Martin Guptill: TKR's best is yet to come

Trinbago Knight Riders' Martin Guptill. - Trinbago Knight Riders
Trinbago Knight Riders' Martin Guptill. - Trinbago Knight Riders

TRINBAGO Knight Riders (TKR) opener Martin Guptill believes the TT franchise can play at an even higher level in the playoffs of the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The playoffs bowl off at the Providence Stadium in East Bank Demerara, Guyana on Tuesday.

TKR finished the preliminary phase of the tournament in second position, behind Guyana Amazon Warriors.

The eliminator will bowl off at 7 pm on Tuesday between Jamaica Tallawahs and St Lucia Kings with the loser being knocked out. On Wednesday, TKR and Guyana Amazon Warriors will lock horns in qualifier one with the winner advancing to Sunday's final.

On Friday, qualifier two will feature the loser of qualifier one and the winner of the eliminator. All the matches begin at 7pm at Providence.

In a media conference on Monday in Guyana, Guptill said, "We are in a pretty good space. I think everybody has had some good game time out in the middle...the guys are playing really good cricket and I think the best is still yet to come, so we are looking forward to getting stuck into it."

Right-handed Guptill has been in form, scoring 262 runs at an average of 32.75 with one century and one half-century. He is the fourth-highest run scorer in the 2023 CPL.

The tournament began on August 16, but Guptill said the team's fitness is up to standard.

He said, "We had a very slow start to the tournament. We had two games in like a ten-day period and then coming through our busy period (in Trinidad) we had five matches in eight days. It put a massive toll on us and when we left Trinidad everybody was pretty tired, but having only one game in the last week everybody is freshened up and ready to go for this next phase of the tournament, which everyone is really excited for."

Guptill said all the players on TKR are available for selection including Dwayne Bravo, who has only played a few matches in the tournament due to an injury.

Bravo has spent most of his CPL career with TKR since the tournament bowled off in 2013. The medium pacer, the leading wicket-taker in the history of T20 cricket with over 600 wickets, played in the first four matches for TKR which included an abandoned match against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

Bravo bowled in two matches for TKR this season, grabbing 2/31 against Kings and 2/43 versus St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

Asked if Bravo is fit, Guptill said, "As far as I am aware, everybody is ready for selection, so I take that as a yes I am sure."

Bravo, 39, has still been an integral part of the team. He has been seen coaching from the boundary's edge, especially guiding the other bowlers like fast bowler Ali Khan.

Amazon Warriors captain Imran Tahir said he is hopeful that if his team qualifies for the final Keemo Paul will be fit after the all-rounder picked up an apparent groin injury against TKR on Saturday. He was in pain as he had to be lifted off the field.

Tahir is anticipating the playoffs. "We are really looking forward to our next game. We have been playing good cricket. We played four games in a row (four matches in five days in Guyana), so we deserve a rest today."


"Martin Guptill: TKR's best is yet to come"

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