The eighth edition of the CPL started with a rain delay, resulting in a shortened game between Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors. Teams have played 2 games each so far, with Trinbago winning both their games while St Kitts and Nevis are yet to win a single game. The other four teams have one win each under their belt.
Here we look at the major highlights so far:
Narine, the one who can’t do any wrong
Sunil Narine has been the player of the tournament so far, with 2 fifties and 3 wickets in 2 games. With the ball, Narine has combined figures of 8-0-38-3, while his scores of 50(28) and 53(38) have helped the Knight Riders chase down targets in both games. While others have also contributed in both the wins, some of the key players are yet to perform.
Narine’s stellar show in both departments has been the highlight for Trinbago Knight Riders so far but they would expect the likes of Simmons and Pollard to step up in the coming games. Ali Khan has been consistent with the ball along with Fawad Ahmed, who has been difficult to get away with.
Russell’s rustiness with the bat
Andre Russell, known for his brute power and clean hitting, has struggled with the bat so far. His innings of 16(17) and 25(26) have been quite unlike him; the fact that he is yet to hit a six despite facing 43 balls makes it more worrisome. While his struggle did not affect the team against the Zouks, it did hamper them against TKR.
Jamaica Tallawahs have won 1 game, while the boom-or-bust middle order got exposed in the other. Glenn Philipps has been the standout performer with the bat for them, with Asif Ali looking in good touch. Going forward, they will expect more support for the Kiwi batsman from the power-packed middle order.
Jason Holder’s brain-fade moment in Captaincy
When you have a batting lineup filled with left handers facing an opposition with as many as 4 off spinners, you need to be smart enough in slotting your batsmen. However, Barbados Tridents did a strategic blunder against Zouks as they kept sending in left handers while an in form Rashid Khan and an under utilised Ashley Nurse kept waiting in the death overs. Nurse came in after the wicket of Carter (a left hander who came in to bat with another lefty at the crease), but the next two batsmen to follow were Reifer and Santner. Rashid Khan, who scored a brilliant 26 in the previous game did not come out to bat even after 7 wickets.
While the skipper had a horror day as a captain, he has been very good with the bat so far. Rashid Khan, as usual, has been the best bowler of the side. Corey Anderson keeps getting out on lose balls and certainly needs his confidence back. The defending champions will want their top 3 to do better than what they have done so far.
The Sorry State of Patriots’ Batting
With the likes of Stoinis and Allen already missing out, the onus was heavily on the openers – Chris Lynn and Evin Lewis. Despite being one of the most destructive opening pairs in the tournament, none of them have lived up to the expectations so far. The middle order has been below par too, with the exception of Ben Dunk, who has looked in good touch.
With both openers not being able to get going, the Patriots lineup has a herculean task of scoring match-winning totals. Bowling has been decent, if not great, but with the poor batting that has been on display, even the bowlers have not been able to make up for it. They will need both Lynn and Lewis to fire as we go ahead in the tournament.
Hetmyer starting to don T20 cricket
Shimron Hetmyer, a proven customer in ODI cricket, had been guilty of not living upto his potential in T20 cricket. However, this season might be the turning point in his T20 career, from what has been evident so far. Having two fifties under his belt in 2 games, Hetmyer has been prolific with the bat.
Guyana Amazon Warriors, after losing out to TKR, clinched a victory against the Patriots. The likes of King, Hemraj and Pooran are due for big scores as we go ahead. Keemo Paul and Imran Tahir have stood out with the ball and given the venue helps their style of bowling, these two might well end up at the top of the table.
Chase, the man with a golden arm
Roston Chase, who was not in the original squad, has been the saviour for St Lucia Zouks in both their games so far. While his 52(42) could not win them the game against Jamaica, his double wicket over against Tridents certainly turned the game in their favor. He seems to excel in everything he dons at the moment and can turn out to be a trump card for his side.
The Zouks after losing the first game, bounced back against the defending champions. Kuggeleijn and Kesrick Williams have been impressive so far and will hold the key going forward in the tournament.