After registering dominant wins in their respective semi-final matches, Trinbago Knight Riders and St. Lucia Zouks face-off one last time in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020. (More Cricket News)
The final of the CPL 2020, featuring some of the hottest talents in world cricket, will serve as the perfect warm-up game for a much bigger T20 tournament which starts nine days later in the United Arab Emirates. After Thursday's title clash, the majority of these so-called cricket mercenaries will join new teammates in another part of the world.
If you care, both the finalists have Indian Premier League (IPL) links, and thanks to their global star cast, have a massive following in the Indian sub-continent.
While Knight Riders have ownership the same as Kolkata Knight Riders, the Zouks are owned by the same promoters as Kings XI Punjab. That's interesting.
But first thing first.
Knight Riders are now in a position to complete the first perfect season in CPL history. They have won all 11 matches played so far. Kieron Pollard & Co can actually hope to become the first true 'Invincibles' in cricket. They just need to beat the Zouks at Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad.
And that's where the problem lies.
Zouks, which finished third in the league table with six wins from ten, will not be pushovers. Led by ever-resourceful Daren Sammy, Zouks are hungrier than ever as they look for their maiden CPL title. And Sammy himself is 36.
Coming into the knockouts, Zouks were blowing hot and cold. But when it mattered, they showed their class by humiliating a confident-looking Guyana Amazon Warriors side.
In the final, Zouks will rely on Mohammad Nabi, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Scott Kuggeleijn, Roston Chase, Najibullah Zadran, etc.
In contrast, though, Knight Riders have an endless list of match-winners. They are the Galácticos of CPL - Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, etc.
In the league stage, Knight Riders beat Zouks by six wickets in the rain-affected match at Port of Spain and then by 23 runs in Tarouba.
What happened in the semi-finals:
The Knight Riders restricted Jamaica Tallawahs to 107 for seven and then chased down the target with nine wickets and five overs to spare to give them a chance to win a fourth CPL title.
Zouks were even more ruthless as they bowled out Warriors for 55 in 13.4 overs for the lowest total this season, then wrapped up the match in another 4.3 overs without losing a wicket.
Date: September 10 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM IST (10:30 PM local)
Venue: Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad
Live Stream: FanCode and JioTV in India. The match can be also be watched on Disney+Hostar app's Star Sports channels.
TV Listing: Star Sports Network - Star Sports 1/HD, Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi/HD.
Team news and likely XIs
Both sides are likely to field the same XIs that featured in the semi-finals. In fact, there's no reason to tweak the XIs unless something untoward happens at the last minute.
Trinbago Knight Riders: Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine, Tion Webster, Tim Seifert (wk), Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard (c), Dwayne Bravo, Akeal Hosein, Khary Pierre, Fawad Ahmed, Ali Khan.
St Lucia Zouks: Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Andre Fletcher (wk), Roston Chase, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Javelle Glenn, Daren Sammy (c), Scott Kuggeleijn, Kesrick Williams, Zahir Khan.
Trinbago Knight Riders: Kieron Pollard (c), Dwayne Bravo, , Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Fawad Ahmed, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Tim Seifert (wk), Sikandar Raza, Anderson Phillip, Pravin Tambe, Jayden Seales, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, Ali Khan.
St Lucia Zouks: Daren Sammy (c), Mohammad Nabi, Andre Fletcher (wk), Kesrick Williams, Rahkeem Cornwall, Chemar Holder, Mark Deyal, Javelle Glenn, Leniko Boucher, Kavem Hodge, Obed McCoy, Kimani Melius, Saad Bin Zafar, Scott Kuggeleijn, Roston Chase, Najibullah Zadran, Zahir Khan.
Zouks to win a thriller. For the record, Knight Riders have won the title in 2015, 2017 and 2018, while Zouks's best has been a fourth-place finish in 2016.
Team of the tournament
Meanwhile, the team for CPL 2020 has been announced on the eve of the final. It was selected by the tournament’s commentary team – Tom Moody, Ian Bishop, Daren Ganga, Danny Morrison and Samuel Badree.
It features three players each from Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors, two players from Jamaica Tallawahs and one each from Zouks, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and Barbados Tridents.
Glenn Phillips (wk) – Jamaica Tallawahs, Sunil Narine – Trinbago Knight Riders, Shimron Hetmyer – Guyana Amazon Warriors, Nicholas Pooran – Guyana Amazon Warriors, Darren Bravo – Trinbago Knight Riders, Kieron Pollard (capt) – Trinbago Knight Riders, Mohammad Nabi – St Lucia Zouks, Jason Holder – Barbados Tridents, Rayad Emrit – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, Imran Tahir – Guyana Amazon Warriors, Mujeeb ur Rahman – Jamaica Tallawahs.
The selectors also picked one Caribbean and one overseas 12th man: Scott Kuggelejin – St Lucia Zouks and Keemo Paul – Guyana Amazon Warriors.