took the long route around the block after going down to the Amazon Warriors in the first qualifier, quickly redeeming themselves against the Patriots which booked them a spot in the final. The dream to go back-to-back is still alive, but they’ll have to execute a lot better against Guyana this time around. Scoreless outings to Colin Munro and Brendon McCullum certainly didn’t help the cause, thankfully the New Zealand duo bounced back against St Kitts and Nevis chipping in with some handy contributions. Their batting has been one of the major focal points in CPL18, but it hasn’t quite lived up to expectation. Trinbago has done enough to make it to the final, but only just. This could be the match where their batting line-up produces the knockout blow we’ve all been waiting for, apart from Colin Munro they haven’t been able to use the likes of Brendon McCullum, Chris Lynn and the Bravo brothers to finish off an opposition team often enough. Apart from that duck in the qualifier, Munro has had a near-faultless tournament with the bat and is set to surpass the 500-run mark. What’s really let the Knight Riders down in CPL18 has been Sunil Narine’s pinch-hitting woes at the top of the order, he’s been moved back down to the lower order and seems to have lost the ability to strike balls cleanly off his willow.
Not dissimilar to Guyana, some of the Knight Riders key components in their bowling attack have found some form late in the tournament, one of them being Sunil Narine. It’s been a bumpy old road for Sunil in this year’s CPL, it’s not often the 30-year-old goes missing for as long as he did in the group stage, but nevertheless you can’t write off a proven performer like Narine which we’re slowly but surely beginning to see. Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed continues to impress for the Knight Riders in CPL18, the veteran is up to a competition-high 21 wickets in the tournament after claiming his best bowling figures of 3/13 against the Patriots in the second qualifier. Now Trinbago just need Ali Khan and skipper Dwayne Bravo to get involved with the ball tomorrow, and they could be looking at yet another piece of silverware to add to their trophy cabinet.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Guyana Amazon Warriors | CPL | final | Brian Lara Stadium
- Shimron Hetmyer
- Imran Tahir
- Cameron Delport
- Sohail Tanvir
- Sherfane Rutherford
Wildcard pick – Chadwick Walton
Top 5 fantasy picks | Trinbago Knight Riders | CPL | final | Brian Lara Stadium
- Colin Munro
- Fawad Ahmed
- Brendon McCullum
- Denesh Ramdin
- Sunil Narine
Wildcard pick – Darren Bravo
Guyana Amazon Warriors (possible) – 1. Cameron Delport 2. Luke Ronchi (wk) 3. Shimron Hetmyer 4. Jason Mohammed 5. Chadwick Walton 6. Sherfane Rutherford 7. Chris Green © 8. Sohail Tanvir 9. Rayad Emrit 10. Romaria Shepherd/Keemo Paul 11. Imran Tahir.
Trinbago Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Colin Ingram 2. Brendon McCullum 3. Colin Munro 4. Denesh Ramdin (wk) 5. Darren Bravo 6. Dwayne Bravo © 7. Sunil Narine 8. Kevon Cooper 9. Fawad Ahmed 10. Anderson Phillip/Khary Pierre 11. Ali Khan.