5 Noteworthy Performances from CPL20

Wed, Sep 16, '20


Caribbean Premier League

The Hero Caribbean Premier League, last week, completed its eighth season of competition with the Trinbago Knight Riders being crowned champions for the fourth time—the most in the competition’s history. Admittedly, the tournament was far from its best, coming up under par, in terms of runs-scoring, with teams averaging 122 runs per innings; down from the competition’s 2019 average of 151. Nevertheless, I think fans will agree that the best two teams made it to the finale, and gave us one of the better matches of the season, in terms of competitiveness.

Now, prior to that final, the tournament’s commentary team, inclusive of Samuel Badree, Daren Ganga, Danny Morrison, Ian Bishop, and Tom Moody assembled a ‘Team of the Tournament’. An XI which included two West Indian T20 protégés, in addition to another, as one of two 12th men. In this article, we’ll take a look at five young Caribbean T20’s stars—for which we have high hopes—whose stock either rose, held firm, or took a plummet in this year’s CPL.


Thomas & Rutherford-

Oshane Thomas burst onto the scene in 2017, set the place alight in 2018, and, to be honest, he’s not looked the same since. In the 2017 season of the Caribbean Premier League, he played two games, and had our collective attention with the wicket of Chris Gayle, then, of the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots. So impressive was his display, it warranted a full season the following year; a quite remarkable 2018 season saw him being the best pace-bowler in the tournament, without question. He finished second on the wickets’ charts, with 18 wickets at an average of 17.66 and an economy rate of 8.36. Following which, he earned an International call-up, an IPL contract, and a trip to the 2019 Cricket World Cup—all deserved.

Unfortunately, Thomas’ form has since fallen off. After returning from the World Cup, he was left out of a few West Indies white-ball squads. But with Coach Simmons’ appointment, came a personal interest in the Jamaican, who has since made a return to both formats. Taking 3 for 41 on his last One-Day International appearance, complemented by 6 wickets in his last two T20 Internationals—including a five-wicket haul, at an average of 8.66 runs per wicket. While even being a part of the West Indies Test tour of England in July, as part of the reserves.

Which was reason enough for Tallawahs fans to get excited, as there was an air of expectancy that Thomas would be coming back with confidence to rectify his 2019 performances. Instead, following figures of 18 for naught from 2 overs in the Tallawahs' CPL opener, the 23-year-old returned for the third game, only to bowl a single over for 24 runs. He was then dropped from the team, never to be seen until six games later, where he picked up his only wicket of the tournament.

Although Thomas put on a wonderful display in his last T20 series, that series was five months ago. And so, we are left to ponder what could possibly be halting the development of young Oshane Thomas, who went from being the Tallawahs main bowler, to playing just three games this season, conceding 78 runs for his one wicket.

As we touch on the topic of stalled development, we must make mention of Sherfane Rutherford. One of the least highlighted members of the current generation of T20 stars produced by the Caribbean, yet he is a member. In 2018, he finished the Canadian Global T20 League as the third-highest runs-scorer, firing Cricket West Indies B Team to the final. And Rutherford is in the running to succeed Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell as ‘finisher’ in the West Indies T20 set-up. Still having doubts? The current IPL Champions and the most successful team in the competition’s history, the mighty Mumbai Indians, this season, traded for the left-hander from the Delhi Capitals.

Yet, Rutherford finished this season with just 39 runs in 7 innings, averaging 5.57. And it was not just the failures this season, as much as the way the Guyanese looked throughout the tournament. He made his way to the crease before the 15th over on six occasions of the seven times he batted. In facing 51 deliveries and scoring just the 39 runs, Rutherford finished the season with a strike rate of 76.47. This means that a man with a career strike rate of 133.90, has been scoring significantly less than a run-a-ball in his last seven innings, having not impacted a single game with the bat for the Amazon Warriors before he was dropped.

Holding Firm:

Pooran & Hetmyer-

When we speak of the batsmen in the just-concluded season of the CPL, we do take into consideration the quality of the wickets on which they were made to play.

Trinidadian, Nicholas Pooran, is arguably on of the best young T20 batsmen in the world; and being the current vice-captain of both the Amazon Warriors and the West Indies T20I teams, he has clear leadership abilities. Pooran has been the ideal model for young West Indian white-ball batsmen to follow; with his growth, and maturity, he is currently on of the best readers of the game and decision-makers in the West Indies set-up.

Yet, despite his spectacular century this season, scoring at a rate of 22 runs per 10 deliveries—the only centurion in this season’s CPL—I must say that the wicket-keeper-batsman had an underwhelming season by his standards. In a tournament where he averaged just 16.11 runs in his remaining 10 innings, when his century knock is removed, Pooran was far from unsung. The left-hander got to double figures six times in the entire tournament, but went beyond to the 20-run mark just twice.

Just ahead of Pooran in the Amazon Warriors’ batting line-up is Shimron Hetmyer. The potential of Hetmyer, in all three formats of the game, has never been in question—save for his temperament and decision-making. Hetmyer, who was, in recent times, first, dropped from the West Indies team, then returned, after a second spell of absence due to fitness, with a mature innings of 43 not out in the 2nd T20 International, to anchor the West Indies to a T20 International series win over Sri Lanka.

Fans were looking for a prolonged period of form from the left-hander, picking up where he left off five months ago. And though Hetmyer began the tournament with consecutive half-centuries, he followed that up with five single-digit scores in his next six innings. Fortunately, the left-hander then came back in successfully leading the Amazon Warriors’ batting in their quest for a playoff spot.

Despite being named in the Team of the Tournament, neither Pooran or Hetmyer was consistent, nor were they at their best. Yet they were among the top scorers this season—showing the quality of batting in this year's competition.


Keemo Stands Alone –

Keemo, Keemo, Keemo. Is it not yet common knowledge that Keemo Paul will be the successor to DJ Bravo in the West Indies T20 set-up? Currently the best young death-bowler in the Caribbean and on the heels of Kesrick Williams and Sheldon Cottrell, Paul stood tall in yet another CPL season. At one point in his T20 career, the all-rounder was asked to bowl a' newish' ball, but has now comfortably slotted in as third-change bowler for the Amazon Warriors.

Which has worked well for Paul, picking up where he left off last season, coming in to dry up run-scoring, making games closer than they were ever supposed to be for his captain. Paul finished the season with nine wickets. He bowled eight times, of a possible ten, beyond the sixteenth over for his franchise, yet he finished the season with an economy rate of 7.32.

Hopefully, Keemo Paul is kept in the West Indies squad leading up to the, now, 2021 T20 World Cup.   

CPL team of the tournament:

Glenn Phillips (wk) – Jamaica Tallawahs 

Sunil Narine – Trinbago Knight Riders 

Shimron Hetmyer – Guyana Amazon Warriors 

Nicholas Pooran – Guyana Amazon Warriors 

Darren Bravo – Trinbago Knight Riders 

Kieron Pollard (capt) – Trinbago Knight Riders 

Mohammad Nabi – St Lucia Zouks 

Jason Holder – Barbados Tridents 

Rayad Emrit – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 

Imran Tahir – Guyana Amazon Warriors 

Mujeeb ur Rahman – Jamaica Tallawahs 

The selectors also picked one Caribbean and one overseas 12th man to round out the squad. These are as follows: 

Scott Kuggelejin – St Lucia Zouks

Keemo Paul – Guyana Amazon Warriors 



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