Says Sean Devers
They know the feeling of being the bridesmaid but never the bride…they have experienced that feeling four times in the seven-year history of the Hero CPL T20 cricket tournament.
In the inaugural tournament in 2013 the Guyana Amazon Warriors were beaten in the final by Jamaica Tallawahs, the next year it was the Barbados Tridents’ turn to spoil the Warriors’ party while in 2016 Tallawahs again piped them to the title before TKR dashed their title last year.
The Warriors fans have endured heartbreak after heartbreak in four finals and two semi-finals but never experienced the joy of seeing their team being crowned CPL Champions. In the past six years there have been several reasons put forward for the Warriors being unable the jump the final hurdle including the premature departure of their skipper last year, the lack of ‘big game’ mentality and intestinal fortitude in pressure situations of playing in front of massive partisan crowds in Trinidad.
It is said if you don’t know your past it will be difficult to find your future. But it is also said don’t live in the past and the young and hungry team with all but three members of the squad in their 20s, the Warriors, who have dominated this tournament with brilliant ‘team’ cricket, like no other team in the history of CPL, have their best chance of extending their record unbeaten streak to 12 come Saturday.
The Warriors beat the Tridents to qualify for the final while pre-tournament favourites, Trinbago Knight Riders, on the back of four consecutive defeats got past St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Play-off on Sunday at Providence.
The home team will play Tridents tomorrow in Carnival Country with the winner of this game battling the Warriors in the grand finale of the biggest party in sports; the betting boys have predicted a Warriors’ versus TKR final – time will tell.
It was refreshing to see every local player playing outstanding cricket at one time or the other, unlike in the past when the overseas Internationals did the bulk of work. But 37-year-old Skipper Shoib Malik, who has played the most T20 games ever, averages a stunning 78.25 from 11 innings with 313 runs including two fifties and seven unbeaten innings.
Forty-year-old leg-spinner Imran Tahir, the Pakistani-born South African International has 15 wickets from eight games, only behind leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Junior’s 19. The pair have provided excellent mentorship to the young players while leading by example while this is the first year that eight Guyanese have been selected in the Warriors squad.
The 24-year-old Jamaican Brandon King has been a revelation this year and season and is the leading run scorer of the tournament with 453 including the 132which is the highest score ever made in CPL cricket.
His opening partner, Guyanese Chanderpaul Hemraj has two fifties and 298 runs and in partnership with King has five 50-run opening stands, the most in the tournament. Trinidadian Nicolas Pooran has two fifties and has done well with the gloves while Sherfane Rutherford has batted really well; the all-rounders, Kemo Paul, Chris Green and Romario Shepherd are good with the bat while Shepherd’s 12 wickets which is the most by a pacer and jointly with Tridents Skipper Jason Holder, who has bowled more times.
Warriors have the added advantage of four top quality spinners in Tahir, Green, Malik, Qais Ahmad along with part timer Hemraj whom they have used a few times during the power play.
Shimron Hetmyer, who along with Paul and Rutherford played in the last IPL, is arguably the most exciting young batsman in the Region but he has taken his fans on the frustrating ride.
His addiction to play airily early in his innings has been his downfall repeatedly as the left-hander from Young Warriors Club in Berbice continues to give his wicket away. The 22-year-old has a top scorer of 70 but that has been his only fifty; with an average of 21.02 he will desperately be aiming for a big score in the final.
Warriors will have to wait until tomorrow night before they know who will be their opponent on Saturday night at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in the 2019 CPL Final. Could the Warriors, in their fifth Final, extend their winning streak to 12 even if TKR with Simmons, Colin Monroe, Sunil Narine, Pollard, Ali Khan, Chris Jordon and Daren Bravo, beat Barbados Tridents tonight?
I think this could be the year to break the jinx of being the Bridesmaids, for the first time in a fifth try.
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