WITH the race for the Hero Caribbean Premier League 2018 Playoffs having been decided on, the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) and Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) would both be keen to seal off a berth in the season six final when they clash in Qualifier 1 at the National Stadium, Providence this evening from 18:00hrs.
The Knight Riders ended on top of the CPL Points Table even though they lost their final regular season match, while the Amazon Warriors finished second, by a better Net Run Rate (NRR) over the Jamaica Tallawahs, who also finished on 12 points.
Chris Green and Dwayne Bravo will be leading two of the most efficient teams in the tournament, and the match promises to be quite a contest.
While the winner sails straight into the final slated for September 16, the loser will be playing the winner in Qualifier 2 on September 14 in the semi-final matchup.
A two points difference separated the two teams at the end of the league stage, but the Amazon Warriors seem to hold a slight edge going into the match as they have not only got the better of their rivals the last time the two teams met, but also have the winning momentum going into the match on what promises to be another even-pace track.
Both teams have played 15 matches against each other in the Caribbean Premier League with the Knight Riders winning nine of those and the Warriors six.
While, the Amazon Warriors halted the Knight Riders six-game winning streak with a comprehensive six-wicket drubbing of TKR on Sunday evening, Green told media operatives yesterday at a pre-match press conference at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, that, while the momentum is there, the Knight Riders have clearly demonstrated the kind of form they are pursuing during the league stage of the tournament.
“The Knight Riders have been a `form team’ all competition and they played some really good cricket. We take a lot of confidence from Sunday night’s win, but we know going into tomorrow’s (tonight) clash will be tough. TKR would make some changes for this game, but we have our home support as well, so it will definitely be at a good challenge,” the Australian said.
The Amazon Warriors have managed to scrounge together some explosive individual performances to get to this stage in the tournament.
Shimron Hetmyer has an impressive strike-rate of over 150 and is amongst the season’s top five batsmen with 386 runs. Jason Mohammad, Cameron Delport and Sherfane Rutherford have been the other key contributors that have given the Warriors a more intimidating outlook over the past couple of days, and the team will need them to bring that form into this match.
The Warriors bowling unit has been impressive, at least for the past two games and much will again be on Imran Tahir. The South African leg-spinner has taken 15 wickets so far.
On the other hand, the likes of Colin Munroe, Brendon McCullum, the Bravo bothers and even Sunil Narine, could be the intimidation factor, and can make any bowling attack look abysmal so it’s vital that the Amazon Warriors have a healthy number of contributions in this department, two or three bowlers aren’t going to get the job done this evening.
The bowling isn’t a problem for the Knight Riders as they have numerous avenues of taking wickets.
Fawad Ahmed and Ali Khan are among the highest wicket-takers this CPL. Both have taken 17 and 14 wickets each and will once again pose the biggest threat to the Warriors. Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine are also expected to make a major impact with the ball in this match as well.
Meanwhile, Bravo pointed out during the press briefing that both teams possess a number of match winners, which makes the clash even more interesting.
The Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will square off on tomorrow in the second playoff match. Both captains, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, were also a part of the press briefing yesterday.