Tournament to kickstart on August 26
The ninth edition of the Caribbean Premier League is all set to kick off from August 26 and will mark the start of the T20 carnival that awaits us in the next three months. The CPL 2021 will be followed by the second leg of the Indian Premier League 2021 and the T20 World Cup. Much like the previous season, which was held in Trinidad, CPL 2021 will take place at Warner Park in St Kitts entirely due the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The season, which will have 50% spectators allowed in all of 33 matches, will conclude on September 15.
After Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR), two more CPL teams have associated with IPL brands – St Lucia Zouks will now be St Lucia Kings, while Barbados Tridents rebranded as Barbados Royals
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Who are CPL favourites and why?
The defending champions of the Caribbean Premier League, Trinbago Knight Riders are outright favourites to win yet another championship title.
- TKR have one of the strongest squads in the tournament and with their experience of winning big matches, they will fancy winning their fifth CPL title.
- The Knight Riders have a very strong batting unit comprising Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo while also having a bowling attack that can hold its own.
TKR, who went undefeated in their title-winning campaign last year, will be the team to win.
How do the teams stack up?
Formerly known as Tridents, Barbados Royals are shaping up to be an extremely solid squad ahead of the season. Led by Jason Holder, the Royals have some quality local players in Kyle Mayers, Oshane Thomas and Hayden Walsh Jr. Their overseas recruits are perhaps the best lot in the league. The left arm pacer Mohammad Amir and the newest left arm wrist spin sensation Jake Lintott strengthen the bowling attack while they have a decent all-round option in Thisara Perera. The addition of Azam Khan and dynamic Glenn Phillips makes Royals a formidable batting unit.
Guyana Amazon Warriors
The five-time CPL runner-ups will be desperate to break the jinx this year. The side is packed with some of the talented local players such as Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kevin Sinclair. Guyana Amazon Warriors will have the services of Pakistan veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. The impressive young quick from Afghanistan, Naveen-ul-haq will add value to the pace attack while the veteran leggie Imran Tahir will lead the spin department.
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The former two-time CPL winners, Jamaica Tallawahs have a lot of holes in the squad including the lack of quality at the top of the order and in the bowling department, where a lot will depend on Fidel Edwards and Qais Ahmed. One strength of Tallawahs is the presence of three hard-hitting middle order batters in Andre Russell, Rovman Powell and Carlos Brathewaite. Their bowling issues could also be sorted to an extent if Russell is fit and firing.
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
The hosts of the CPL 2021 St Kitts and Nevis Patriots have some big names in West Indies cricket such as Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell and Sherfane Rutherford. Lewis and Allen’s recent form will be a huge boost for the Patriots. The veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo moved from TKR to SKNP, making the league more interesting. However, their overseas recruits – Asif Ali, Ravi Bopara, Fawad Ahmed – while they can add value, are decent at best.
St Lucia Kings: St Lucia Kings, formerly Zouks, have brought together an outstanding bowling unit comprising Obed McCoy, Alzarri Joseph, Wahab Riaz and Usman Qadir along with Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams. Samit Patel, who had a fantastic season in The Hundred, will also add great all-round value. Captain Faf du Plessis and Tim David will be key players in the batting department while Rahkeem Cornwall and Andre Fletcher will need to have a good outing for the sake of St Lucia Kings.
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Trinbago Knight Riders
The Kieron Pollard-led Trinbago Knight Riders have a strong squad despite the loss of Dwayne Bravo. The batting unit of Simmons, Narine, Darren Bravo, Colin Munro and Kieron Pollard has the ability to take down any bowling unit in the league. TKR have some good pace bowling options in Ravi Rampaul, Jayden Seales and Isuru Udana. The spin bowling responsibilities will be on Narine, Akeal Hosein, Khary Pierre and Yasir Shah. Pollard’s bag of tricks will also be quite handy on slow, gripping decks.
Trinbago Knight Riders v Guyana Amazon Warriors Odds
RECOMMENDED BET: The CPL 2021 will get underway with Guyana Amazon Warriors taking on the defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders in the first game, where TKR, with a strong all-round group, are favourites to win with the odds of 1.69 compared to 2.04 for Warriors.
Barbados Royals v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots Odds
RECOMMENDED BET: The season opener will be followed by Barbados Royals and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots going head to head, where the odds stand at 2.10 and 1.66 respectively. Barbados Royals, with a strong squad, are better placed to triumph in this clash despite the odds going against them.
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