By Brandon Corlette
Barbados Tridents and Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) have contested in some cracking matches this season, but in today’s Qualifier 2, the stakes will be higher.
It will be more than who is the better captain when the first ball bowls off from 19:00h on Thursday at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad.
The tables have turned; Tridents lost on both outings against TKR in CPL 2018, but in 2019, TKR have suffered defeats against the Tridents twice this season. In the most recent match, TKR have bounced back with a collective win in the Eliminator while Tridents were battered by the bat of Brandon King, who smashed the highest individual score in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history in Qualifier 1.
In Tridents’ first match against TKR this season, where the teams met at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Tridents won by 63 runs. The return fixture saw Tridents defeating TKR by seven wickets. In the 63-run win for Tridents, they scored 192-5 and bundled out TKR for 129 thanks to the Hayden Walsh Jr five-wicket haul and JP Duminy’s fastest CPL fifty.
Playing in their return fixture this season, TKR still found it difficult to defeat Tridents. A collective Tridents bowling effort restricted TKR to 134-8 and Johnson Charles, who has the most runs for Tridents, bossed the chase with a match-winning half-century. In the last five matches, the head-to-head encounters stand 3-2 in favour of Tridents.
Players to watch out for
Without a doubt, the Tridents leg-spinner Walsh will be a key player. He has already rocked the TKR batting line-up this season with his career best 5-19. Since then Walsh has been consistent, with 19 wickets to his name. Lendl Simmons has been enjoying his return. Despite him not being picked up in the CPL draft, he still showed his value with 429 runs under his belt this season.
Two of the biggest overseas purchases on the respective teams are Alex Hales and Colin Munro. Both are known to step up in big matches. Hales has only 159 runs in 10 innings and with a do-or-die match on the line, the Tridents marquee player will be aiming to prove his worth in the Caribbean. Shakib Al Hassan, arguably one of the best all-rounders to have graced the game will also be a key player for Tridents, along with Englishman Harry Gurney. TKR are no doubt a star-studded team; the spin King, Sunil Narine, who returned from injury with a player-of-the-match performance, will pose a threat to Tridents. In addition to Simmons, Kieron Pollard has been equally impressive with bat in hand. The new West Indies white-ball Captain has 326 runs alongside his name. The Kiwi, Jimmy Neesham has 11 wickets for TKR, the most, but Khary Pierre has been the craftsman in the bowling line-up. Since his player-of-the-match performance in the 2018 CPL final, the left-arm spinner, who has eight wickets, has never looked back. Big overseas recruit Chris Jordan will be playing his first match against some of his home boys from the land of flying fishes.
The Barbados-born Englishman has shown glimpses of brilliance in his brief four matches with five wickets to his name. On a good day, Jordan may display the art of death bowling.
What they said
Captain Jason Holder after the first Qualifier against Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) stated that TKR has played some good cricket in the tournament and the second Qualifier should be a good game.
Player of the match for TKR in their Eliminator, Narine stated that he was going through a lot of pain.
Having defeated these two teams on numerous occasions this season, GAW will be confident of meeting any opponent. TKR will bank heavily on their 12th man (crowd support) to pull off their first win against Tridents this season.