The second half of the Caribbean Premier League double header on Sunday sees the CPL 2023 season played at the Kensington Oval for the final time as the Barbados Royals play host to the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
After the earlier match in the day, these two begin the night bottom of the table and needing something pretty special if they are going to extend their campaign as far as the playoffs. Winning here is an obvious start.
This match sees the culmination of the home leg of the tournament for the Barbados Royals so they could really do with winning it to keep tabs with the other teams in the competition. They will still be relying on those above them to make a big of a mess of the remainder of the campaign but at least they would be in a position to pounce should they win here. They are probably all but out of the reckoning if they don’t come out on top here.
If they are going to win this match then they need more consistency out of their batters. They keep on choosing to bowl when they win the toss and while some of that is down to the fact that they are playing their home games at night where the dew is in play, it must mean that they rate their batting as their strongest suit overall. If that is the case then they need that batting to show up and come to the party in a really big way here.
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
There are still two fifths of the regular season to go after this match but the campaign has been so poor for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots that should they lose this game they would be unable to qualify for the playoffs. Even were they to win it they would need to win their final two matches and hope that a lot of results go their way, but having yet to win in seven outings the first objective is to get that maiden victory on the board.
In order for that to happen they are going to have to find a bowling unit which works for them. They have had five completed matches this term and in four of them they have conceded 180 or more and in the other one a target of 157 was chased down for the loss of two wickets with 21 balls to spare so that would have been another score of over 180 if it was needed. They are putting up perfectly competitive scores with the bat but that is no use with their bowling the way it has been.
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Roelof van der Merwe picked up three wickets in the defeat to the St Lucia Kings on Saturday night but you sense he will be a big player here. He can club it a bit down the order as well which might also come in handy.
Will Smeed made his CPL debut in the rout that the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots suffered to the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Saturday and he’ll be hoping for a much stronger showing here to secure future opportunities. He is a county teammate of van der Merwe which might be significant.
When these two met in St Kitts it was a high scoring clash which the Barbados Royals came out on top in and I’m expecting something similar in terms of high scoring. 197 wasn’t enough for the Patriots on that occasion and while I suspect this might not be quite that high scoring I do think that many of the 24 sixes that were hit in that match will be replicated here, purely because there is nothing in either bowling attack to stop the batters.
Both teams have added batting power since that first meeting and that too would suggest we are in for a high scoring game, even though both got shot out cheaply on Saturday. They were up against much better bowling units than they will face in this one. This is a must win game and we’re also at the stage where their net run rates are terrible so any chance to win quickly will be pounced upon. I think the 15.5 sixes line gets covered here particularly when a fairly low scoring earlier game had 13 sixes with better bowling units on show and no dew like we’ll get here.
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