Former Australia bowler Brad Hogg has admitted to being left afraid of the awesome hitting power of Kieron Pollard when the two came face to face in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After a successful Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, where he captained the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to the title, the West Indies skipper is currently preparing for a tenth IPL season with Mumbai Indians.

With 2755 runs and a healthy strike rate of 146.8, displays of Pollards awesome hitting powerful have been plentiful in the IPL.  Hogg, however, got a firsthand demonstration, while playing for the Rajasthan Royal in 2012.

“It was game 12 in the IPL 2012 and we were playing the Mumbai Indians in the Wankhede Stadium. Rayudu and Pollard had been building a partnership and I had been brought into the attack. I was concerned about Pollard’s big muscles and the power with which he hits straight down the ground,” Hogg recalled on his Podcast.

  “I didn’t want to overpitch because I wanted to preserve my body.  So, I just wanted to bowl back of a length and use the wrong-un to beat the outside edge.  Well, I was a little too short and he pulled me through midwicket for four,” he added.

So, I’m going, get those courage pills, go fuller with the wrong-un because you know he is susceptible to it.  So, I did, came in a little fuller, a little overpitched, and Kieron Pollard absolutely loved it.  He got on top of it and smashed it straight back down the ground head height down the wicket.  Instead of coming to me, it went to his mate Rayudu who was backing up. He’s put his bat up to preserve his body. It’s come off the bat, I’m there backtracking because I’m afraid of the power of this shot.  The ball just drops right in front of me, I could have caught it.”

Pollard went on to make a half-century as Mumbai won the game.

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  1. Well-deserved CPL win Trinbago Knight Riders!

It is one thing to be strong on paper but ensuring that it translates to on the field is the true test. Execution is key in any sport.

The Trinbago Knight Riders demonstrated that critical characteristic as they clinched a record fourth Caribbean Premier League title in style, making light work of the St Lucia Zouks and winning by eight wickets in Thursday’s final.

In doing so, they completed a historic unbeaten campaign, winning all 12 games.

Overall, TKR was the strongest team in the tournament with both bat and ball. Their score of 185/3 against Barbados Tridents was the highest total in the competition this year. Captain Kieron Pollard who was awarded “Man of the Tournament”, led from the front with his own heroic performances. Even when key players sat out important matches for various reasons, other players stepped up ensuring that the team remained unbeaten.

 

  1. LaLiga is back and oozing with excitement!

          The curtain was raised on the 2020/2021 LaLiga season on Saturday with three matches. Eibar and Celta Vigo played to a goalless draw while Granada beat Athletic Club 2-0 and Osasuna overcame Cadiz 2-0.  What we know is that La Liga promises tons of excitement both on and off the field.

   With this season likely to be the last for Lionel Messi in LaLiga, I will be keeping an eye out for the young players hoping to step to fill the void.

Among the candidates is Ansu Fati, the breakout star at the Camp Nou last season. Just 17 years old, he forced his way into Barca’s first team scoring eight goals last season. He is also now the youngest scorer for the Spanish national side having found the net on debut earlier this month.

 

  1. Alex Morgan joins Tottenham Hotspur!

 Tottenham has captured the talents of forward Alex Morgan, one of the biggest names in sports in United States.  Apart from her undeniable skill, the 31-year-old will bring her commercial impact to the Women’s Soccer League.  She has 9.1 million followers on her Instagram account, more than the Spurs’ 8.5 million.

Alex, who will don the No.13 shirt for Spurs, helped the USA win back-to-back FIFA Women World Cups. She scored six goals in 2019's tournament in France. The new mom, who gave birth to her daughter on May 7, has scored 107 goals in 169 international appearances for the USA. The WSL has just attracted a lot more fans! Smart move!

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Lucia Zouks Captain Darren Sammy said his team fell several runs short of what was required to achieve victory against the Trinbago Knight Riders in today’s final of the 2020 Hero CPL.

Kieron Pollard believes the Trinbago Knight Riders were destined to win their fourth Hero CPL title this season.

 

Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo ensured Trinbago Knight Riders completed the first perfect season in franchise T20 history with an unbroken partnership of 138 off 88 balls, the highest of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 and the highest ever in a final. The St Lucia Zouks put up what seemed a competitive total, but ultimately a loss of 7/39 off the last 32 balls of their innings cost them dearly against this history-making Knight Riders squad. 

Rakheem Cornwall swept Akeal Hosein for four but was lucky to edge over DJ Bravo at slip. Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard gave the second over to Ali Khan, and Ali responded by flattening Cornwall’s middle stump. Andre Fletcher clipped fine for four, the Zouks thus closing the second over at 16/1.

 Mark Deyal slog-swept Hosein for two fours, and Fletcher was aggressive against Sikandar Raza, taking him over cover and long-on for Hero Maximums then cutting for four. Khary Pierre went for just five, but Fletcher twice smoked Ali through cover for four and the Zouks motored to 60/1 off the Powerplay.

 Deyal lofted Pierre over cover for four and launched Pollard for six, but struggled to combat Fawad Ahmed’s googly and edged to DJ Bravo at slip. Hosein returned with a tight over, and at halfway the Knight Riders had slowed the Zouks to 79/2.

Roston Chase clipped through midwicket for four early in Fawad’s second over, which went for 10, but Fletcher’s assault ended as he aimed Pollard down the ground but found only Darren Bravo at long-off. Najibullah Zadran slashed his first ball for four, and the over went for seven to leave the Zouks in need of a partnership at 79/3 off 12 overs.

While Chase slog-swept the last ball of Pierre’s over for a Hero Maximum, he and Mohammad Nabi fell within four balls, the former chipping a Pollard cutter to deep-mid on and the latter clubbing Fawad to long-off. Zouks captain Daren Sammy smashed his second ball for a Hero Maximum, and after 15 overs the Zouks were 123/5.

Despite a Najibullah four, Ali’s return over went for just six, and Sammy should have fallen to Hosein but Ali badly misjudged the catch. Najibullah flicked Hosein for a delightful Hero Maximum over cover, but Hosein recovered to dismiss Sammy LBW. After 17 overs, the Zouks were 138/6.

 DJ Bravo was unable to bowl, and so Pollard had to step up at the death and did so admirably, picking up two wickets with his off-cutter. First Javelle Glenn looped to backward point, then Najibullah failed to clear Raza at deep backward square off another cutter. Kesrick Williams was run out, Ali Khan bowled Zahir Khan with a perfect yorker, and the Knight Riders had bowled the Zouks out for a decent rather than dominant total.

 Simmons pulled Scott Kuggeleijn for four first ball of the chase, becoming Hero CPL’s all-time leading run-scorer in doing so. Webster swept Nabi for four but then top-edged off Chase, Williams taking a fine catch. After three overs, the Knight Riders were 14/1.


Tim Seifert got off the mark with a four off Kuggeleijn but fell edging behind next ball. Darren Bravo too got off the mark with a boundary, a glorious lofted Hero Maximum over long-on off Chase, and Simmons took fours straight, fine down the leg side and backward of point off Williams’ first over to close the Powerplay with the Knight Riders 40/2.

Chase and Nabi put the pressure on, going for just five between them, and Simmons and Bravo both struggled against Zahir. When Simmons did take on the big shot though he nailed it over the fence, and at halfway the Knight Riders were 59/2 and needed 96 more to win.

Sammy brought himself on and bowled five good deliveries, but Bravo smashed the sixth for a Hero Maximum, and Simmons pulled Williams for a six then cut him for four, becoming Hero CPL 2020’s leading run-scorer and bringing up his 50 off just 31 balls. Bravo though continued to struggle against Chase, who closed out a superb spell.

 After 13 overs, Bravo was just 23 off 32 balls, and the Knight Riders needed almost 10 an over, but he eased both of those equations somewhat with two Hero Maximums off Glenn. Williams’s third over went for nine thanks to two wides and a loose short ball, and the Knight Riders entered the last five overs needing 45 with eight wickets still in hand.

Kuggeleijn managed to go for just four off the 16th despite starting with a wide, but Simmons targeted Zahir, taking him for four off the first and six off the second. Bravo added two big Hero Maximums, the second bringing up his 50 off 45 balls. Suddenly, the Knight Riders needed just 18.

Simmons was not going to hang around now, walloping Kuggeleijn for a Hero Maximum over midwicket then clubbing him over cover and slicing him through third man for two fours. The winning runs came off an inside edge, but there was now no denying the Knight Riders’ domination of Hero CPL 2020.


All season, the Knight Riders had absorbed the loss of key personnel - Colin Munro fractured his hand, Ali Khan missed games, Narine had kidney stones removed and was unable to play the final with a knee injury. But perhaps the 12th and final win is the greatest measure of how great a squad Pollard and Brendon McCullum have built - victory was achieved two wickets down, with 11 balls to spare, without DJ Bravo bowling or Pollard batting. The Knight Riders had come together in the bubble and emerged from it to achieve something truly monumental.

Summary (Trinbago Knight Riders 157/2 (Simmons 84*, DM Bravo 58*; Chase 1/13, Kuggeleijn 1/30) beat St Lucia Zouks 154 all out (Fletcher 39, Deyal 29, Najibullah 24, Chase 22; Pollard 4/30, Fawad 2/22, Ali Khan 2/25, Hosein 1/26) by 8 wickets)

 

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.”

 

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.”

 

 

 

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

 

 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.

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots captain Rayad Emrit was left at a loss for words after a poor showing against the Trinbago Knight Riders to a 59 runs loss and 7th defeat of the campaign.

A short-handed Knight Riders, who were at the opposite end of the spectrum, winning their eighth game in a row, were led by a blistering 96 off just 63 ball from opener Lendl Simmons.  The onslaught underpinned the team's sizable total of 174 for 4, which, based on current form, the Patriots were hardly ever likely to threaten.  In the end, with only three batsmen making double figures, the team was restricted to 115 for 7.

I’m at a loss for words at the moment.  I think we’ve seen why TKR is so dominant throughout the tournament and why we are where we are at the moment,” Emrit said following the match.

“We just couldn’t get anything right.  They totally outplayed us in all departments.  I think that’s the outcome of the game.  It shows why they are on top,” he added.

In eight games so far the team has managed just one win and remains rooted to the foot of the table.

Trinbago Knight Riders' opening batsman Lendl Simmons has credited some tough love from uncle Phil Simmons with a breakout performance against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, in the CPL on Wednesday.

Simmons slammed a whirlwind 96 from just 63 balls, registering 7 fours and a towering 6 sixes.  His performance anchored a 174 innings for the Tridents, who then restricted St Kitts to 115 to score an eighth straight win.

Prior to the fireworks, Simmons had eked out an average season to date, registering scores of 32 and 25 against the Barbados Tridents and Jamaica Tallawahs respectively but with ducks against the Tallawahs and St Lucia Zouks.  According to Simmons, however, being able to bide his time with the team winning and encouragement from his uncle provided the motivation.

“I’ve been struggling for the last couple of games that I played.  I didn’t get the start to the tournament that we wanted but seeing that we were winning it game me confidence that I would come good at some point in time,” Simmons said.

“Last night I had a talk with Phil(Simmons) and he told me what I needed to hear and that reminded me of my ability and talent and what I can do.”

The Trinbago Knight Riders showed they are a formidable squad, not just a starting XI, as Kieron Pollard rested both himself and Sunil Narine from an experimental lineup that was still far too good for St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. Lendl Simmons found form, Sikandar Raza and Pravin Tambe were excellent with the ball, and the Patriots are all but out of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) semi-final contention.

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