CPL 2022: With playoff hopes dwindling, Warriors face Royals in crunch match
By Akeem Greene in Trinidad
It is not often, if at all, that more than midway through the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the Guyana Amazon Warriors would be bottom of the table and potentially on the brink of being knocked out.
More so, it is a season where they will host the entire set of knockout matches for the first time.
Unlike all of the other teams, the Warriors, currently on three points, have five remaining group matches, four of which will be played at their fortress – National Stadium, Providence – and makes it mathematically well within their grasp to qualify, but at present form, the reality is a bit dim, and a change in fortunes is needed now.
The Warriors can get a maximum of 13 points if they win their remaining matches, and that would easily secure qualification.
The more matches they lose from this stage, their qualification moves out of their control and into the hands of the other teams.
Ideally, the Warriors would hope that Trinbago Knight Riders, who are now third with seven points, or St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in fourth on six points, do not win any more matches.
Patriots can move to a maximum of ten points, as they have only two matches remaining but TKR has three matches, one of which is at home while the St. Lucia Kings are in fourth but a good net-run rate at this stage should keep them ahead if they win at least two of their remaining three matches.
Warriors v Royals
Next up is their first meeting with the in-form and table toppers, Barbados Royals, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad, on Sunday from 10:00h.
Royals were on a six-match winning streak until Jamaica Tallawahs stopped the juggernaut at the Queen’s Park Oval on Thursday.
With 12 points already, the Royals have practically qualified but they would want to ensure they remain within the top two for two cracks at reaching the final. They have three matches remaining.
After this leg, the experience of Quinton de Kock and David Miller will leave due to international commitments, but before they do, they could land a deafening blow to the five-time finalists.
Royals’ strength this season has been their strong starts led by Kyle Mayers and Rahkeem Cornwall which has laid the foundation for Corbin Bosch, de Kock and Miller to finish the innings in grand style.
On the converse, Chandrapaul Hemraj, has gotten some starts but has struggled to find a partner for them to make the most of the power play overs. The attacking Jermaine Blackwood, who is yet to feature, is a left-field choice that could bring a change in fortunes.
The addition of Mujeeb Ur Rahman to the Royals’ attack has made them even more lethal as the experienced Jason Holder and Obed McCoy with his bag of tricks with support from Hayden Walsh Jr. along with Bosch and Mayers have kept opposition batsmen in check.
Apart from two final over blunders, which on reflection caused them four points, the Warriors’ bowling has done the job of containing the opposition.
In the two matches they bowled first, they restricted the opposition to 161 (St. Lucia Kings) and TKR (150) on good batting decks but a stern examination awaits against the in-form Royals.
In the first match at Brian Lara this season, Kings batted first and racked up 189-7, and Patriots could have only responded with 140.
Given the Warriors’ strength lies in their bowling, batting first might just be the better option.
Two sides have met on 19 occasions, and the Warriors have won 13 occasions. The Royals have never defeated the Warriors while chasing.
Barbados Royals squad: David Miller (captain), Jason Holder, Obed McCoy, Kyle Mayers, Hayden Walsh Jr., Devon Thomas, Oshane Thomas, Nyeem Young, Quinton de Kock, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Azam Khan, Corbin Bosch, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Bishop, Justin Greaves, Teddy Bishop, Ramon Simmonds
Guyana Amazon Warriors squad: Shimron Hetmyer (captain), Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Odean Smith, Romario Shepherd, Colin Ingram, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Paul Stirling, Shai Hope, Heinrich Klaasen, Keemo Paul, Jermaine Blackwood, Gudakesh Motie, Ronsford Beaton, Veerasammy Permaul, Junior Sinclair, Matthew Nandu.