With a nil – 5 record on their home soil, the Barbados Tridents started this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a bang, but lost momentum before the half-way mark, and never quite regained their stride.
They still sit at the bottom of the table, and have had dashed their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, while the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots secured their spot in the playoffs with a 7-wicket victory over the Jamaica Tallawahs.
Tridents will now need to play for pride when they take on the Patriots in their penultimate match of the prelims at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts from 18:00h.
Martin Guptill will need to step-up his game, as it has been heart-breaking to watch the burly New Zealand batsman produce below-par averages in back-to-back seasons of the CPL.
Thus far, he has produced a total of five single-digit scores in the last seven games, with a batting average of 16.57.
Hashim Amla, who was one of the big signings, looked good in the previous game against the Stars with 35 before being run out, but has performed poorly this season, as he, too, has fallen short of expectations, averaging 13.80.
For a seasoned player like Dwayne Smith, his season would have been expected to go two ways; but, sadly, it has gone the wrong way, with him scoring only one 50 and averaging 21.14 for the Tridents.
To make matters worse, an abdominal strain has prematurely ended the classy right-handed batsman Steve Smith’s campaign, leaving a big hole in the Tridents’ middle order.
Shai Hope has impressed with the bat, averaging 37.28 for most of the tournament; and he is expected to impress in the Tridents’ last two games.
However, one aspect that hasn’t been a letdown for the Tridents in this year’s CPL is the Pakistani pace duo of Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz.
In the tournament so far, it has been a joy to watch Irfan bowl — the towering pacer demonstrating what is the true meaning of pace bowling by exploiting plenty of pace and bounce out of these Caribbean wickets. He now has 8 wickets to his name, and the best bowling figures in the world: 2-1.
Barbados must win their remaining two games if they want to avoid finishing last at the end of this season.
At this stage of the tournament, the Patriots will be frantically trying to establish the best possible XI to try and take them to the title in the CPL 2018 tournament. With inclusion of the experienced South African domestic cricketer Rassie van der Dussen, the Patriots have finally been allowed to part ways with Tom Cooper, who has had a horrendous season with the bat, averaging an even 9.
With the Patriots securing their spot in the playoffs, there is no doubt that Gayle and van der Dussen will play major roles in their play-off campaign.
With Elvin Lewis and Anton Devcich having their own troubles with the willow, it is impossible to deny the amount of depth the Patriots possess in their line-up. With Gayle, Van Der Dussen and Lewis at the top of the order; followed by a variety of all-rounders such as Mahmudullah, Ben Cutting, Devcich and Carlos Braithwaite, and attacking wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Thomas, Patriots don’t have a lot to do with the ball, since they hold a major advantage over the opposition.
Though Patriots haven’t dropped off in their bowling, they can always rely on the experience of Australian all-rounder Cutting, who has been a fantastic pace option, bagging 10 wickets in the tournament; and Braithwaite, who hasn’t been required to do much with the bat, but has chipped in with the ball, like Cutting.
The sturdy Sheldon Cottrell will continue to lead the Patriots’ bowling attack ahead of the playoffs, as he has claimed 9 wickets and still looms as a major threat with the new ball.