Where would we be without sports commentators? Somewhere happy and peaceful? Perhaps.
As England and Pakistan battle away in the cloudy British Isles, the island of Trinidad is hosting the 2020 Caribbean Premier League behind closed doors.
Having followed the CPL since 2013, the Trinbago Knight Riders has been the side I’ve barracked for since then.
With a strong squad covering every department, I’m backing the boys from Trinidad and Tobago to win a record fourth CPL title. First up, the Knight Riders face last season’s runners-up in Guyana Amazon Warriors in the opening match of 2020 CPL.
Trinbago has brought four internationals in Fawad Ahmed, Tim Seifert, Pravin Tambe and Fawad Ahmed this season. Ahmed was a big part of Trinbago’s success in 2018, so it can be considered as a second homecoming for the Aussie leg-spinner.
The Knight Riders welcome back Dwayne Bravo after he missed out on the 2019 edition due to injury – although Kieron Pollard will remain to lead the Knight Riders.
At the top of the order, the Knight Riders are most likely to go with Colin Munro, Lendl Simmons, Tim Seifert and Darren Bravo. With explosive all-rounders in Dwayne Bravo, Pollard, Javon Searles and Sikandar Raza, expect the Knight Riders to put up scores of 180+ consistently.
With a spin quartet of Sunil Narine, Pravin Tambe, Kharry Pierre and Fawad Ahmed, it wouldn’t surprise me to see opposition teams get skittled over for low scores. American speedster Ali Khan is expected to lead the pace attack alongside Dwayne Bravo, so it seems the Knight Riders have every base covered.
Guyana has been hampered heavily with Shadab Khan and Shoaib Malik missing due to international duties while Qais Ahmed had visa issues. Thus, a lot of responsibility falls on Chris Green and Imran Tahir to lead the spin attack and take wickets in the middle-overs. Naveen Ul-Haq, Romario Shepherd and Keemo Paul headline the Guyana seam attack, and the duo are expected to take wickets in the Powerplay and death overs.
One thing that Guyana have in their favour is an exciting West Indian batting contingent. With the explosive players that are Chanderpaul Hemraj, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford alongside Kiwi star Ross Taylor makes Guyana have a solid top six.
Prediction – This clash could be a preview into the CPL 2020 final. But, Trinbago know these conditions inside out. The Brian Lara Cricket Academy is often a flat track, and with the countless bowling options Trinbago has in their team to slot into the playing XI, I feel they start as favourites here. But, this is T20 cricket.
Anything is possible.
Trinabgo – Tim Seifert (keeper), Lendl Simmons, Colin Munro, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Javon Searles, Kharry Pierre, Fawad Ahmed, Ali Khan
Guyana – Chanderpaul Hemraj, Brandon King, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (keeper), Ross Taylor, Sherfane Rutherford, Chris Green, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Imran Tahir, Naveen Ul-Haq