After the completion of 30 league matches, the playoffs of the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) are finally here. The business end of the competition begins with the Eliminator between St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Sunday.
In the league stage, the Patriots finished third with 10 points – winning five matches and losing as many. On the other hand, the Knight Riders won four matches and were involved in a no result, ending fourth with nine points. Interestingly, the latter started the tournament with four wins and haven’t secured a victory since.
The league matches between these two sides this season were closely fought, with Trinbago coming out on top by 11 runs in the first encounter and St Kitts and Nevis triumphing via a Super Over in the return fixture. The second clash, in fact, began Trinbago’s winless run which is at six matches now.
Ground Details and Team Combination
Among all the stadiums used during CPL 2019, the Providence Stadium has been the second best for bowling in important parameters such as average (21.9), strike rate (17.3) and economy rate (7.6). Also, in 10 innings at the ground, 160 has been breached only once this season. Hence, you’ll want to look at picking a good number of bowlers and all-rounders in your side.
As has been the case across most grounds in this season’s CPL, spinners have performed better than pacers in Guyana. Spin has produced a wicket every 17.9 deliveries here while the same number for pace is 18.9. The gap widens further when it comes to bowling average (spin - 19.2, pace - 26.9) and economy rate (spin - 6.4, pace - 8.5). In the last two matches at this ground, 43.3 overs have been bowled by spinners while pace has been used for 31.4 overs which shows that captains are preferring spin over pace.
While Trinbago’s form might have gone down tremendously over the last few weeks, the same can’t be said about their skipper Kieron Pollard. The West Indies limited-overs captain has been in terrific touch during CPL 2019, scoring 300 runs at an average of 60 and a strike rate of 154.6. In his only innings at Providence, which came on Friday, the 32-year-old helped himself to an unbeaten 36. Although listed as a batsman in the game, Pollard can gain you some points with the ball too – having taken six wickets already this season.
Fabian Allen has been one of the key players for St Kitts and Nevis this season, especially with the bat. He has scored 220 runs at an impressive strike rate of 178.2. What’s really impressive is that he has hit a boundary off every 3.8 deliveries he has faced in this year’s tournament. Allen has taken only a couple of wickets with his left-arm spin, but on a pitch that is expected to be helpful to slower bowlers, don’t be surprised if he is able to add to his two scalps.
The top run-getter in the league stage of CPL 2019 was Lendl Simmons and he should be one of the first names on your fantasy team sheet. The veteran batsman has been in fine form at the top of the order and has been batting at a much quicker pace than we are accustomed to seeing. Among all batsmen who have scored at least 300 runs, Simmons has the highest strike rate (161.5). Even his captain Pollard, who is known to be a big-hitting batsman, has a lower strike rate this season.
Mohammed Hafeez has got a few starts but hasn’t been able to kick on and get a big score during this season’s CPL. In big games, experience counts a lot and this is where a player like Hafeez can really make the difference for the Patriots. He has bowled a fair deal during the course of the tournament, picking up five wickets.
There is little chance of rain affecting the match.
Suggested FanFight team
Devon Thomas (wk), Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Colin Munro, Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Mohammad Hafeez, Khary Pierre, Ali Khan, Rayad Emrit.