By Ravendra Madholall
Buoyant Trinbago Knight Riders will be looking to continue their dominance in this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 on Thursday when they clash with a beleaguered Guyana Amazon Warriors unit at the Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad and Tobago.
Warriors, having beaten by the Riders in the tournament’s opener by four wickets, are no doubt anxious to inflict a defeat against their nemesis under the lights.
Riders are leading the points’ table with eight from four games as they remain the only unbeaten team thus far.
Warriors are languishing at number 4 with four points from five outings in the six-side tournament.
Warriors only hauled in two victories and suffered three defeats, an indication they are below par with their performances in comparison to last year in which they won 11 straight games.
Even though Riders will head into this much anticipated contest with the psychological advantage, the affair is promising to be thrilling behind closed doors.
Riders would not only take advantage of home conditions, but their team looked well-oiled for this exciting version as both departments have been equally terrific.
Kieron Pollard has been astounding at the helm while Warriors’ leader Chris Green hasn’t been that inspirational.
Warriors’ bowling was exceptional in their two victorious matches against St.Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Jamaica Tallawahs but the batting is a major letdown.
Only three half-centuries were recorded. Two from their most essential player Shimron Hetmyer and the other from another young batting sensation Nicolas Pooran.
The other batsmen Brandon King, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Ross Taylor, Sherfane Rutherford and wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble are misfiring but prior to the commencement of the tournament, it was a revelation that they possessed the best batting lineup.
Green, a tidy off-spinner and leggy Imran Tahir made a good impression while young and prodigiously talented left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd was on target in his three matches to date. Nedd is the tournament’s most economical bowler-3.92.
Their seamers have shown some kind of consistency as well. Kemo Paul, a versatile all-rounder has the best bowling figure so far with 4-19 from four overs. Naveen-Ul-Haq, Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith have not fulfilled their potentials to an extent but hopefully from a Warriors’ perspective, they find the momentum.
Riders have a great reputation in CPL having emerged champions on three occasions since the inauguration of the competition in 2013 but they were dethroned by Barbados Tridents in 2019.
They will count again on their seasoned batsmen like Lendl Simmons, Darren and Dwayne Bravo (brothers), Pollard, Colin Munro, Sunil Narine to perform while their bowling is powerful with the likes of fast-men Ali Khan and Jayden Seales along with medium-pacer Dwayne Bravo who grabbed 500 T20 wickets in their last match. The spin-cordon will be taken care of by Narine and he will have left-arm orthodox Khary Pierre, leg-break Fawad Ahmed among others.