The opening match of the 2018 Caribbean Premier League season sees the defending CPL champions begin their title defence when the Trinbago Knight Riders host the St Lucia Stars at the Queens Park Oval in Trinidad.
Trinbago remain one of the best teams in the competition and will be expected to still be around when the tournament concludes come the end of the campaign. St Lucia have underachieved massively and will be out to show their worth.
Trinbago Knight Riders
Historically Trinbago, or the Red Steel as they were previously known, have been one of the stronger T20 sides in the Caribbean. Back in the days when the tournament was a normal event with First-class players playing for their T20 side they had a heck of a line up but they are not terribly weaker as a franchise.
There is plenty of power in the batting line up which is boosted by the likes of Chris Lynn turning out for them and they have the spin covered with Sunil Narine expected to have a big season. The question mark will be whether their middle order can take normal totals and blow them up to something substantial but it would be no surprise if that happens.
St Lucia Stars
The St Lucia Stars went winless in the competition last season so this is a massive campaign for them. They have recruited well it must be said but you can have all the players you like, you need a mindset and an intensity on the field and that is what they have been lacking. That is a mystery when you think Darren Sammy is such a good captain.
The Stars have gone out and recruited the likes of David Warner and Kieron Pollard for this season and when you go and get star names like them you need a delivery from the season. When you look at this Stars side they look powerful with the bat and they have plenty of seam options. The big question is whether they can find a spinner or two to contain the opposition and pick up wickets.
Chris Lynn is expected to make his debut for the defending champions. He may bat three with Colin Munro and Brendon McCullum opening the batting. Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine are standout home players.
David Warner is the star attraction for the St Lucia Stars and he is expected to debut for them in this match. All eyes will be on Kieron Pollard, Andre Fletcher, Darren Sammy and Lendl Simmons from a home point of view.
I’m going to wait and see a number of these sides in action before I get too involved in the matches given the amount of changes in personnel there have been since last season so I won’t get involved in the match betting here but there is one bet I will take in this opening match.
That is the performance of Dwayne Bravo. You know that Bravo is going to be deeply involved in the match. He’ll bowl his four overs and he’ll come in and slog a few in the middle order. He’ll also field in the key positions the longer the match goes on so there isn’t going to be too often in the contest that Bravo won’t be in the thick end of it. He can cover 41.5pts with both the bat and the ball but a combined average day with both should see him over this line too so it’s the overs for me.
WON – Back Dwayne Bravo’s Performance – Over 41.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365