CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde examines Trinbago Knight Riders’ CPL so far.
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Trinbago have lived up to their billing as the pre-tournament favourites by starting with a perfect record, winning their opening three matches. The fact that all three of those wins have come while using an Emerging Player (Jayden Seales) and two of the three have come while only picking three of their permitted four overseas players encapsulates just how strong the Knight Riders are.
What will be particularly encouraging for the Knight RIders is how their opening three matches have helped dispel some areas of concern in advance of the season.
The first and most obvious of them has been the form of Sunil Narine. This CPL is Narine’s first professional cricket since the CPL last year and in that period he has had an operation on his spinning finger. There were concerns around how well he would return to action after such a long lay off and injury problems but he has emphatically shown he is not only able to survive but thrive at this level. In TKR’s opening two fixtures Narine took 2 for 19 off his four overs in both matches and struck aggressive fifties in both matches. He backed that up with another superb bowling display in the third match, taking 1 for 17, underlining his ability to still be consistently excellent with the ball.
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TKR will also be encouraged by the form of Ali Khan. Pace bowling was—and still is—a potential weakness for the Knight Riders but Khan has led the pace attack brilliantly in their opening three wins, returning figures of 1 for 21 from 3 overs, 2 for 25 and 1 for 32. Most significant has been when he has taken those wickets with three of the four scalps coming in the Powerplay phase when they are at their most valuable. Khan’s early wickets against Guyana and Jamaica got Trinbago off to superb starts before they had even unfurled their primary spin weapons.
Narine and Khan have been the standout two performers so far but they are far from the only reason to be cheerful for Trinbago. The first three matches have also seen significant contributions from Colin Munro, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Fawad Ahmed.
Trinbago’s opening three matches have not been without concern or alarm though.
Lendl Simmons’ form at the top of the order has been suspect. Across his three innings he has scored 38 runs off 45 balls and has been particularly slow at the start of his innings, scoring just 3 runs in the first five balls of his three innings.
In the bowling department, while Khan has been excellent with the new ball the same cannot be said of Dwayne Bravo who has bowled primarily in the back-half of the innings. Bravo has taken 1 for 40, 1 for 32 and 2 for 46 in his three games so far and is offering neither the control or incision that his great career has been founded on.
Trinbago’s third pace bowler has been the 18 year-old Seales, who has provided mixed returns so far, returning 2 for 21 against Jamaica but his four overs in the other two matches cost 58 runs. For a young kid he’s shown impressive character and skill but opposition teams will still see him as a bowler to exploit. Seale’s is raw and Bravo is struggling a touch, so TKR’s pace problem is far from solved.
Freddie Wilde is a CricViz analyst, @fwildecricket.