With their place in the semi-finals almost secure, the Saint Lucia Kings will want to make that qualification completely certain with another strong performance against the Barbados Royals in their final league game of the 2021 HERO Caribbean Premier League on Sunday. Having already been eliminated from the competition, the Royals would want to end their campaign on a high, while the Kings would want to finish off the league stages with a win to augment their chances of winning the title in three days' time.
Barring a freakish scenario where the Kings suffer a very big loss against the Royals on Sunday and all the remaining teams stuck at 8 points end up with a win, Faf Du Plessis’ side are all but assured of a route ahead in the competition. Nevertheless, they wouldn’t want to take anything for granted when they lock horns once again with the Barbados Royals.
Saint Lucia Kings
The Royals still maintain a superior head-to-head record against the Saint Lucia Kings, but momentum is completely with the finalists of 2020 heading into the final day of the league games. The Kings have won their last two encounters against the Royals, and have a golden opportunity to make it three in a row with Jason Holder’s team already out of the competition.
Watch out for:
Faf Du Plessis silenced his critics on Saturday with that match-winning fifty on a difficult batting surface. The Kings skipper has gotten big scores every time he’s managed to bat beyond the powerplay. Du Plessis scored one of the two centuries in the CPL this season, and would be keen to add another big score to his kitty against a struggling Barbados Royals attack.
David Wiese was roped in as a mid-season replacement for Usman Qadir by the Kings, but the 36-year-old has already proved his worth in the competition. Wiese was named man of the match on Saturday for his spectacular five-wicket haul which totally derailed the Royals’ chase. A reliable customer with the ball in hand, coupled with his ability to hit big from the get go make the Namibian International a big asset in the shortest format of the game, and the Kings would be hoping Wiese delivers once again on Sunday.
Mohammad Amir has been the main threat for the Royals with the ball. The Pakistani pacer picked 11 wickets so far in the competition while maintaining an economy rate of marginally over six an over. West Indian prospects like Nyeem Young and Hayden Walsh Jr. also could pose a threat to the Kings.
On the batting front, the Royals have struggled to find consistency this season. Nevertheless, with established players like Jason Holder, Glenn Phillips and Shai Hope, the 2019 CPL winners have enough in their arsenal to pack a punch.
Probable XI: Andre Fletcher (wk), Rahkeem Cornwall, Faf Du Plessis (c), Mark Deyal, Tim David, David Wiese, Keron Cottoy, Keemo Paul, Kesrick Williams, Jeavor Royal, Obed McCoy.
The Kings wouldn’t want to make too many changes to a winning combination come Sunday. However, with their qualification almost secure, a few of their squad players like Keron Cottoy, Obed McCoy and Rahkeem Cornwall could get a game.
NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.