The Indian Premier League returns this weekend, with the creme de la creme of the sport in the United Arab Emirates for the marquee Twenty20 competition of franchise cricket.

Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, face Chennai Super Kings in Saturday's curtain-raiser, which is a repeat of the 2019 final.

Here, we take a look at the players who should light up the tournament.

 

VIRAT KOHLI (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

No man has more IPL runs than RCB captain Kohli, whose 5,412 have been accrued at an average of 37.84 across his 117 matches.

Key Stat: India superstar Kohli is the only batsman in the history of T20 internationals to average more than 50 (50.80) among those with a minimum of 20 innings.

MS DHONI (Chennai Super Kings)

He may have retired from international duty, but Chennai skipper Dhoni is not calling time on his IPL career just yet. You feel the 'finisher' will want to end with a flourish.

Key Stat: Dhoni has made the most runs as a captain (4,142) among the eight skippers. Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith is the only man to have a better win percentage (65.5 per cent) than Dhoni's 59.8 per cent too.

JASPRIT BUMRAH (Mumbai Indians)

Player of the match in the 2019 final, it was Bumrah's 2-14 that proved pivotal to Mumbai's success. The seamer has mastered the art of death bowling.

Key stat: No one bowled more balls at the death (overs 17-20) than Bumrah's 172 deliveries in 2019. He had an economy of just 7.7 during that period. 

ANDRE RUSSELL (Kolkata Knight Riders)

West Indian all-rounder Russell is a box office draw for Kolkata Knight Riders having averaged 56.7 with the bat last year.

Key stat: Russell made 510 runs in 2019, of which 85.5 per cent were made from boundaries. That was the biggest percentage for those to have made at least 20 runs.

ROHIT SHARMA (Mumbai Indians)

A record four-time winner of the IPL as Mumbai captain, Rohit made 52 fours last season - the most of his 12-year IPL career.

Key stat: Rohit is 102 runs away from becoming the third batsman to reach 5,000 IPL runs after Kohli and Suresh Raina.

DAVID WARNER (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Last season Warner won the Orange Cap - awarded to the IPL's leading run-scorer - for a record third time after amassing 692 runs, 99 more than anyone else in the tournament.

Key stat: Warner has now accumulated at least 600 runs in three separate campaigns. Chris Gayle (also three) is the only other batsman to have done so more than once.

DEEPAK CHAHAR (Chennai Super Kings)

Chahar had a breakthrough campaign with the Super Kings last year, claiming 22 wickets - a figure only South African duo Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada could better.

Key stat: The seamer bowled 64.3 overs in 2019 and 49 per cent of his deliveries were dot balls - the highest figure among those who bowled at least 10 overs.

KAGISO RABADA (Delhi Capitals)

The Proteas quick made his mark in the IPL last season when he took 25 wickets in the Capitals' run to the semi-finals.

Key stat: Of those who bowled at least 10 overs, Rabada had the best average (14.72) while he and international team-mate Tahir were the only two bowlers to have more than one four-wicket haul.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller believes Andre Russell will be back with the team for the 2021 season of the Hero CPL, despite the latter’s outburst earlier this year that this would be his last season with the team.

Andre Russell is perhaps the most destructive batsmen in T20 cricket. Batting in the lower order for whichever team he is playing for, the powerful Jamaican can change the course of a game in just a few overs.

 The Trinbago Knight Riders marked the return of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 to the Brian Lara Cricket Academy with a seventh straight win. 

Kieron Pollard and Colin Munro smashed 71 off the last five overs of the Trinbago Knight Riders’ innings, and the spinners bowled superbly against a Jamaica Tallawahs top-order that once again left Andre Russell with far too much to do.

Sunil Narine returned with a bang, hitting two fours off Fidel Edwards and top-edging for six to take 17 off the first over, then he plundered Carlos Brathwaite for three fours in a row. Brathwaite recovered to take Narine’s wicket, but the all-rounder’s 29 off 11 had sent the Knight Riders flying out of the blocks.

Colin Munro should have fallen for just 4, but Jermaine Blackwood dropped a simple catch. While Lendl Simmons smashed Edwards for a Hero Maximum over square leg, Mujeeb was miserly as ever and it was largely thanks to Narine that the Knight Riders managed 49 for 1 off the Powerplay.

Munro found the fence twice off Tallawahs captain Rovman Powell, and while Sandeep Lamichhane proved unhittable, Powell’s second over released the pressure, going for 14 including multiple extras. Lamichhane showed his class, dismissing Simmons with a leg-break that drew a top-edged hack to point. Munro inside-edged past the keeper to take the Knight Riders to 83 for 2 at halfway.

Munro edged for four again off Powell, but was bamboozled by Lamichhane and was lucky to survive. Brathwaite bowled a tidy over, and while Seifert managed to reverse sweep Lamichhane for four, that was the only boundary the Nepali conceded all day. After 14 overs, the Knight Riders were 105 for 2.

Seifert smote Edwards over his head for six then next ball slashed to Lamichhane at third man. But Munro got two reverse-sweeps away for four in a row off Mujeeb, and Powell was too predictable as Munro was able to adjust and swing a Hero Maximum then a four over midwicket to take himself to 50. An over studded with extras went for 18.

Pollard levered a near-yorker for six then pulled for four off Mujeeb, and Edwards twice paid for missing his yorker, Pollard dispatching a full toss for a Hero Maximum and Munro smoking a half-volley for four. Brathwaite got the daunting task of bowling the 20th, and Pollard heaped the pressure on with a Hero Maximum. Munro pulled for four, and while Brathwaite closed the innings with a caught-and-bowled, the damage was done.

Chadwick Walton’s difficult Hero CPL 2020 continued as he slashed the first ball of the innings to point, giving Akeal Hosein a dream start. While Blackwood started brightly, Pierre bowled him as he attempted to sweep, reducing the Tallawahs to 14 for 2 in the second over.

The Knight Riders were on top, so much so Pollard put himself at short leg for Narine, who went for just two. Hosein returned and went for just six, and off the Powerplay the Tallawahs had stuttered to 35 for 2 with the in-form Glenn Phillips facing just nine balls.

The nine runs that came off Narine’s second was largely due to poor fielding, but Phillips’s Hero Maximum off Fawad Ahmed was a fine hit. Phillips also cut DJ Bravo for four as two overs in a row went for double figures, but Pierre returned with a tight over, and at halfway the Tallawahs were 70 for 2 and needed 11.50 an over.

 

Phillips hit another six off Fawad, but Nkrumah Bonner had slowed almost to a crawl before falling LBW in the same over. Powell made little impact before being bowled by a Fawad googly, and so when Andre Russell came to the crease the Tallawahs were 84 for4 in the 13th and needed over 13 an over.

DJ Bravo chose an off-side heavy field to restrict Russell. But it was the well-set Phillips who fell, slicing high in the air to give Seifert a simple catch. When Narine produced a good caught-and-bowled to dismiss Asif Ali, Russell found himself with Brathwaite for recognised company and a required run rate above 15.

Brathwaite clipped for four when Bravo strayed onto his pads, but was lucky not to find a fielder when he sliced a drive high in the air. Brathwaite guided a four and Russell clubbed a six off Narine’s last over, but the Tallawahs still needed 68 off the last 18 balls.

Brathwaite and Russell targeted Jayden Seales, and though one of Russell’s fours should have been caught by Simmons at cover, a 22 run over just about kept the Tallawahs in the game. But while Russell took DJ Bravo for four through the off-side and was dropped by Seales at backward point, he couldn’t manage another boundary and with 38 needed off the last over, the jig was up.

Pollard brought himself on to close out the game, and all a frustrated Russell was able to do was to limit the net run-rate damage with a few

Lightning did not strike twice in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020, as the Jamaica Tallawahs got over the line with time to spare having again restricted the Guyana Amazon Warriors to a paltry total. Fidel Edwards was superb at the top and the death, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and Sandeep Lamichhane combined beautifully for 4/23, and while the chase was not straightforward a series of cameos was enough.

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will be moving to the Queen’s Park Oval with each team having played each other once.

Jamaica Tallawahs captain, Rovman Powell, was very disappointed that his team failed to chase down a paltry 118 set by the Guyana Amazon Warriors in their Hero Caribbean Premier League outing on Saturday but said there were positives.

After bowling out the Warriors in 19.1 overs, the Tallawahs were pegged back by the combination of brilliant bowling from the Warriors and their own failure to adjust to a pitch where the ball was sticking.

“We knew the wicket was quite tough to bat on. We felt we were 10-15 short but we have a special bowling line-up,” said Warriors captain Chris Green.

That 10-15 runs short never mattered as an all-round bowling performance where Green ended with 2-10 from three overs, Imran Tahir, 1-26, Ashmead Nedd, 1-10, Naveen-ul-Haq, 1-22, Keemo Paul, 1-33, and Chandrapaul Hemraj, 1-3 from one over, were enough to restrict the Tallawahs to 107-7.

“I am very, very disappointed but that's the nature of the game,” said Powell.

“I think both teams batted poorly, and we really need to improve our batting,” he said.

 “The positive was Russell coming to the party.”

Though disappointed, Powell was pleased to see the work of his spinners, saying he was impressed.

“Impressed with Mujeeb [Ur Rahmann] and Sandeep [Lamichhane],” he said. The two ended with figures of 3-18 and 2-8 respectively.

A last-ditch effort at using his supreme power to hit the Jamaica Tallawahs to a win ultimately failed for Andre Russell, who was left unbeaten on 52 while his side crashed to their second defeat of this Hero Caribbean Premier League at the hands of the Guyana Amazon Warriors.

Guyana Amazon Warriors overcame losing 10/62 in 81 balls and a vintage onslaught from Andre Russell to record the lowest successful defence in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history in an astonishing game against the Jamaica Tallawahs.

T20 superstar Andre Russell says he is not ruling out playing Test cricket again following knee surgery in 2019. 

West Indies players account for the lions share of those considered the best to ever play the game as SportsMax completed its Ultimate XI T20 team ahead of the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League on Tuesday.

A combination of a panel of experts, the SportsMax Zone, and fans who voted online called fanalysts completed voting on the SportsMax Ultimate XI team with a final discussion on three impact players.

The final six players from which the three were chosen were West Indians

Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell, Australian Shane Watson, Pakistani Shahid Afridi, and Indian Yuvraj Singh.

The panel, made up of cricket commentator and broadcast journalist, Fazeer Mohammed, cricket umpire Chris Taylor, and statistician, Zaheer Clarke, picked an all-West Indian cast as their impact players, in complete agreement with the SportsMax Zone and Fanalysts.

There was one dissenting voice among the panellists with Fazeer deciding on Shane Watson over Kieron Pollard, however, Clarke and Taylor’s votes were enough to overrule him.

With all parties, the Zone, the panel, and fanalysts in agreement, the final list of the greatest T20 team of all time is complete.

The openers are Chris Gayle and David warner, the middle-order, batsmen 3-5 are Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the bowlers are Sunil Narine, Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga, while the impact players are Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Powell and Andre Russell.

The Ultimate XI T20 team is made up of five West Indians in Gayle, Narine, Bravo, Pollard, and Russell, while Kohli and Dhoni make up the Indian contingent. Then there is the South African representation in de Villiers, one Australian in Warner, a Sri Lankan in Malinga, and the Afghan Rashid.

West Indian players have made a big impact on the T20 game the world over and a panel of experts deciding on the final list of impact players to be discussed as part of a SportsMax Ultimate XI.

The panel, which makes up 40% of overall votes towards the decision in coming up with a final XI, picked Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell to be part of a list of six for a final discussion on Monday.

The discussions take place on the SportsMax Zone at 5pm Jamaica time and 6pm in the Eastern Caribbean.

When the votes are all tallied, the SportsMax Zone will have contributed 25% of them, while fans have an input too, there’s counting for 35%.

The panel, today, had to pick from among 12 short listed as the best impact players the T20 game has ever seen.

That list of 12 read; Shane Watson (Australia), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Bravo, Russell, Pollard, Jos Buttler (England), Imad Wasim (Pakistan), Ben Stokes (England), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Yuvraj Singh (India), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), and Daren Sammy (West Indies).

When the cuts were made, Sammy, Imad, Buttler, Vettori, Munro, and Stokes, were deemed just a little off the pace.

So, for final discussion on Monday, Watson, Afridi, Bravo, Russell, Pollard, and Yuvraj will be the men being considered.

But the panel’s list is not final and fans, called fanalysts, can still sway the outcome of who makes the SportsMax Ultimate XI, no matter what the panel decides.

To do that, to have your say, vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

They don’t call him Superman for nothing.

By the time Andre Russell was a little more than five years into international cricket, he was a two-time world champion. That both titles came in the T20 format defines the kind of cricketer he is. A batsman who hits the ball hard enough to make the inanimate thing scream for mercy, he functions primarily as a finisher. He generates even more pace with the ball in hand and when it is anywhere near him in the field, it doesn't matter at what pace it's travelling, Russell will probably get to it. He is less of a cricketer, in the traditional sense, and more of an athlete.

He made his way into the West Indies A squad and captured plenty of attention with his exploits in a 50-over game against Ireland in June 2010, smashing 61 off 34 balls and taking 6 for 42. It was a performance that helped him win a place in West Indies' 2011 World Cup squad.

Russell's star shone brightest at the IPL 2015 when he was named Man of the Tournament, and the Big Bash League 2015-16 when he struck at 186.86 and picked up 16 wickets - joint-second best - from 10 matches.

He won the CPL title with the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2013, the IPL title with Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014, the Bangladesh Premier League title with Comilla Victorians, the BBL title with Sydney Thunder and the Pakistan Super League title with Islamabad United in 2016.

 

Career statistics (2010-present)

Full name: Andre Dwayne Russell

Born: April 29, 1988, (32) Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Comilla Warriors, Delhi Daredevils, Eagles (UAE), Islamabad United, Jamaica, Jamaica Select XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Khulna Royal Bengals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Nangarhar Leopards, Northern Warriors, Nottinghamshire, Rajshahi Royals, Sagicor High-Performance Centre, Sydney Thunder, Sylhet Royals, UWI Vice Chancellor's XI, Vancouver Knights, West Indies A, West Indies Select XI, West Indies XI, Worcestershire, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

T20I Career – West Indies (Batting)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS        Ave        BF           SR          100        50           4s           6s             

49           41           14           540        47       20.00     357        151.26        0            0          32           42          

 

T20 career (Batting)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS          Ave        BF           SR           100        50           4s           6s             

321         270          71         5365      121*      26.95     3132      171.29           2          18         356         425       

 

T20I Career – West Indies (Bowling)

Mat        Inns        Balls       Runs      Wkts      BBI         BBM      Ave        Econ      SR      4w          5w         10w

49           42           643        974        26           2/10       2/10       37.46     9.08       24.7       0            0            0

 

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat        Inns        Balls       Runs      Wkts      BBI         BBM      Ave        Econ        SR           4w          5w         10w

321         297         5460        7532       291        4/11       4/11       25.88      8.27       18.7           8            0             0

 

Career highlights

  • Made 540 T20I runs at an average of 20.00
  • Taken 26 T20I wickets in at 37.46
  • Has taken 291 T20 wickets at 25.88
  • Best strike-rate in IPL history (186.41)
  • IPL player of the tournament 2015 & 2019
  • 5365 runs at 26.95

Coming out of Monday’s 2020 Hero CPL Draft, Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller believes the franchise has managed to assemble a balanced team that will be able to do some damage when the competition gets underway in Trinidad in August.

The two-time champions endured a disastrous season in 2019 when they won only two games and finished at the foot of the six-team standings. With the disaster behind them, the Tallawahs decided on a complete overhaul of the squad that included releasing veteran T20 batsman Christopher Gayle while retaining only five players from the previous campaign.

In Monday’s draft, the Tallawahs brought in 2016 T20 World Cup hero Carlos Brathwaite and the big-hitting Glen Phillips to complement Captain Rovman Powell, Andre Russell and Chadwick Walton. They have also added Nkrumah Bonner and Andre McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Fidel Edwards, Veerasammy Permaul, Sandeep Lamichhane and Preston McSween have bolstered the bowling.

“I am hoping that we have a better team. We were rebuilding and that was the whole idea,” Miller told Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday.

“After retaining the five we were looking to rebuild around them.”

Miller explained that they brought in Edwards, the former West Indies pace bowler, to partner young fast bowler Oshane Thomas and McSween to support them both. Right-arm leg-spin bowler Sandeep and Permaul, he said, add a cutting edge to a bowling attack that he expects to be effective on the pitches in Trinidad.

“We expect the pitches to be bowler-friendly,” Miller said, indicating that he believes the pitches in the twin-island republic to wear as the tournament progresses.

Miller is also hopeful that the Tallawahs’ batting will deliver this coming season. He is relying on the experienced Powell, Russell, Phillips and Walton to get the bulk of the runs but in Brathwaite and the returning Andre McCarthy, he is expecting additional stability and firepower.

Brathwaite, he believes, can “do damage” at the back end of the innings but further up the order is where he expects McCarthy to finally deliver on his potential. “I am hoping that McCarthy and Nkrumah Bonner can solidify the number-three slot. I am hoping that a maturing McCarthy can step up to the plate,” he said.

Without going into detail, Miller hinted that they might have missed out on some players they were hoping to sign but those players were drafted by other franchises before the Tallawahs had a shot at them.

 

With a focus on rebuilding for the 2020 CPL season, the beleaguered Jamaica Tallawahs franchise has opted to retain four players including star player Andre Russell for the new season.

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