CPL Final: Trinbago Knight Riders vs Guyana Amazon Warriors
After the thrilling and historic Vitality Blast in England crowned their champion, attention now turns to the West Indies as the Caribbean gets set for their own final showpiece event.
It sees the defending champions, the Knight Riders, trying to defend their title and become the most successful team in the competition’s sixth edition with a third triumph, while the Amazon Warriors, will be hoping to break the “curse”, of finals heartbreak, after losing three finals.
This year’s final is again being played in Trinidad, at The Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, in the south of the country.
It should be an exciting encounter, that is quite frankly, very tough to call a winner!
These two teams finished in the top two spots in the league standings, and in three meetings so far this season, the Warriors lead 2-1. TKR won the first encounter, while the GAW, won the last two including, the match that got them to 2nd place, and the first eliminator, that granted them a place straight into today’s final.
Knight Riders are led by experienced Trinidadian T20 all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, while the Amazon Warriors are captained by the South African born Australian Chris Green.
The two captains could not be more different!
Bravo is an experienced head who has seen it and done it several times in T20 cricket, both at the domestic level and at the international arena with the West Indies. While Green, is a raw talent, who has only been playing this format for three and a half, but whose maturity is beyond his years.
Their characters are also, quite different, with Bravo the showman “Champion”, and Green the more reserved “newcomer”.
The AW have a right old mix of youth and experience. They are coached by South African Johan Botha, who himself has made a smooth transition into coaching after a long career. In Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutheford, the AW have two of the best young talents in the competition this year.
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Hetmyer, who led the West Indies to the World Cup Under-19 ODI title back in 2016, has continued to grow and he was a key player in the Caribbean side’s recent international series versus Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Rutherford, on the other hand, plays with a care free nature that is a joy to watch, as he just’s “goes for it”.
The experience in the side includes Trinidadian Riyad Emrit, New Zealander Luke Ronchi, South African spinner Imran Tahir, all who’s know how have helped the younger players in the squad immeasurably. Unfortunately, they will have to do without Pakistani Shoaib Malik, who is away with his nation at the Asia Cup.
The Knight Riders, are a team built on experience, as besides captain Bravo, there is his brother Darren, Denish Ramdin, Kiwis Brendon McCullum, Colin Munro and Trini spin merchant Sunil Narine. An interesting player is the American fast bowler Ali Khan, who has been one of the surprises of the tournament.
Bowling with pace, accuracy and with a passion for it all, he has taken 14 wickets this season, including three each in his last two matches, to help play a major role in the Knight Riders making it to another final.
The toss will play a crucial role in this final, and it is something, I personally have a huge problem with!
The game is schedule to start at 5 pm local time, meaning whoever wins it, is likely to bowl first to enjoy the better of the conditions.
As the game gets later into the evening and night falls, the dew will become a major factor in the game. The bowlers will have a tough time gripping the ball, and with both teams relying on spinners, such as Narine & Tahir, the out fielders will have to have their rags and cloth at the ready to dry the damp ball, almost after every delivery.
The Knight Riders are many people’s favourite, having an experienced side who have been together a while now, and who have the know how of how to win the title, while the Amazon Warriors, have the younger team eager to prove their worth and bring home the trophy for the first time.
As the legend Brian Charles Lara, who’s name the stadium bears said:
It does not matter what happened before, all that matters is the final on the day, and like finals should be, this one is unpredictable to pick a winner.
We are now just over 12 hours away from the bowl off and the stage is set for another T20 final of this weekend, who will come out on top?
The eyes of the cricket world in on the Caribbean once again!
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