Trinbago Knight Riders v Jamaica Tallawahs, Tarouba
Our XI: Sunil Narine, Glenn Phillips, Jermaine Blackwood, Andre Russell, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sandeep Lamichhane, Jayden Seales, Khary Pierre
Substitutes: Lendl Simmons, Fawad Ahmed, Carlos Brathwaite, Asif Ali
Captain: Andre Russell
Russell bagged a golden duck in the Tallawahs’ last league fixture, but he did smash half-centuries in his two innings prior to that. His brute strength can take the pitch out of the equation and if he bats higher in the line-up, he could fetch you more points. Russell hasn’t bowled in his last four games this season because of a knee complaint, but his power-hitting alone could make a difference. He also has a good record against the Knight Riders: 565 runs in 15 innings at an average of over 50 to add to 20 wickets.
Vice-captain: Kieron Pollard
Knight Riders’ captain has been in fine form both with bat and ball in addition to marshalling the attack smartly. Like Russell, Pollard can take the pitch out of the equation. Opponents have tried to match Pollard up with legspin on sluggish tracks, but he has still found a way past them. He has struck 20 sixes in CPL 2020 – the most by any batsman.
Sandeep Lamichhane: The Nepal legspinner has been Rovman Powell’s go-to bowler this season along with Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Lamichhane has grabbed 12 wickets in ten matches at an economy rate of 5.05. He has picked up at least one wicket in each of the nine innings he has bowled in.
Sunil Narine: After having been rested for the last few games, expect Narine to slot back at the top and probably open the bowling as well. He has posed a great threat with his new action; he now hides the ball behind his back during his run-up. With the bat, Narine has hit 140 runs in four innings at a superb strike rate of 150.53.
The Bravos – Dwayne and Darren: Over the past few CPL seasons, Darren has reinvented himself as a white-ball hitter and even though pitches this year haven’t been as conductive to strokeplay, he has prospered. He has made 239 runs in eight innings at an average of 47.80 and strike rate of 113.27. With Colin Munro likely to be in the sidelines, Darren could separate the right-handers from the mystery spin of Mujeeb and Lamichhane. And, with the 500th wicket out of the way, Dwayne has returned to his wicket-taking best, more so in the slog overs. He was rested against the Patriots, but took 2 for 26 against the Zouks on Saturday and played his part in Knight Riders’ victory. Plus, Dwayne is also someone who could roll out the big sixes in the end overs. So, ignore the Bravo brothers at your own peril.
Points to note
Munro had hinted on TV commentary that he has a finger fracture and won’t be available for the semi-finals. He also missed Knight Riders’ matches over the weekend against Zouks and Patriots.
Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum had said that Narine had been treated for kidney stones. He has been carefully managed this season, but expect him to return for the knockouts.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman – and other Afghanistan players – will be available for the CPL knockouts despite a scheduling clash with the Shpageeza T20 league, which kicked off in Kabul on Sunday.