Trinbago Knight Riders and West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has identified an inability to adapt to different conditions as one that not only plagued teams throughout the Caribbean Premier League season (CPL) but negatively impacts the regional team as well.

The CPL season was characterized by a spate of low scores, with many fingers pointing towards an unsatisfactory surface for T20 batsman to ply their trade. In fact, the average score per innings score fell around 20 runs from last season’s average of around 151, compared to this season’s average of 122.

Pollard's Knight Riders have hardly been among those struggling to find runs and his blistering 28 balls 72 against the Barbados Tridents, was seemingly made on a different surface than the one others had struggled with.

“For me throughout the tournament, if I were to be a little critical, the pitches weren’t up to standard for batting. But what I have seen as well is the guys have not mentally changed their game to suit the conditions,” Pollard said at a pre-game press conference.

“That is something that is not only harming is in CPL but harming us in international cricket as well.  We can’t complain about the pitches all the time and we are not changing as individuals,” he added.

“I didn’t see the mental fortitude of the batmen throughout the tournament in the other teams. I all honestly wit TKR we have tried to adjust to the situation.”

 

St Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy is confident the team will be able to rely on its mental toughness in a difficult battle against the heavily favoured Trinabgo Knight Riders, in the Caribbean Premier League final.

The rugged Zouks have shown plenty of determination so far.  In battling their way to the CPL final, without an established superstar, few would disagree that they have defied the odds. 

Even that, however, might not be enough against the Knight Riders, who have been the league’s best team by a distance this season, winning 10 straight matches.  Sammy insists the underdogs will not be overawed.   

“It will all come down to execution.  It’s a big final they have an experienced team with guys who have played finals before, but the mental toughness of my team showed throughout the tournament,” Sammy said at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“We don’t give up until it’s over and I know that can pull us through.  I know I will have a full team believing they can go out and play a full brand of cricket,” he added.

Ever the inspirational leader, St Lucia Zouks Captain Darren Sammy believes his team has as good a chance to win the 2020 Hero CPL title on Thursday even though they would have to defeat the unbeaten Trinbago Knight Riders to do so.

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard is confident his team will not be under pressure to maintain their unbeaten record this season when they face first-time finalist, St Lucia Zouks in Thursday’s final of the 2020 Hero CPL season.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy insists the underdog St Lucia Zouks have bold ambitions of claiming a first-ever Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title on the back of the team’s most successful run in franchise history.

In Tuesday’s semi-final, the Zouks annihilated last season’s finalist Guyana Amazon Warriors in a crushing 10-wickets win.  The Warriors were shockingly bowled out for 55, the second-lowest total in CPL history, before the St Lucia-based franchise easily eclipsed the total.

The win was, however, even more, significant for the franchise who prior to this season had never made it to the playoffs let alone put themselves in a position to claim the title.  Facing the rampaging Trinbago Knight Riders, who are yet to lose a match this season, the St Lucia Zouks will find themselves in a similar position, that is playing the role of underdogs.   

“I told the guys. We didn’t come here to celebrate a semi-final.  Nobody gave us a chance.  From the start, I’ve said we have some effective guys.  We don’t have guys in the top five in the runs but we play as a team, especially when we are out there in the field,” Sammy said.

“We want to win.  Obviously TKR they are the team to beat.  We have said in our dressing room if you want to win the final you have to go through TKR.  It was a similar situation with the West Indies.  We said if you want to win, you have to beat India and we have our silent confidence in the dressing room.”

 

 

 

Three members of the unbeaten Trinbago Knight Riders were selected among a 2020 Hero CPL team of the tournament announced on Wednesday, the eve of the 2020 finals set for the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

 An inspired St Lucia Zouks skittled perennial finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors for the second-lowest team total in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history and blazed to victory in just 27 balls to complete one of the most dominant performances in T20 history. In doing so they booked their place against the Trinbago Knight Riders in Thursday’s final, the first in the St Lucia franchise’s history.

Zouks captain Daren Sammy put the Amazon Warriors in, but even he could not have seen this coming. Brandon King toe-ended to keeper Andre Fletcher and Shimron Hetmyer inexplicably left his first ball to let it crash into off-stump. Nicholas Pooran denied Scott Kuggeleijn a hat-trick, but only a single and a wide followed, and Mohammad Nabi followed up with a maiden to leave the Amazon Warriors 2 for 2 after two overs.
Pooran immediately counter-attacked, slashing Kuggeleijn over the slips then dismissively driving him down the ground for back-to-back fours, but he fell trying to loft Nabi down the ground thanks to a wonderful catch by Mark Deyal diving forward from long-off. Chandrapaul Hemraj and Ross Taylor cautiously played out the rest of the Powerplay, at which point the Amazon Warriors were 21 for 3.
Taylor, so often the rock around which recoveries are built, fell LBW essaying his favoured sweep off Roston Chase, who anticipated the stroke well and bowled accordingly. Deyal almost pulled off another amazing catch at long-off as Hemraj drove Zahir Khan aerially, but it just fell short, and a fifth straight over with only three runs off it passed, leaving the Amazon Warriors 27for 4 off eight overs.

The extent to which the tension was pressing on the Amazon Warriors was obvious. Hemraj got a friendly full toss from Chase but only pushed it for two, nearly holed out next ball, and then Keemo Paul did hole out with a swipe down the throat of Kesrick Williams at deep square leg. Hemraj finally hit the innings’ first Hero Maximum off its 56th ball, slamming Zahir over deep midwicket, but at halfway the Amazon Warriors had crawled to 42 for 5.

Chase’s first over after the chase was quiet, but the next was anything but. Amazon Warriors captain Chris Green smashed Javelle Glenn’s first ball for a Hero Maximum and seemed to have done so off his second ball but Nabi pulled off a brilliant balancing catch at the boundary’s edge.

With spin so dominant, Sammy went to Deyal who answered the call emphatically with two wickets in two balls - Hemraj inside-edged onto his stumps via his pad, and Romario Shepherd first ball pushed a simple catch back to the bowler. Again there was no hat-trick, but the Amazon Warriors innings was not long for this world.

Fletcher showed sharp glovework to stump Kevin Sinclair off Zahir, and even sharper moves in celebration and the Amazon Warriors’ ignominious innings ended next ball as Rakheem Cornwall plunged forward to take a sharp slip catch off Imran Tahir. All six Zouks bowlers had taken a wicket, and the innings had lasted just 13.4 overs.

Cornwall showed that a low target wasn’t going to temper his belligerent instincts, launching two Hero Maximums in Green’s first over, whipping Tahir for four through short fine leg and nearly breaking the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a straight drive. Deyal hit fours off each of his first two deliveries, and the Zouks were almost halfway to their target after two overs.

Naveen-ul-Haq was visibly furious with how the evening had gone for his team, bowling a bouncer that sailed even over the towering Cornwall for five wides. Cornwall continued his merry mayhem by walloping Naveen through long-on for four, and Deyal picked up a Hero Maximum for himself with a gleeful mow over midwicket. Cornwall blasted Tahir over long-on for his third Hero Maximum, Deyal closed the fourth over with his third four, and captain Green went down with his ship by bringing himself on for the fifth with just three runs to win.

 

St Lucia Zouks 56/0 (Cornwall 32*, Deyal 19*) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 55 all out (Hemraj 25; Deyal 2/2, Zahir 2/12, Kuggeleijn 2/12, Chase 2/15, Nabi 1/6, Glenn 1/8) by 10 wickets

 

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard is confident the team has the hunger and desire to end the season with a perfect record and a fourth Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

In Tuesday’s semi-final, the unbeaten Tridents continued their sensational run after brushing aside the Jamaica Tallawahs in a nine-wicket win.  The victory marked a 10th in a row for the Tridents and just one more will see the team create history by being the first to claim the trophy without losing a match.

The Knights Riders would, however, do well to learn from history’s lessons.  Just one season ago the Guyana Amazon Warriors, who have never lifted the title, experienced unthinkable heartbreak after losing to the Barbados Tridents in the final.  Pollard will be eager to avoid a similar fate and on home soil no less.

“We have come here and played fantastic cricket throughout the tournament so we need to have that cherry on top of it,” Pollard said following the match.

“I know the guys.  I watch the faces of the guys in the dressing room, I don’t see overconfidence.  You are seeing guys looking level, wanting to come out, and wanting to perform each and every time.  We have that hunger for one more time, hopefully we can go all the way.  If we do that it will be unprecedented.”

Jamaica Tallawahs skipper Rovman Powell was left to decry yet another sub-par batting performance, as the team was sent crashing from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) by the Trinbago Knight Riders on Tuesday.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat, only Powell (33) and Nkrumah Bonner (41) managed to mount any kind of resistance as the Jamaica-based franchise was dismissed for 107.  In response, Lendl Simmons’ 54 unbeaten and 44 undefeated from Tion Webster saw the rampaging Knight Riders cruise home with a 9-wicket win.

Even in a low-scoring tournament, the Tallawhas struggled at the crease for most of the tournament.  The team scored under 120 on four occasions and over 150 on just three occasions.

“We have played a lot of inconsistent cricket.  The batters didn’t stand up all season. We ask that our international batters bat most of the overs and we just did not do that,” Powell said after the game.  On this occasion the Tallawahs found themselves four wickets down with only 24 runs on the board, coming out of the powerplay.

“The batters just didn’t come to the party. If we should look at it from a bowling perspective, I think our bowlers handled themselves very well.  The international spinners did very well for us in the middle overs and even when we started the pace bowlers were good.”

The Trinbago Knight Riders spinners blasted a hole in the Jamaica Tallawahs top order to set up a cruise to a sub-par total with a full five overs to go, and leave themselves one win away from completing the first perfect season in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history.

Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard had enough faith in his opening bowlers to start with himself at short leg, and Akeal Hosein repaid that faith by bowling Jermaine Blackwood. The Tallawahs sprung a surprise sending Mujeeb Ur Rahman in at number three, who just about played out a wicket-maiden.

The Tallawahs were rocked further when Glenn Phillips cut Khary Pierre to Ali Khan. Nkrumah Bonner finally hit the game’s first boundary, easing Hosein through cover, but the Mujeeb experiment failed as he edged a reverse sweep onto his pad and was caught at slip, and the Tallawahs had slumped to 10 for 3 off three overs.

Five wides from Pierre and a straight four by Bonner more than doubled the Tallawahs tally, but while Asif Ali got off the mark with a four-over Hosein’s head, he fell next ball cutting to Pollard at point. Pollard immediately went back into short leg and kept himself there for the returning Sunil Narine who went for just three to close out a dominant Powerplay for the Knight Riders, after which the Tallawahs were reeling at 28 for 4.

Bonner continued to resist - he cut Fawad Ahmed powerfully for four, a misfield gave him another off Narine to take him to 30, and he pulled Fawad to take the Tallawahs past 50. Pierre returned with a tight over that went for just three, and at the 10 over mark, the Tallawahs were 55 for 4.

Hosein bowled out with an over of just five, and Fawad ended Bonner’s resistance with a quick googly. That finally brought Andre Russell to the crease, but Narine put an end to his innings before it got going. Russell was beaten in the flight, the ball looped to DJ Bravo at slip and the umpire adjudged it came off bat and pad. The Tallawahs had lost their biggest weapon and were 68 for 6 in the 14th.

Three more boundary-less overs came and went. Rovman Powell had now faced 32 balls for his 26 runs, Carlos Brathwaite had managed only one off his 10 balls, and something had to give off Pierre’s last over. Powell hit one Hero Maximum, the first of the innings, but picked out Pollard at deep mid-off trying to repeat the shot next ball. Even with that six, he finished under a run a ball, and the Tallawahs were 92 for 7 off 18.

Brathwaite was lucky not to be run out first ball of the 19th, bowled by DJ Bravo whose three overs didn’t contain a single boundary. Ali Khan got the unusual job of bowling only the 20th over, and while Brathwaite finished the innings with a Hero Maximum that was only the third boundary in the last 11 overs of the innings.

Lendl Simmons steered then pulled Fidel Edwards for consecutive fours to end the first over, but Narine wasn’t able to provide his usual powerful start, bowled by Mujeeb’s arm ball. Powell followed Pollard’s aggressive lead by putting himself at short leg, but Tion Webster was not intimidated, slapping Veerasammy Permaul through cover then slicing him for four to ruin a tight start to the over. After three overs, the Knight Riders were 23/1.

Webster was confident enough to cut Mujeeb’s googly for four, and with wickets, a must Powell for the first time in Hero CPL 2020 went to Sandeep Lamichhane in the Powerplay. Simmons paddled him for four first ball and then pulled Mujeeb to the fence, and the Knight Riders closed the Powerplay at 42/1. The required run rate was already under five an over.

Simmons marred a good over from Lamichhane with a slog-swept Hero Maximum, bringing up the Knight Riders’ 50. Simmons and Webster were able to work Lamichhane around as no-one had all tournament, and though Permaul’s second went for just two and his third was a maiden, at halfway the Knight Riders were comfortable at 61/1, needing just 47 more to win.

Russell was called on to bowl, but Simmons pulled him for a Hero Maximum and, when Russell bowled a second short ball which was called a no-ball, helicoptered the free hit for four. Permaul bowled out with another economical over, but Simmons again pulled Russell for six to take 10 off the 13th over. The Knight Riders were now 90/1 and needed just 18 more.

Webster guided Lamichhane through cover for four to end the Nepali’s only wicketless spell of an excellent tournament, and Simmons became the leading 50-maker in the tournament’s history, overtaking Chris Gayle with a cover drive for four off Brathwaite, and Webster finished the job that same over.

Simmons needs just three more runs in Thursday’s final to overtake Gayle as Hero CPL’s all-time leading scorer. Much more importantly though, the Knight Riders have a chance to do what last year’s Guyana Amazon Warriors could not, and in doing so win a fourth Hero CPL title. The victors in the second semi will have a mighty task to deny them.

 

Trinbago Knight Riders 111/1 (Simmons 54*, Webster 44*; Mujeeb 1/18) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 107/7 (Bonner 41, Powell 33; Hosein 3/14, Pierre 2/29, Narine 1/13, Fawad 1/29) by 9 wickets

 

Joshua Da Silva has been one of the standouts in what has otherwise been a dreadful 2020 Hero CPL season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

A remarkable collapse of 9/45 in 44 balls, including three sets of two wickets in two balls, saw the Jamaica Tallawahs collapse from 84/0 and fall short of a modest target against a canny St Lucia Zouks side who are making a habit of defending low totals in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020.

 The Trinbago Knight Riders once again showed that they are a formidable squad, not just an XI, as even with four changes, Sunil Narine still rested and Colin Munro injured, they put together a superbly planned and executed performance to bowl out St Kitts & Nevis Patriots inside 19 overs and chase their modest target inside 12 overs, thus completing a perfect 10-for-10 record in the league stage of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020.

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper has admitted the panel hoped to see more ‘sensible’ batting from players under the microscope at the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament.

The tournament, being staged in a biosecure atmosphere in Trinidad and Tobago, due to the ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been widely panned for poor batting performances and low scoring.

Statistically, the average score per innings has fallen some 27 runs behind last season, which had an innings average of around 151, as compared to this season’s average of 122.  Perhaps even more instructive, is the fact that in completed matches this season teams have failed to reach double digits on eight occasions as opposed to just once last season.

A lot of speculation has surfaced regarding the reason for the diminished performances to date.  Among them is the fact that players have not played for months, due to the pandemic, and the condition of the pitch.  It has also been suggested that possible quarantine fatigue might be affecting some players who took part in the England series.  It has, however, also been suggested that a lot of it is simply down to irresponsible batting.  To a large extent, Harper concurs.

“I think that yes we expected to have some better cricket.  I think at times a lot of power play was put in and not enough brain play,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“We are happy to have some cricket but yes we expected to have some better performances generally, particularly on the batting side of things,” he added.

“Ideally you would like to have pitches more conducive to stroke play from the get-go.  But the batsmen that have generally succeeded have adapted very well.  They have given themselves some time to get in and then capitalised later.  Some players have not gotten that memo as yet, some teams are still trying to score all the runs upfront, when all the runs are scored at the back end.”

 

A classy half-century from captain Jason Holder and a fine all-round performance from Mitchell Santner saw the Barbados Tridents finish a troubled season on a high, and meant that once again Andre Russell’s brilliance was in vain for the Jamaica Tallawahs.

With the Tallawahs now confirmed in fourth, they will play runaway Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) leaders the Trinbago Knight Riders in the semi-finals.

Santner’s first over went for just two, but Jermaine Blackwood, promoted to open, cut Joshua Bishop’s first ball for four. Holder brought himself on, and Blackwood carved him for four over the slips, taking the Tallawahs to 22 for 0 off four.

Rashid Khan conceded a boundary apiece to Blackwood and Phillips in an over that went for 11. Blackwood used his feet well to hit Bishop over long-on for the game’s first Hero Maximum, and the Tallawahs completed a good Powerplay at 44 for 0.

Ashley Nurse dropped a slip catch off Hayden Walsh Jr, reprieving Phillips on 14, but that reprieve lasted only three balls as Keon Harding, on Hero CPL debut, took a fine catch running in from the cover boundary. The Tallawahs had lost a little momentum to be 69 for 1 at halfway.

Rashid’s over went for just two, but Blackwood hit Harding’s first ball for six to bring up his first Hero CPL fifty. He uppercut a four in the same over and a Hero Maximum off Walsh, and while Asif Ali fell cutting Walsh to end another scratchy innings, that brought in Andre Russell with time to bat.

 Holder brought himself on, and was unlucky to see a Russell edge clear the keeper for four. There was no fortune in Russell’s pair of monstrous Hero Maximums off Walsh, and the Tallwahs surged to 112 for 2 off 15.

Santner bowled well to Russell, whose only boundary came via a misfield, and though Blackwood squeezed a four through point, Holder bowled him round his legs next ball. Russell smashed another Hero Maximum to finish the over, and the Tallawahs were well-set at 133 for 3 off 17.

Rashid returned for the death, and though Russell didn’t middle a pull he still got four. He absolutely middled it into the top tier two balls later, but Rashid was desperately unlucky next ball, a googly hitting the stumps and lighting up the bails but not knocking them off.

Russell inside-edged past the stumps off Holder, and entering the last over the Tallawahs were 153 for 3. Russell nearly cleared the roof to bring up his 50 off just 26 balls, but Rashid finally got his man, Russell stumped by yards. The promotion of Blackwood and Russell had got the Tallawahs to their highest total of Hero CPL 2020.

The recalled Oshane Thomas was too quick for Johnson Charles and bowled him off the inside edge, but the first over went for 17 including four wides and two fours by Jonathan Carter who was promoted to open. Left-arm seamer Preston McSween, on Hero CPL debut, also struck in his first over, bowling Shamarh Brooks with a beauty that swung and seamed back in.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s first over went for six, and where McScween’s first over was excellent, his second was poor. Holder started with a lovely Hero Maximum over long-on, and took four more fours off it to take the Tridents to 50 for 2 off four overs. Thomas and Carlos Brathwaite bowled tidily, but the Tridents finished the Powerplay at 61 for 2, their best of the tournament.

Mujeeb beat Holder on both edges, and the Tridents captain was lucky to bottom-edge between Phillips’ legs for four. Holder smashed a Brathwaite full toss for six to bring up his 50 off just 28 balls, and he and Carter worked Sandeep Lamichhane’s first over around for nine, but Thomas returned and went for just two. At halfway, the Tridents were 88 for 2.

Lamichhane beat Holder with a googly that somehow missed leg-stump in an over that went for only three. Holder bookended Mujeeb’s over with a Hero Maximum and a four, but when Lamichhane trapped Holder LBW with a googly the Tallawahs had a chance to re-assert themselves. After 13 overs, the Tridents were 108 for 3.

McSween returned but bowled a couple of wides and allowed Carter to hit two fours. Santner showed why he’d been promoted to five with a glorious straight six off Lamichhane, whose last over went for 10. Brathwaite’s over was tight, just three coming off it, and the Tridents entered the last four overs at 134 for 3, needing seven an over.

Santner steered Thomas square for four, and the equation dropped below a run a ball with a lucky edge past the stumps. Mujeeb’s final over seemed the last hope for the Tallawahs, but it was well negotiated for 10, and for the third game running the Afghan had gone wicketless.

Santner hit a four and a six, and despite Carter’s sluggish knock, the game was won with time to spare. With tactical changes seeing the Tridents record the highest successful chase of Hero CPL 2020, they were left wondering what might have been. The Tallawahs, meanwhile, will need to find some form tomorrow against the St Lucia Zouks before they face the formidable Knight Riders.''

Barbados Tridents 165/3 (J Holder 69, Carter 42*, Santner 35*; Lamichhane 1/26, Thomas 1/36, McSween 1/39) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 161/4 (Blackwood 74, Russell 54, Phillips 17; Bishop 1/30, Rashid 1/32, Walsh 1/34, J Holder 1/38) by 7 wickets

 

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