The third and final match on a massively busy day at the Caribbean Premier League on Saturday sees the top two in the CPL 2021 table heading into the day meeting when the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots take on the defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders.
The Patriots have been top of this competition for a while but were knocked off of it on Thursday by the Knight Riders. Whoever wins this will have their top four spot confirmed so this is a big match for both teams.
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
For the first half of the season the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots looked like they were going to be unstoppable. They won their opening five matches and looked untouchable but now they have lost their last three matches and in truth in those matches they have looked a very ordinary side indeed. The loss of Dwayne Bravo certainly hasn’t helped their cause. He balances any team with his all-round skills let alone his impact as captain, but you would still have expected better from them given what is left.
The Patriots’ batting looked on fire at the beginning of the competition but all of a sudden it has stopped working. Their five wins would ordinarily have been enough to get them into the semi-finals but their run rate has taken such a battering in the three defeats that they will need a sixth win if they are going to get through. They are lucky to be on five wins as they stole a game from the Barbados Royals in the middle of their season.
Trinbago Knight Riders
The fortunes have been the other way around for the Trinbago Knight Riders this term. They started sluggishly and a bit inconsistently but have caught fire when it counts and now very much look like the team to beat in this competition. Whether their slow start was down to adjusting without their coach Brendon McCullum I’m not sure but whatever it is they are on a roll now and you sense they are going to be tough to stop from here on in.
It was just their batting that needed to come to the boil really. In the main their bowlers have been getting the job done all season with Ravi Rampaul comfortably clear in the leading wicket taker charts. Slowly but surely they have got up to speed with the bat and the top order is now laying the foundations for the brutal hitters later in the innings to come along and do their job. We saw last season just what a fearsome combination that can be.
The matches at night tend to be high scoring so with Chris Gayle not firing at the minute the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots could really do with seeing the best of Evin Lewis. If he can get off to a flyer and get Pollard to change his strategy it opens the game up for the ‘hosts’.
You can get after the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at the top of their bowling innings so Sunil Narine could be a big player for the Trinbago Knight Riders. He’ll be used to keep Chris Gayle quiet with the ball but if he can explode into life with the bat it sets the game up for the defending champions.
The form of these two sides could scarcely be any different coming into this match and I’m not sure the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots can do in such a short space of time to turn that around. We see it regularly in these franchise tournaments that teams gain confidence and go on huge winning runs the same as when they lose some confidence they get in a run of defeats which is hard to come out of. Both these teams appear to be playing out those trends, the Trinbago Knight Riders the winning one and the Patriots the losing one.
The big issue for the Patriots here is that by and large they rely on their batting to get the job done. Their bowlers have really only gone very well when there has been scoreboard pressure involved and not only has their batting suddenly stopped functioning, it goes up against a Knight Riders bowling attack which can lay claims for being the best in the competition. Trinbago only ever needed to warm up with the bat to be a competitive force in this tournament and that has happened. I expect them to win this.
Back Trinbago Knight Riders to beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Sky Bet