Thirty-three matches and thirty-eight days after the first ball of the 2019 CPL was bowled, Guyana Amazon Warriors and Barbados Tridents will battle it out in the final of the tournament, at Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad.
Having played four CPL finals and lost all, Guyana have been the perennial bridesmaids in the history of the tournament. However, with 11 wins in 11 matches (including 3 in 3 against Barbados) this time, Guyana are overwhelming favourites to clinch their maiden title.
Guyana have won most of their 11 matches convincingly as well. Five times have they bowled out their opposition. Barring the Tridents in Qualifier 1, no team had managed to cross 170 against them – and the Tridents got to 188/8 only after they were set 219 for a win.
A quick look at the bowling charts may help understand their supremacy: Imran Tahir, Chris Green, and Romario Shepherd all feature in the top five on the wickets chart; and their bowlers occupy four of the first six spots in averages (including the top three) as well as economy rates.
This also meant that their batting remained somewhat untested till the end. However, once put to test, Nicholas Pooran got a blitzing fifty in the last league match; and Brandon King slammed 132 not out in 72 balls – the highest score of this edition – in the qualifier.
King, the leading run-scorer of the tournament, Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Shoaib Malik, and Chanderpaul Hemraj form one of the most formidable line-ups of the tournament. All in all, Guyana are the team to beat.
There was little to choose between the three teams that made it to the Playoffs. However, Barbados had finished second, and a defeat (obviously, to Guyana) and a win later, they are in the final. They are eyeing their second title, after 2014.
In Hayden Walsh Jr, the leading wicket-taker of the edition, Jason Holder, Harry Gurney, and now Shakib Al Hasan, Barbados have an excellent bowling attack.
However, their batting has lacked firepower: barring JP Duminy (and somewhat unexpectedly, Ashley Nurse), nobody else has struck at even 127, which is going to be a concern against the outstanding Guyana outfit.
Head to head
Guyana have won 10 and lost 4 matches against Barbados. In this season they have won all 3 matches.
Brandon King (Guyana Amazon Warriors): His pyrokinetics in Qualifier 1 were not a one-off: King had a run of 49, 59*, 51, and 81* earlier in the tournament. However, if he pulls off anything close to what he did in Qualifier 1, Barbados are in for trouble.
Ashley Nurse (Barbados Tridents): The surprise package of the season, Nurse has hardly bowled in the tournament (10.2-0-82-2). However, when he did, as in Qualifier 2, he returned 4-0-14-2. Nurse has also got his 169 runs at a strike rate 144 – the most for Barbados.
Guyana Amazon Warriors: Brandon King, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shoaib Malik (c), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sherfane Rutherford, Chris Green, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Imran Tahir.
Barbados Tridents: Johnson Charles, Alex Hales, Shakib Al Hasan, JP Duminy, Shai Hope (wk), Jonathan Carter, Jason Holder (c), Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse, Hayden Walsh Jr, Harry Gurney.
Guyana to lift the CPL trophy for the first time.