A fine all-round bowling display saw Trinbago Knight Riders win the battle of the unbeaten teams and go to the top of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table. Glenn Phillips was the only standout for the Jamaica Tallawahs as the power-hitters struggled for fluency, and Sunil Narine’s second consecutive 50 did the bulk of the work even as the Knight Riders took their time about the chase.

Barbados Tridents skipper Jason Holder insists he is looking for ‘smarter’ batting performances from the team after coming out on the wrong side of a 7-wicket D/L to the St Lucia Zouks on Thursday.

Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi needs to perform a little differently if he is to avoid the interviews he doesn’t like.

St Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy has hailed the team’s deep and varied bowling attack on the back of a 7-wicket D/L over the Barbados Tridents on Thursday.

The St Lucia Zouks’ mix of smarts and firepower saw them home in a breathless chase after a heavy rain shower cut short a Barbados Tridents innings that started brilliantly but was derailed the Zouks’ battery of off-spinners. A late burst of four wickets for 11 runs in 18 just balls proved crucial in keeping the revised target in range, as the power of Rakheem Cornwall and the perennial excellence of Mohammad Nabi meant even Rashid Khan couldn’t deny the Zouks their first win of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020.

West Indies all-rounder Keem Paul, despite bagging 4-19 in his second match of the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League to help give his Guyana Amazon Warriors their first points of the season still feels he did not do as well as he should have.

Keemo Paul and the spinners handsomely repaid Guyana Amazon Warriors’ decision to go with an unchanged XI from their opening day loss, and Shimron Hetmyer’s brilliance meant even a misfiring batting line-up won with time to spare, consigning St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to the bottom of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table.

Jamaica Tallawahs captain Rovman Powell has hailed the team’s bowling effort in a five-wicket win over the St Lucia Zouks on Wednesday.

Batting first the Zouks post 158 for 7, a respectable score, but at 144 for 5 after 17.2 overs seemed set to score in the region of 170.  Under pressure from a miserly spin attack, from the Tallawahs, things started to unravel for the Zouks. After losing their set batsman Chase, they failed to hit a boundary from that point on. In the last 22 balls, they managed only 14 runs, and a total that seemed to be headed towards 175 fell well short.

Offspinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sandeep Lamichhane played a starring role for the Tallawahs, their clever and un-predictable variations making it difficult for the Zouks to cut loose.  Lamicchane was the more economical of the pair, giving away 23 runs from his four overs, with Mujeeb conceding 25.

“I think the was pleased with the way the guys bowled,” Powell said, following the game.

In the last 10 they scored around 70, 80, and whenever you do that you in for a victory and I think that what set up the game for us a batting unit,” he added.

“We wanted to win a little more comfortable but there is plenty of room for improvement.”

 

Asif Ali finished the game in style as the Jamaica Tallawahs middle-order put the rest of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on notice, recovering from a top-order collapse to make light work of a tricky target against the St Lucia Zouks. 

Rakheem Cornwall battered Oshane Thomas for two fours in the game’s first over, and Andre Russell dropped Andre Fletcher on just 4, but captain Rovman Powell made no mistake when Cornwall it to him at cover when the batsman was on 9. 

Mark Deyal cut Mujeeb-ur-Rahman for four and lofted Permaul for consecutive Hero Maximums, but Permaul had his revenge, keeper Chadwick Walton taking a neat catch. Fletcher struggled against Mujeeb but sent Permaul into the stands over long-on, and the Zouks closed the GuardianLife Powerplay at 52/2.

Thomas sent down four wides and was pulled for four by Chase, and while Russell’s bouncer was too hot for Fletcher to handle, Chase was quickly onto a hook for his first six. Najibullah Zadran launched Sandeep Lamichhane onto the grass bank, and another boundary from Chase off Russell took the Zouks to 86/3 at halfway.

Lamichhane kept Najibullah quiet with a series of googlies, and while Chase relieved the pressure with a pull off Carlos Brathwaite and a cover drive off Lamichhane, the Nepalese spinner came back beautifully to almost have Chase out twice in two balls.

Big hitters Daren Sammy and Mohammad Nabi were kept waiting as Chase and Najibullah were forced to run hard to keep the scoreboard ticking. Four twos in a row might have taken it out of Najibullah as a flat-bat found only Powell at long-off, the catch held despite a collision with Permaul.

Nabi took Mujeeb for a huge Hero Maximum and a deft four, but his countryman took revenge with a simple return catch. Chase brought up his first-ever T20 fifty off 39 balls, but Mujeeb beat him in the flight to give Thomas a simple catch at point. 

With Russell accurate at the death, Sammy was forced to risk a tight second run and Powell’s hard throw found him short. Despite the slow finish, the Zouks’ 158/7 was the highest total of Hero CPL 2020 so far.

The Tallawahs struggled early, and a frustrated Walton skied Obed McCoy to Sammy at mid-off. The Zouks used a different bowler for each of the first four overs, and none of them went for even a single boundary.

Nicholas Kirton tried to break free, but Deyal pulled off the Republic Bank Classic Catch of the tournament so far, leaping almost behind him to pluck a pull shot from the sky and reduce the Tallawahs to 13/2 in the 5th over.

Powell began the rescue mission off his first two balls, hitting Scott Kuggeleijn for four and then a powerful flat Hero Maximum. Phillips lofted Zahir Khan or a four-and-six pair of his own, but at 36/2 the Tallawahs were behind the game after the Powerplay.

But it was a different story in the middle overs. Phillips meted out brutal treatment to Kesrick Williams, and Powell clubbed a pull followed by a straight six off Zahir. All of a sudden, the Tallawahs were ahead of the required run rate.

Sammy sensed the danger and brought back McCoy, and Phillips had to wait till the last ball of the over for a boundary. Powell tried to take on Cornwall but found only deep midwicket, and at the Angostura LLB drinks break, the Tallawahs were 78/3 needing a further 83, and the game was finely balanced.

But Asif Ali blasted his third ball over the ropes and was unfazed by the loss of Phillips. A four off Nabi kept things ticking, and a free hit and a brutal Russell cut shot meant the 13th over went for double figures. Russell pulled the last ball of the fourth for four and the Tallwahs entered the last six overs needing 50.

The 15th over went boundary-less and Russell and Asif had to take a chance off Zahir’s last. They responded in style, with Asif dancing down the track for a Hero Maximum and Russell easing a short ball for four.

The Zouks had a chance when a Williams slower ball drew a thin edge from Russell, and thus Brathwaite joined Asif with the required run rate above 9. But an Asif dink and two Brathwaite bludgeons, plus a dropped catch by Sammy, meant Kuggeleijn’s last over went for 16 and the game was as good as won.

The Zouks will feel they left a few runs out there, and Sammy underused himself and Nabi, but today belonged to the Tallawahs’ power-hitters.  A good measure of how comfortable they were, in the end, was, despite Andre Russell scoring at under a run a ball, the game was won with an over to spare. 

Summary: Jamaica Tallawahs 160/5 (Asif Ali 47*, Phillips 44, Powell 26, Brathwaite 18*; Williams 2/32, Cornwall 1/9, McCoy 1/28, Nabi 0/13) beat St Lucia Zouks 158/7 (Chase 52, Najibullah 25, Fletcher 22, Deyal 17; Mujeeb 2/25, Permaul 2/34, Lamichhane 1/23, Russell 1/32) by 5 wickets

 Coming up later today: Guyana Amazon Warriors v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots (5:30 pm), Brian Lara Cricket Academy

 

 

 

 

 

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

Cricket West Indie CEO Johnny Grave has expressed delight with the start of this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament, amidst complications caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The West Indies became one of the first teams to return to international cricket last month, after embarking on a three-match tour of England.  The entire series, which the West Indies lost 2-1, took place in a biosecure environment.

Likewise, the region has been among the first to return to hosting a major T20 franchise tournament when the CPL tipped off on Tuesday.  The entire tournament will take place in Trinidad and Tobago, where another bio-secure environment has been established.  Grave believes the return of the tournament to the region’s pitches will provide a boost to players and fans alike, despite this edition being played in an empty stadium.

“I think it’s great that we have cricket back on in the region.  We are very proud of the fact that with England and Wales Cricket Board we were able to bring international cricket back to the world,” Grave said.

“It’s great for everyone in the region, it’s brilliant for our players.  It’s great for cricket fans around the world that they’ve now got almost doubleheaders every single day for the next few weeks to enjoy,” he added.

“We haven’t had any regional cricket since the West Indies Championship finished in March.  So, I think the West Indians involved in CPL alone will pick up collectively US$2m.  It is really important to them as professional cricketers that they can earn some much-needed match fees from the tournament.”

Guyana Amazon Warriors captain Chris Green was confident the team had enough runs on the board but believes failing to adhere to its bowling plan proved costly.

In truth, perhaps the Warriors, last season’s beaten finalist, will be relieved to not match the previous campaign's accomplishments, where they did not lose a match until the final of the competition.  On Tuesday, on the back of the sizzling 63 from Shimron Hetmyer and 33 from Ross Taylor saw the post a respectable 144 for 5 in a reduced 17 overs.

In defense of the total, the Warriors got off to a strong start.  Afghan pace sensation Naveen-ul-Haq, teamed with Green and Romario Shepherd combining to keep Knight Riders’ openers Narine and Lendl Simmons to just 9 off the first 3 overs.  The Knight Riders found their feet with Narine hitting Green over midwicket.

"It was going to be tough beating 11 wins in a row from last year. Was a tough game, and the first game in a long time, so. Given the start, losing two early wickets, I think Taylor and Hetmyer batted really well,” Green said.

“We thought 140 would be a good score. We spoke about holding that length, and when we went away from that, we got hurt. Plenty of room for improvement."

 Barbados Tridents used every bit of depth they had to start the defence of their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title with a win over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots that looked impossible just 15 balls into the match.

Sheldon Cottrell struck with his fourth ball, bowling Johnson Charles as he tried to whip to leg. He pinged Corey Anderson on the head first ball then had him caught at point by Evin Lewis, and when Hope sliced Tanvir to the same fielder the champions were reeling at 8/3 in the third over. Their response was spectacular.

Kyle Mayers took a Tanvir over for 14, and Jason Holder joined in by effortlessly flicking a Hero Maximum over square leg off Alzarri Joseph. Mayers pulled powerfully for two more sixes of his own, and from a hopeless position, the Tridents found themselves 51/3 at the end of the GuardianLife Powerplay.

Holder flicked then drove Ish Sodhi for six, bringing up a 50 partnership off just 25 balls. But the game swung back the Patriots’ way once more in the space of two balls.

First Mayers crashed Emrit to deep cover, then Evin Lewis pulled off a direct hit to send back Jonathan Carter. The Tridents had gone from 8/3 to 69/3 to 69/5 as the game continued to move at a breathless pace. Raymon Reifer picked out a lone boundary fielder off Emrit, and Ben Dunk then held a beauty off Sodhi to dismiss the well-set Holder, but here the Tridents’ deep batting lineup came into its own.

Ashley Nurse swung Joseph straight to Lynn, but Rashid Khan had jaws hitting floors with an astonishing helicopter flick for six. Santner fell timing a ball sweetly but straight to the fielder to leave Rashid batting with the capable Hayden Walsh Jr at no.11.

Tanvir and Cottrell were just as impressive at the death as at the top, going for just seven off their combined fourth overs, but Rashid showed his power and craft to plunder a couple of late boundaries to drag the Tridents over 150.

Walsh Jr let Lewis off the hook on zero, dropping a simple chance at point. But Santner kept things tight with the first maiden of Hero CPL 2020, Holder kept the pressure on, and that pressure told as Lynn carved Santner to Walsh Jr who held on this time.

With Lewis struggling, the Patriots crawled to 33/1 off the Powerplay. Rashid’s first ball was loose and Lewis crashed it for four, but the Afghan showed yet another facet of his game to run out the dangerous Trinidadian. Joshua da Silva, promoted to three on T20 debut, crashed a drive into the bowlers’ wicket, and Rashid reacted first to knock out the remaining stumps and catch Lewis short.

Dunk powered Nurse and Walsh Jr for a boundary each to keep things moving, then sent Reifer to the fence and then over it for the Patriots’ first Hero Maximum, leaving the Patriots 81/2 at the Angostura LLB drinks breaks.

Da Silva picked up a few boundaries off Rashid but struggled to score above a run a ball. Then Santner returned in style - Dunk went for power but toe-ended to Mayers at long-on. Holder kept his bowlers going in one-over spells, never allowing Da Silva and new Patriots signing Denesh Ramdin to settle.

Nurse almost pulled off an unbelievable catch in Santner’s last over, but Rashid was not to be denied. Walsh Jr came up with a true Republic Bank Classic Catch at deep midwicket to send Ramdin packing and the googly next ball was too good for Jahmar Hamilton. He couldn’t pick up a second Hero CPL hat-trick, but the damage was done.

 Da Silva kept swinging but found no timing or placement, and though Tanvir demonstrated his power with a pull for four off Reifer, even with a no-ball, a free-hit and a monster six onto the bank from Tanvir, Mayers had enough to defend off the last over. With only five wickets down, and from the start they made with the ball, the Patriots will be wondering how they let this one get away.

 Summary: Barbados Tridents 153/9 (Holder 38, Mayers 37, Rashid 26*; Emrit 2/16, Cottrell 2/16, Tanvir 2/25) beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 147/5 (Da Silva 41*, Dunk 34, Lynn 19; Santner 2/18, Rashid 2/27) by 6 runs

 Upcoming Fixture: Wednesday 19 August - Match 3: Jamaica Tallawahs v St Lucia Zouks (10am), Brian Lara Cricket Academy.

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard admits it was a relief to put points on the board, despite a ‘scrappy’ win over Guyana Amazon Warriors to tip off the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Mystery spinner Sunil Narine played a starring role with a fiery 50 from 28 balls and miserly 2 wickets for 19 runs in a four-wicket win for the T&T-based franchise.  On the back of an unbeaten 63 from just 44 balls from Amazon Warriors batsman Shimon Hetmyer, the Guyana franchise put 144 runs on the board.

Though by no means an intimidating total, the Knight Riders did not have a smooth run chase.  The bowling of Warriors captain Chris Green and Romario Shepherd kept the Knight Riders’ Narine and Lendl Simmons to just 9 off the first 3 overs.  Simmons, in particular looked out of sorts, missing four of Shepherd's slower balls in a row.  But then, Narine got cracking with a series of searing sixes to the Warriors on the back foot and pull the Knight Riders back into the game.

"Any competition, you want to start well. A little scratchy and scrappy but good to get over the line,” Pollard said following the game.

“We needed to play a good game of cricket and it was a good game of cricket. Points on the board at the start,” he added.

Sunil Narine’s whirlwind 50 and miserly 2 for 19 saw Trinbago Knight Riders kick off the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 in style, easing past Guyana Amazon Warriors in the tournament opener, at Tarouba, despite Shimron Hetmyer’s unbeaten 63 off just 44 balls.

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