Knight Riders bank on experience to make it five

back icon
safari
25 Aug 2021 | 03:43 PM
authorShubh Aggarwal

Knight Riders bank on experience to make it five

The defending champions' campaign will bank on how they tackle the absence of Dwayne Bravo

After winning the title in 2020, a jubilant Dwayne Bravo provided a quirky reminder of the safety measures in Covid times. He reiterated the need for social distancing by stressing on Trinbago Knight Riders’ four title wins when no one had won more than two. It could seem to be borderline arrogance but it was an accurate assessment of their supremacy in the league. 

The Knight Riders have been far ahead of the pack and it showed in their 2020 campaign where they won all their 12 games to claim the trophy. In the 2021 season, they would aim to distance themselves further with a fifth title. 

Changes made  

There are some significant changes in the Knight Riders’ arsenal this year. Their wrist-spinner Fawad Ahmed and prime all-rounder Dwayne Bravo have moved to St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots. Sikandar Raza is unavailable. They signed Sandeep Lamichhane but he couldn’t make it to the Caribbean islands as well.

In come Isuru Udana, Denesh Ramdin (from Patriots), Yasir Shah and Ravi Rampaul. Rampaul will return to CPL after four seasons and has not played any T20 cricket since 2019.

The Knight Riders will also be without their head coach, Brendon McCullum who opted out of the season due to personal reasons. The assistant coach of the franchise since 2013, Imran Jan, has earned a promotion to the head coach’s role this season. 

Strength

One of the more consistent sides in the CPL history alongside the Guyana Amazon Warriors, experience has always been Knight Riders’ strength. In fact, it is probably this experience that separates the Knight Riders from the Warriors which has helped them cross the finish line while the latter have suffered five defeats in the final.
The experience also lends them adaptability. In 2019, when the Knight Riders finished fourth, they had a troubled time facing spin, averaging only 20.4, the second-lowest in the season. In 2020, in much tougher conditions to counter spin, they improved their average to 42.1. The next best were the St. Lucia Kings far behind at 21.8. That, while maintaining the highest strike-rate against them - 115.8.Bossing the opposition spinners allowed them to go all guns blazing at the death. They had a strike-rate of 214.8 while averaging 42.4 in overs 16 to 20, again, miles ahead of other sides.

Skipper Kieron Pollard has been the common factor in both. Against spinners, he produced 82 runs at a strike-rate of 200, losing his wicket only once. At the death, he averaged 83 while striking at 259.4. He is the prime white-ball batsman in West Indies when judged in concoction of form and experience. While the Knight Riders have a lot of players to look forward to, Pollard will be their rock in the middle-order.

Weakness

Dwayne Bravo is a big miss. You don’t have to go too far back to estimate his value in the side. He skipped the 2019 season and the Knight Riders finished fourth. They were the most expensive bowling side at the death that season, leaking 11.6 runs per over. 

Bravo returned in 2020, playing a pivotal part in turning Knight Riders into the most economical bowling side in the last five overs - 8.2 runs per over. He delivered 15 of these overs, more than double of the next best - Ali Khan with 7.1 overs. His absence leaves the void of a certified death bowler. Isuru Udana will step in those shoes. 

Bravo batted only thrice in the 10 games he played in CPL 2020 but enriched their batting resources. Given that Sikandar Raza is also missing, the Knight Riders’ batting depth takes a hit. They would now have Isuru Udana batting at seven, too high for him, especially in a line-up that is likely to open with Sunil Narine. 

In other possible scenarios, they can play both Tim Seifert and Ramdin but one of them will be batting out of position at seven. Or, they can open with Seifert and pull Narine down to seven. Since he has started to open, in 2017, Narine has averaged only 8.3 at seven. Hence, someone will have to give in for the team’s cause.

The Knight Riders had to replace Sandeep Lamichhane with Yasir Shah as the only wrist-spinner in the squad. Shah has not played any white-ball cricket this year and averaged 40.3 for his 10 wickets in 13 T20s in 2020. Evidently, there are a few gaps in the Knight Riders’ camp that their peers can exploit.  

Squad

Probable First-Choice XI

Most of the Knight Rider’s XI pick itself. A major decision they have to make is whether they want a batting option at seven or an extra bowling option. In case of the former, Pollard will have to step up as the sixth bowling option. 

Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Darren Bravo, Tim Seifert (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Denesh Ramdin/Kharry Pierre, Isuru Udana, Yasir Shah, Jayden Seales, Ali Khan

First Match

Trinbago Knight Riders will kick-start the tournament facing Guyana Amazon Warriors in the lung opener on 26th August. 

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Guyana Amazon Warriors vs Trinbago Knight RidersCaribbean Premier League, 2021Trinbago Knight RidersDwayne BravoKieron PollardRavi RampaulYasir ShahSunil Narine

Related Articles

safari
REPORT
Pollard, Khan power TKR to CPL semis
TKR finished at the top in the league stages and will face Saint Lucia Kings in the first semi-final on Tuesday
userPTI
13 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
The varying fortunes at the CPL
Things seem to have changed in the CPL this year when compared to the occurrences of last season
userShubh Aggarwal
31 Aug 2021
safari
FANTASY
CPL 2021, Match 7 – St. Lucia Kings vs Trinbago Knight Riders: Fantasy Preview
Game seven, it is the Kings, who would take on the 2020 champions Knight Riders in a clash of the titans
usercricket.com staff
28 Aug 2021
safari
FANTASY
CPL 2021, Match 1, Guyana Amazon Warriors vs Trinbago Knight Riders: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the season opener of CPL 2021
usercricket.com staff
25 Aug 2021
safari
FANTASY
Trinbago Knight Riders vs St Lucia Zouks, CPL Match 27: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the 27th match of CPL 2020 between Trinbago and St Lucia in Tarouba
userAnirudh Kasargod
04 Sep 2020
safari
FANTASY
Trinbago Knight Riders vs St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, CPL Match 23: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the 23rd match of CPL 2020 between Trinbago Knight Riders and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Tarouba
userCricket.Com Staff
01 Sep 2020
safari
FANTASY
Barbados Tridents vs Trinbago Knight Riders, CPL Match 17: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the 17th match of CPL 2020 between Barbados and Trinbago in Port of Spain
userAnirudh Kasargod
28 Aug 2020
safari
FANTASY
Trinbago Knight Riders vs Jamaica Tallawahs, CPL Match 6: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the sixth match of CPL 2020 between Trinbago Knight Riders and Jamaica Tallawahs in Tarouba, Trinidad
userCricket.Com Staff
19 Aug 2020
safari
OPINION
Learning from mistakes, the Knight Riders hunt for glory again
Trinbago finished fourth on the points table last season
userShubh Aggarwal
12 Aug 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
St Lucia Zouks vs Trinbago Knight Riders: Fantasy Preview
It's the 18th match of CPL 2019 and here are fantasy tips ahead of the match
userShubh Aggarwal
21 Sep 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved