Defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders will take on St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the tournament opener on September 4. The Dwayne Bravo-led side has won the competition on three occasions – (2015, 2017 and 2018). Former Kiwi batsman Brendon McCullum won’t feature as a player in the upcoming tournament as he has been named the head coach of the CPL side and assistant coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders – both owned by Red Chillies Entertainment.
The side boasts of big names like Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Colin Munro to name a few. Munro had a stellar season last year – amassing 567 runs at an average of 51.54. The southpaw hit six fifties in 13 games. The skipper’s younger half brother- Darren had a memorable last season as well. The stylish batter hit 353 runs at an average close to the 40s and was one of the three batters from the Knight Riders’ side to feature in the list of top five run-getters. The team will certainly miss the service of Fawad Ahmed, who has been roped in by St. Lucia Zouks. Fawad, the Australian spinner of Pakistan-origin, was the highest wicket-taker with 22 scalps last season.
Players to watch out for:
Kieron Pollard: The 32-year-old all-rounder is still a ‘gun player’ in the T20 format. He hit a fifty and a hard-fought 49 against India in the recently concluded T20I series. With the ball, the Trinidad-born cricketer hasn’t proved to be too effective but with experience by his side, the flamboyant cricketer can turn out to be a key player in the set-up.
James Neesham: Also known as Jimmy Neesham, the New Zealand all-rounder’s brilliance isn’t confined to social media. He chips in with the 20s and 30s and gets you a breakthrough out of nowhere. He performed reasonably well in the Global T20s and hit a game-changing 97 against Pakistan in the World Cup. The 28-year-old can set the stage on fire for the Knight Riders.
History in the CPL:
Colin Munro is the highest run-getter for the franchise with 1315 runs at an average of 42.41 in 37 outings. DJ Bravo is the leading wicket-taker for the franchise with 97 wickets in 69 games at an impressive average of 21.52.
The side finished 4th in the inaugural edition and did one better in the next season. But it was the 2015 season that saw the Knight Riders earn the bragging rights as Jacques Kallis made 304 runs, helping the side lift the trophy. 2016 saw them finish third before Brendon McCullum-powered TKT to two successive wins in 2017 and the following season.
Trinbago Knight Riders: Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Colin Munro, James Neesham, Tion Webster, Mark Deyal, Javon Searles, Akeal Hosein, Denesh Ramdin, Aamir Jangoo, Sunil Narine, Mohammad Hasnain, Khary Pierre, Sekkuge Prasanna, Anderson Phillip, Ali Khan.
Pitch Condition: The Queen’s Park Oval is home to the Knight Riders. The pitch usually favors the batters and it wears a dry look. It also offers turn to the spinners and as we have seen in the past, spin did come to the fore.