History will either be created or repeated this season in the Hero Caribbean Premier League final, as first-time finalists St.Lucia Zouks take on the most successful franchise- the Trinbago Knight Riders. Both these teams got comprehensive wins in the semis, and would be optimistic about their chances in this all important finale of CPL 2020.
“I am proud of my boys. We want to win the tournament. TKR have been the team to beat. I’ve said it in the dressing room, if we have to win the final, we have to go through TKR. On Thursday, we gotta come out with the same attitude,” said Zouks skipper Daren Sammy after the semis, rousing his side to put in a shift yet again and beat the so far invincible Trinbago Knight Riders.
Trinbago Knight Riders
The Trinbago Knight Riders have been the most consistent team in the competition so far, winning all ten of their group games, and getting a comprehensive win in the semis as well. They beat the Zouks twice in the group stages as well, and have a significantly better head-to-head record. Nevertheless, the pressure of a final brings with itself many new challenges, and on the day both teams would be equally confident of putting on a good show and getting their name on the trophy.
Watch out for:
Mark Deyal was the man of the match in the second semi-final of the CPL. He looked sharp with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 19 which included three fours and a spectacular flat six. Deyal was also the pick of the bowlers in that game, ending with figures of 2/2 and knocking over the top scorer for the Guyana Amazon Warriors, Chandrapaul Hemraj. The youngster has also been a livewire on the field, and is arguably the best fielder in the Zouks roster. With his all-round contributions and confident performances, Deyal would hope for the good run to continue in the final.
Scott Kuggeleijn is the joint-top wicket-taker of the competition for CPL 2020 alongside Mujeeb ur Rahman, and has a golden opportunity to claim pole position for himself with the Afghani spinner already eliminated. The fast bowler has inadvertently given his franchise a breakthrough in the powerplay, and continued that trend in the semis as well, dismissing Brandon King and Shimron Hetmyer in the powerplay. Despite bowling mainly in the powerplay and the death, the Kiwi bowler has a healthy economy rate of just over seven, and packs a punch for opposition batsmen with multiple variations and stock deliveries.
Seasoned players Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo will be the main threat for the Zouks. The latter in particular has been a nuisance for the Zouks in the group games, picking four wickets while maintaining an economy rate below six. His brother Darren Bravo also poses a threat, as the southpaw was the top scorer when the top sides met earlier in the competition. Another factor that could go in favour of the Trinbago Knight Riders is their spin battery of Akeal Hosein, Khary Pierre and Sunil Narine. If they can get a good start to the game, it could be an advantage to TKR.
Probable XI: Andre Fletcher, Rakheem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Roston Chase, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Javelle Glenn, Daren Sammy (c), Scott Kuggelejin, Kesrick Williams, Zahir Khan.
NOTE:The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.