Pre-tournament favourite Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) will take on Barbados Royals (BR) to open the St Lucia leg in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) today.
The teams will meet at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, from 10 am, in match eight on the 10th anniversary of the T20 competition.
The Knight Riders will be reinforced by the arrival of Colin Munro, from the Hundred, for the second leg of the CPL in St Lucia. He will be among the batters to watch along with explosive skipper Kieron Pollard.
Among the bowlers will be Akeal Hosein, once healthy will be looked to, to make an impact against the Barbados franchise as he did in TKR’s first win. He emerged “Player of the Match” for his brilliant boundary-less bowling spell which saw the Knight Riders kick off their campaign with a victory over last year’s finalists, St Lucia Kings (SLK), by three wickets on Thursday.
TKR won the toss and chose to field, Hosein, taking frequent wickets to restrict Kings to 143/9, despite some big hitting from batter Roshon Primus towards the end of the innings.
The Knight Riders got off to a tough start themselves, losing two early wickets before a commanding innings from Tion Webster (58) helped to guide them to victory with four balls to spare.
After ending his shift with the ball, Hosein, though, suffered an injury scare when he dived to his right from mid-off and landed awkwardly. Hosein immediately hobbled off the field and sat out of Knight Riders’ next game against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SKNP), which due to rain, ended in a no result without a ball being bowled. According to team captain Pollard, Hosein had twinged his leg and was rested to recover.
The Knight Riders sit in third place with three points after the first leg of the CPL at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis last week into the weekend.
Meanwhile, David Miller’s new-look Royals have made a dream start, notching up two wins in as many matches.
West Indies opener Kyle Mayers has been the star for Royals so far. In their first match of the season, against Patriots, he slammed 73 off 46 balls as Royals chased down 150 t win by seven wickets. Their South African import Corbin Bosch also contributed handsomely to the opening victory by taking five catches - a CPL record.
Against St Lucia Kings, Mayers sparkled with both bat and ball. After hitting 36 off 23 balls that helped Royals to 162 for 7, he ripped through the opposition’s top order with four wickets in two overs. Mayers, who had started his career as a new-ball bowler before an ankle injury forced him to remodel himself into a batting allrounder, produced the inswing of old, yorking Roston Chase and Johnson Charles. Mayers also got rid of Mark Deyal and Primus, ensuring there would be no way back for Kings, despite Faf du Plessis’ unbeaten 47 off 20 balls in a rain-hit game.
A win today by either TKR or Royals, will move them to the top of the six-team table ahead of the Jamaica Tallawahs (JT), who have set the early pace in the CPL.
Rovman Powell’s Tallawahs have dashed out of the blocks, also notching up two wins in as many games, for four points same as Royals but the Jamaican franchise has a better net run rate (NRR) of 1.338 compared to Barbados’ 1.197.
In the season opener, Brandon King, who had previously represented Guyana Amazon Warriors, marked his return to his home franchise - Tallawahs - with a fiery 57-ball 89 that set up a 47-run victory against the defending champions Patriots. In Tallawahs’ second match, they beat Amazon Warriors by four wickets.
In today’s late match, the unbeaten Tallawahs will take on the winless Kings from 7 pm.