TRINBAGO Knight Riders (TKR) captain Kieron Pollard is pleased with the depth of his squad as they face St Lucia Kings (formerly Zouks), in a repeat of the 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final, on Tuesday, in the first of a 2021 CPL semi-final double-header at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts.
This match will bowl off at 10 am and will be followed by the other semi, between hosts St Kitts/Nevis Patriots and Guyana Amazon Warriors. The final is carded for Wednesday, at Warner Park, from 10 am.
TKR finished the group stage with 12 points, the same as the Amazon Warriors, but with a superior net run-rate.
During Monday’s Zoom media conference, Pollard said, “I am good. I’ve been able to play in all the games so far.
“Our team is full of depth, so we didn’t have the possibility to push to that sort of limit, in certain aspects, because of guys standing up on occasions.”
TKR defeated the Patriots by five wickets in Sunday’s final preliminary round game.
“Being able to finish at the top of the table, in any tournament, in the preliminary stages, I think it’s a good achievement,” said Pollard, who is also the West Indies’ T20 and One Day International captain.
“Halfway through the tournament, we spoke about what we needed to improve because we were in fifth position, and we just tried to continue to improve as a team. All that becomes irrelevant now, when we have the semifinal to play.”
Pollard acknowledged, “We needed to win (on Sunday). We’re not too sure about the weather. Just in case anything is to mysteriously happen, being in that top spot gives us an opportunity to be in the final.”
According to the tournament’s rules, if the TKR-Kings’ match on Tuesday ends in a no-result, then the TKR will advance to the title-match based on their placing (first) in the group stage.
About the Kings, Pollard said, “We are wary of each opposition. It doesn’t matter which one we come up against. We split the two games (in the group stage) one apiece.
“It boils down to who plays the better cricket on the day. In the semifinal stage, that’s where the true mettle of individuals really show.”
Concerning the time of Tuesday’s match, Pollard said, “You can control only what you can control. We would have preferred a lot of different things during this tournament but we can’t do anything about it.”
Faf Du Plessis, captain of the Kings team, missed Sunday’s eight-wicket defeat to cellar-placed Barbados Royals due to a groin injury.
On Monday, the ex-South Africa captain said, “It’s a tough one. I (had) an appointment with the physio (on Monday). I’ll be trying everything that I can to be ready for (Tuesday’s) match.”
Asked how he would get the best of his team at this phase of the tournament, Du Plessis replied, “The first objective of any tournament is to get to the knockout stage. The other goal, you’ve got one game at a time, the semi-final and the final.
“In terms of what kind of cricket you’ve played, it means nothing. It’s a whole new tournament. There is not much between the teams. I’m trying to get the best out of everyone. We don’t rely on one guy to carry us through the tournament. Every guy just needs to perform his role and, if we can do that as a team, we play our best cricket.”
TRINBAGO KNIGHT RIDERS: Kieron Pollard (captain), Ali Khan, Darren Bravo, Akeal Hosein, Leonardo Julien, Colin Munro, Sunil Narine, Anderson Phillip, Khary Pierre, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Jayden Seales, Tim Seifert, Lendl Simmons, Isuru Udana, Tion Webster.
ST LUCIA KINGS: Faf Du Plessis (captain), Kadeem Alleyne, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Keron Cottoy, Tim David, Mark Deyal, Andre Fletcher, Javelle Glen, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy, Samit Patel, Keemo Paul, Jeavor Royal, Wahab Riaz, Kesrick Williams.