The first spot in the Caribbean Premier League final will be filled on Wednesday night when the CPL 2023 Qualifier 1 takes place when the top two meet as the Guyana Amazon Warriors take on the Trinbago Knight Riders.
This is the last match of the season which doesn’t carry a knockout element to it. The winners are straight into the final while the losers get a go at the Jamaica Tallawahs for one last chance to book their place in the final. Both teams will be eager to go straight there.
Guyana Amazon Warriors
The Guyana Amazon Warriors rarely have a problem competing in the part of the Caribbean Premier League season that has just concluded. They are regular attendees in the business end of a campaign, but here is usually where their struggles come along. It might be that the lack of jeopardy in this match allowed them to perform something like they have in the group phase of the competition. If it does then the Amazon Warriors are entitled to get very dangerous here.
Nobody competing for the Amazon Warriors will need reminding that they have never won this trophy and there is pressure on them to get that monkey off their back. The fact that they are on home soil throughout this playoff campaign should help them and there is no doubt they have been the best team in the competition to date, but there is a feeling that their bowling could go the distance at a time they could least afford it and that is a concern.
Trinbago Knight Riders
The Trinbago Knight Riders are the opposite to the Guyana Amazon Warriors in that this is generally the time of the season where they are playing their best cricket and they are perfectly comfortable with the do or die nature that the playoffs usually bring. This isn’t one of those matches but they are full of players who have won tournaments all around the world so getting the job done this week will not phase them in any way.
Trinbago have a good balance of a bowling attack which rarely goes around the park completely and a batting unit that can get off to fast starts but which is brutal the deeper you go into it. That is a big thing because those players are adept at clearing the boundaries and if they are chasing a score down in dewy conditions matches can soon get away from the opposition of the Knight Riders. Trinbago did lose to the Amazon Warriors in their last regular season game which might be a concern.
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Saim Ayub has been a revelation for the Guyana Amazon Warriors and if the overseas opening batter has one more decent innings in him and goes deep into the second half of the batting effort, the rest can bat around him to take Guyana to a big score.
Andre Russell hasn’t had the amount of showreel moments that he usually would in a Caribbean Premier League campaign but he has the potential to deliver with the bat and the ball and lead his side through to the final at the first time of asking.
These two sides met over the weekend and there were 13 sixes in a match where Trinbago Knight Riders decided to rest Nicholas Pooran and Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard faced just nine balls in total. That makes me think that a 14.5 sixes line might be on the low side here. We saw a low scoring match on Tuesday night but the pressure of knockout cricket and two excellent attacks with the new ball accounting for much of that, not to mention a pair of teams struggling with their top orders.
These two have delivered a couple of high scoring matches in this tournament so any concern that the bowlers will have the better of the batters can be dampened a little. On the flip side of that we have some brutal hitters of a cricket ball on show here and we saw on Tuesday evening that the square is being used a lot and we are now getting a short boundary to one side. Most of these players don’t need a short boundary so I’m happy to get on over 14.5 sixes in this one.
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