Who Will Be CPL T20 Champs?

Image: (L-R) St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots opening batsman Evin Lewis; Trinbago Knight Riders mystery bowler Sunil Narine. (PHOTO: CPL)
Image: (L-R) St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots opening batsman Evin Lewis; Trinbago Knight Riders mystery bowler Sunil Narine. (PHOTO: CPL)
(L-R) St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots opening batsman Evin Lewis; Trinbago Knight Riders mystery bowler Sunil Narine. (PHOTO: CPL)

TRINBAGO Knight Riders beat Guyana Amazon Warriors in the second qualifier to set up a riveting final encounter against the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots. The final match of the CPL 2017 is scheduled to be played this evening from 9:00.

The last five matches of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League 2017 have seen the toss-winning team elect to field first. Also, the previous two matches played at the Brian Lara Stadium have been won by the side batting second. So the team that wins the toss in this match is likely to have a bowl first.

St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots
The team is free from all injury concerns at the moment and the selectors are likely to retain the same lineup that beat Trinbago Knight Riders in the first qualifier a few days ago.

The opening pair of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis holds the key for the Patriots when it comes to batting. Gayle has hit four fifties this CPL and two of those have come against the Knight Riders. Lewis has also been very consistent with five good scores in his last seven knocks. Sheldon Cottrell is one bowler in this attack that Trinbago will be wary of as he took three wickets against them in the first qualifier. Mohammad Nabi has been economical throughout the season and batsmen could find it difficult to score off him.

St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots were impressive with the ball in their previous two matches, first restricting Barbados Tridents to 128 and then Trinbago Knight Riders to 111. They have won three and lost two of their last five encounters and will be going into the final off the back of two consecutive victories.

The predicted XI: Chris Gayle (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Ben Hilfenhaus, Devon Thomas (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nabi, Carlos Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Evin Lewis, Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King and TabraizShamsi.

Trinbago Knight Riders
The team has replaced legspinnerShadab Khan with fellow Pakistani countryman Yasir Shah. Shadab is set to return home to play for his national side against a World XI team in three T20 internationals.

Colin Munro struck an unbeaten fifty to take the Knight Riders home in the run-chase against Guyana Amazon Warriors in the second qualifier. He has been the team’s biggest hope with the bat in this year’s CPL and he will be expected to fire in this all-important final. Dwayne Bravo has shone with the ball for the Knight Riders, picking up 16 wickets from 12 matches. The seamer claimed a four against the Patriots in the first qualifier at this ground and he stands a good chance of troubling them again on the same surface.

After a couple of poor batting performances that cost them the games against Barbados Tridents (final league-stage match) and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (Qualifier 1), Trinbago Knight Riders put up an improved show with the bat to edge past Guyana Amazon Warriors in Qualifier 2. The team has three wins and two losses from its last five fixtures.

Trinbago Predicted XI: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Sunil Narine, Hamza Tariq, Colin Munro, Darren Bravo, DeneshRamdin (wicketkeeper), Daniel Christian, Yasir Shah, Javon Searles, Kevon Cooper and Ronsford Beaton.

Meanwhile, this has been the best performance by St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a Caribbean Premier League season. A side that ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard in its first two seasons had its squad overhauled and will now be making its first appearance in the finals of the CPL this year. With six wins, three defeats and one wash-out, the Patriots finished the league round as the second placed team on the points table before making a direct entry into the final by getting the better of Trinbago Knight Riders in the first qualifier.

Trinbago Knight Riders have been the most consistent of all the teams in this year’s Caribbean Premier League. They won eight out of their ten league matches to finish at the pole position in the standings before the start of the playoffs. After suffering a 38-run defeat at the hands of St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the first qualifier, the Knight Riders bounced back to beat Guyana Amazon Warriors by six wickets in the second qualifier.

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