TABLE TOPPERS Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) will aim to extend their unbeaten run of form at the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament when they lock horns against third ranked St Lucia Zouks at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Saturday from 10 am.
TKR (16 points) have won all eight matches contested and are intent on maintaining their winning momentum in the final two games of the preliminary round stage. St Lucia Zouks (10 points), however, have won five of their eight played and will be hoping to put a dent in TKR’s total dominance of the tourney thus far.
The Kieron Pollard-captained unit continues to display high levels of consistency with the ball and bat although there are presently no TKR players among the current CPL top-five individual bowlers and batsmen.
Pollard leads the tournament with the most sixes (17) while TKR’s Colin Munro has smashed the most fours (26) thus far. The highest run-getter (Shimron Hetmyer 267), highest wicket taker (Imran Tahir 15), highest individual score (Nicholas Pooran 100 not out) and best economy (Kevin Sinclair) are all currently held by Guyana Amazon Warriors players.
Pollard’s captaincy partnered with all-round performances from the likes of Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Khary Pierre, Akeal Hosein (all of TT), Munro, Tim Seifert (both of New Zealand) and Fawad Ahmed (Australia) have built the international mix of players into clear favourites for the coveted 2020 crown.
On the other hand, St Lucia Zouks will be hoping to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss to Guyana Amazon Warriors. In their first meeting with TT franchise, TKR won by a six-wicket margin in a rain-affected clash.
Darren Sammy’s team have showed glimmers of brilliance throughout the competition and are expected to pose a formidable threat to TKR’s flawless run. They face Jamaica Tallawahs in their final round robin match on Sunday (2.15 pm) while TKR also conclude their opening phase against the eliminated St Kitts/Nevis Patriots in the earlier match from 10 am.
Najibullah Zadran, Roston Chase and Andre Fletcher have had fair performances throughout but would need to amplify their batting consistency to withstand TKR’s spin attack featuring Narine, Pierre, Hosein, Ahmed, Pravin Tambe and Sikandar Raza.
A win for St Lucia Zouks will see them tied at second spot on 12 points with Guyana Amazon Warriors while fourth positioned Jamaica Tallawahs trail on eight points.
TKR (2015, 2017 and 2018) are three-time winners of the CPL while the Zouks are yet to make an appearance in the final since inception of the competition in 2013.
Pollard and Narine are expected to return for Saturday’s match since the pair opted to sit out their last duel against St Kitts/Nevis Patriots, on Wednesday, which they went on to win by a convincing 59 runs.
Pacer Ali Khan is also uncertain to make his return to the starting 11, having missed the past couple games due to a minor hamstring injury.
In the second match on Saturday, Jamaica Tallawahs take on eliminated 2019 champions Barbados Tridents from 2.15 pm and close off their first round campaign against the Zouks on Sunday.
Both semi-final matches take place at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Tuesday while the trophy match will be staged at the same venue on Thursday.