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T20 Cricket festival returns to the Caribbean Islands with the 2018 edition of the CPL set to commence from 9th August 2018. Tribango Knight Riders are set to take on in the opening game of the tournament while Guyana Amazon Warriors will take on St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on 10th August at 330 am. Both the teams have never lifted the trophy and will be looking to get off to a good start where every win matters.
Guyana Amazon Warriors have finished second-best thrice, but have failed to convert it into the title on each occasion. They've qualified for the playoffs in every season since the inception of the competition which validates their consistency in the format and the competition.
Despite the absence of Cameron Delport for the early part of the tournament, Guyana Amazon Warriors have plenty of options when it comes to scoring quickly at the top of the order. They've brought in Chris Green, the Australian all-rounder as his cover, but the presence of the Kiwi wicket-keeper batsman, Luke Ronchi should be would be enough to keep runs flowing at the top of the order.
Their side is captained by experienced Shoaib Malik, who was in excellent form in the Australia - Pakistan - Zimbabwe tri-series. His ability with the ball and with the bat coupled with his experience brings a lot to the table. He's captained Barbados Tridents for five years, so the experience of captaining in these conditions will be useful as well.
The pair of Malik and Botha as a captain and a coach worked in the PSL earlier this year where they failed to make the playoffs. Guyana won only five of their ten matches last season and will be looking to improve on that. With the presence of Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir, Guyana Amazon Warriors appear to be a well-balanced unit with ample options in both pace and spin department. They have an excellent amalgamation of attack and defense in the batting lineup and it would be interesting to see if the aggressive approach of Ronchi and calming influence of Malik are able to reap rewards for them.
CAK Walton, Luke Ronchi, Shimron Hetmyer, Shoaib Malik, Jason Mohammed, Sherfane Rutherford, Christopher Green, S Tanvir, RR Emrit, Keemo Paul, Imran Tahir.
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots have arguably the most explosive batting lineups in the competition with Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis at the top of the order. They have the likes of Mahmudullah, Tom Cooper, Ben Cutting, and Anton Devcich should they need firepower in the middle and lower order.
They made it to the final of the last season as Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis scored four and three fifties respectively. A lot would depend on them at the top of the order. Sandeep Lamichhane was a revelation in the short stint he had in IPL where even the best batsmen in the business failed to pick him.
Batting was their stronger forte last year, but the presence of Nepali spinner, Ben Cutting, and Carlos Brathwaite has not only added to the variation in their bowling attack but has also added depth to their batting. Evin Lewis was found struggling for runs in the recently concluded West Indies' series against Bangladesh, but he would enjoy batting with his regular partner in Chris Gayle. Gayle scored a brilliant fifty, albeit in a losing cause, before being rested and his performance will be crucial to how St Kitts and Nevis Patriots perform in the upcoming competition.
Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, TLW Cooper, Anton Devcich, Brandon King, DC Thomas, Ben Cutting, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alzarri Joseph.
As seen in recently concluded West Indies - Bangladesh series, batting first yielded better results as the pitch slowed down as the game progressed. We expect the surface to behave in a similar manner and the captain winning the toss should bat first.
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The pitches in West Indies have gone slower over the years and we witnessed the same in Bangladesh's tour of West Indies. Spinners will play a key role here with the surface having some assistance for them. Although there are chances of rain, it's likely to be a passing shower and we will get a game in. Any total in excess of 170 will be tough to chase here.
Both the sides did decently as far as their last year's campaign is concerned. Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis will play a vital role in the competition for Patriots and their presence alone at the top of the order can send chills to the bowlers' spine. With Gayle in top-form and the presence of the x-factor in Sandeep Lamicchane, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots go in as slight favorites to win this upcoming fixture of Caribbean Premier League.