Trinbago Knight Riders are the most successful team in CPL history. They have made it to the knockouts since the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League and enjoy a win percentage of 58.02 with 47 wins in 81 appearances.
The team was earlier led by Dwayne Bravo under whose leadership they won their maiden CPL title in the 2015 edition and then successive trophies in 2017 and 2018 editions, making them the only franchise in CPL to defend their title.
It was only last season when the franchise roped in all-rounder Kieron Pollard and gave him skipper’s mantle. The team finished third after losing out to tournament runners up St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by a margin of 12 runs in the Qualifiers 2.
Talking about the newly joined players for the upcoming edition of the Caribbean T20 tournament, one could say that Trinbago Knight Riders were very clever in the CPL draft that happened earlier in the month of July. They have picked the right set of cricketers who can get the job done at the center stage.
Kiwi wicket-keeper Tim Seifer will be making his CPL debut. Zimbabwean all-rounder Sikandar Raza has been effective in the opportunities received at the shortest format will aim to make his maiden appearance memorable against the Caribbean giants.
Pacer Jayden Seales had impressed many with his pace variations in the 2019 U-19 World Cup and if he performs to his potential, he can garner significant attention. Fawad Ahmed is well used to the T20 format and could spin the ball in the Knight Riders’ favor.
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With all the new selections and the earlier retained players it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Trinbago based franchise make it to the top three, and subsequently get hold of their 4th CPL title.
On that note, let’s dig deep and explore the four potential reasons which make Trinbago Knight Riders the hot favorites to win CPL 2020.
Explosive batters at the top
Top order seems pretty settled for the Trinbago Knight Riders and fortunately, there shouldn’t be any woes during the tournament.
With Lendl Simmons at the top who is the second-highest run-scorer in CPL history, one can assure themselves for sure-shot fireworks in the powerplay. He has notched 16 fifties and amassed over 2000 runs in the matches contested so far. In CPL 2019, Simmons struck 5 half-centuries and was the top-performer with the bat aggregating 430 runs at a strike rate of 150.34.
Accompanying him would be the dangerous Sunil Narine whose exploits as an opening batsman in T20 cricket have grown with time. He can whip even the quickest of delivery for a six or a four and ensure the top optimum utilization of the first few overs.
In case Colin Munro misses out the tournament due to the Tim Seifert is likely to play at the top order due to travel restrictions, then Tim Seifert is likely to bat at the No 3. An explosive wicket-keeper batsman in the shortest format, Seifert can hit those daunting boundaries and there’s a strong hunch that he would play a key role for Trinbago Knight Riders this season.
Experienced middle order
Even if bowlers do succeed in getting the early breakthroughs they will surely find it difficult to dismiss the rock-solid batting duo of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo. They have played almost 70 matches in CPL and are experienced enough to capitalize the middle overs. Pollard, in particular, can go for monstrous hits at will. He was in a good flow last season wherein he finished at the fifth spot in the leading run scorers list with average and strike rate being 58.19 and 159.36 respectively.
Trinbago’s middle order would get a extra pair of hands with Sikandar Raza. The batting all-rounder is among the top cricketers from the current Zimbabwean cricket team and at the middle order could ease out the pressure from big-man Pollard and Darren Bravo.
Dwayne Bravo’s explosive cameos & death over bowling
The champion all-rounder had to pull out last season owing to a finger injury and will be rearimg to put his experience to use in the forthcoming season. He is the highest wicket taker in CPL history with 97 wickets in 69 T20s.
His yorkers, cutters, and slower deliveries have bamboozled the batsmen time and again. Battingwise, he could render an explosive cameo and in the process smash even the best set of bowlers for a quickfire 10-ball 30 and take his side to a win. The team lacked an X factor last season and with Bravo all fit to play this time, it could be a season that is once again ruled by the Trinbago Knight Riders from the commencement to the finish.
Versatile spin attack
Spin maestro Sunil Narine knows the best as to how the conditions would be at the two venues selected for CPL 2020 at Trinidad and Tobago – Brian Lara Cricket Academy and Queen’s Park Oval.
He enjoys an economy of 5.52 and has picked 72 wickets so far. Although Narine doesn’t have any 4-fors or 5-fors to his name in CPL, he still remains a highly feared bowler by the opposition batsmen, someone who can change the course of the match in the middle overs.
Joining him would be leggie Fawad Ahmed who has been an absolute menace with his leg-breaks and googlies amidst the Caribbean conditions. He had already scalped 32 wickets in 23 appearances and averages a meager 16.28.
If batsmen think they are done with the duo of Narine and Fawad, then they should prepare for Khary Pierre and Akeal Hossian who could come as a surprise package.
Both are slow left armers, with Pierre being more experienced and economical in terms of bowling in the conditions offered at Trinidad and Tobago, considering he has been with the franchise for for years now.
All in all, there’s no over-dependency on Sunil Narine with each spinner capable of drying up the scoring rate and effect quick dismissals.