TKR face Patriots in top-of-table CPL clash

BRIMMING with confidence after a dramatic return to their familiar position atop the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 standings, reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders will have their sights on a fourth successive victory when they face St Kitts/Nevis Patriots at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts twice this weekend.
The first top-of-the-table clash bowls off at 7 pm on Saturday and TKR will need to conserve some energy as they face the same Patriots for the second time 24 hours later, again in the St Kitts’ capital.
TKR enter the match atop the standings with ten points from eight matches, level with the Patriots, but the 2020 champs hold a superior net run rate, 1.037, compared to the Patriots’ -0.619.
Team captain Kieron Pollard, speaking ahead of the match, said the team’s goals have remained consistent.
“(The Patriots) are a good team. They have world-class players in their line-up, experienced and well-balanced (players), but it’s just a matter of us focusing on what we need to do as a team, and once we do that, that’s the main thing.
“We are focused on trying to get two points each from the next two games,” Pollard said.
“We’ll watch the table, see where we’re at and see where we need to continue to improve.
“This is the business end of the tournament so we need to try to nail down all the hard moments.”
The Jamaica Tallawahs, St Lucia Kings and Guyana Amazon Warriors are all on eight points after eight matches, ahead of the Barbados Royals, who won just two of their matches.
Evin Lewis of St Kitts/Nevis Patriots hits a four during the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League match 15 between St Lucia Kings and St Kitts/Nevis Patriots at Warner Park Sporting Complex in Basseterre, St Kitts on September 4. (Photo by CPL T20/Getty Images) – After a slow start to the competition, with one (outright) win in four matches, TKR has enjoyed refreshing all-round performances, not least from Ali Khan, the Pakistan-born American fast bowler, who has been a welcome late addition to the squad, owing to time spent in quarantine.
Khan ran rampant in the win over the Jamaica Tallawahs on Tuesday, taking four wickets for just six runs.
On Thursday, TKR continued their strong run, beating the Barbados Royals for the second time this tournament, doing so by six wickets and 19 balls remaining. TKR restricted the Royals for 93 for nine thanks to a strong team performance, putting aside a Lendl Simmons duck.
Simmons has otherwise been in good form on the bat and on the field, leading with catches. Similarly, left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein has been sharp, contributing with two wickets for 13 runs in two overs and scored an unbeaten 12 runs in the last match against the Patriots, alongside the team’s top scorer Colin Munro, who led with 41 not out, his highest total for the campaign.
Another left-arm spinner, Khary Pierre, took three wickets for 16 runs, while fast bowler Jayden Seales took two wickets for 12 runs. Pollard has been crucial as the team’s second highest scorer for the campaign, with the highest average (42.25 runs) and having played on innings fewer than Munro.
There are no selection issues reported for the TKR. However, the Patriots may be without captain and former TKR all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who is still battling a groin injury. Bravo remains the team’s second highest wicket-taker this year with eight wickets in six innings.
Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, and Fawad Ahmed are all in the squad and are expected to present a challenge to the TKR.
Lewis leads the team’s scorers with 241 runs from eight matches with a high score of 73 and a strike rate of 146.95.
The TKR and Patriots have met in 16 previous matches, with the current champions winning 12 and losing just three.
The post TKR face Patriots in top-of-table CPL clash appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
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