After 33 matches, it will come down to the final of the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) – between Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) and Barbados Tridents (BT) – to determine the champion. The final will be played at the Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad, which has hosted just one match in the tournament – the Qualifier 2 between Trinbago Knight Riders and Barbados Tridents on Thursday.
GAW are unbeaten in this year’s tournament and have barely even come close to losing a game. BT, on the other hand, did not make a bright start to the tournament, but some good performances from the likes of Chris Green and Shakib Al Hasan late on propelled them to second place during the league stage and as a result got another chance to make it to the final, despite losing Qualifier 1 against the Warriors.
The Warriors and Tridents have come face-to-face on three occasions already in the 2019 CPL with the former emerging victorious each time. The Shoaib Malik-led team do not seem to be in a mood to let their guard down as they target their 12th straight win. In fact, the Warriors have won four of the previous five meetings against the Tridents.
The weather is expected to be bright and sunny, and there is absolutely no chance of rain and we should get a full game.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
In the only match at the ground this season, out of the 15 wickets to fall, pace accounted for nine of them while spinners picked up the remaining six. While pacers were on the expensive side (econ 8.9), compared to spinners (econ 6.6), the former picked up a wicket every 13.7 deliveries while spinners got one every 19 balls. Even historically, spinners have always been economical, while both skill sets are toe-to-toe when it comes to bowling strike-rates.
Among the two teams, Barbados seem to be vulnerable against spin as their batsmen score at a run-rate of 6.9, which is the second lowest after St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (6.8). It is perhaps the case as BT played most of their home matches at Bridgetown, which has been the best ground for spinners this season. When it comes to facing pacers, there is barely anything to differentiate between the two sides. However, it will be spin that will play a key role in this game and it would be a wise idea to stock your team up with slower bowlers.
Picking the experienced Imran Tahir as captain will be a wise choice. Barring one match, the leg-spinner has picked up two wickets every time and considering he has more experience playing in big finals, he will be an ideal candidate for captaincy. He has picked up 15 wickets in the tournament at a miserly economy rate of 5.58 and has been striking every 12.4 deliveries.
The leading wicket-taker this season with 21 scalps is leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and he will be pivotal in determining Tridents’ fate in the final. He has surely been the find of the tournament and has never disappointed with his performance in any match - scalping at least two wickets every game. He has the best bowling strike-rate in the tournament among those who have picked up at least a wicket, which is a phenomenal achievement.
Chris Green has been used mainly during the Powerplays and has done an excellent job for the Warriors. He has been consistent with his performances and is the most economical bowler in the first six overs after Sunil Narine, among bowlers who have bowled at least 10 overs in the first phase.
Brandon King scored an unbeaten 132 in Qualifier 2 against the same opponents and he will be itching to have a go at them in the final once again. Following that knock, he is now the leading run-getter in the tournament. Keeping him quiet at the top is going to be a huge task for the Tridents and if they can pull it off, they could well be on their way to restricting the Warriors to a modest total.
Suggested FanFight team
Johnson Charles, Alex Hales, Shai Hope (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Shoaib Malik, Shakib Al Hasan, Hayden Walsh (vc), Raymon Reifer, Harry Gurney, Imran Tahir (c).