West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is expected to make his debut for Indian Premier League (IPL) team Chennai Super Kings by its fourth match, despite being declared fit enough to play.

The 36-year-old Bravo reported to the Super Kings IPL camp in Dubai with a knee injury, which he picked up during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) earlier this month.  The player has, however, since been cleared to return to the line-up but based on an agreement with the management team the West Indian will not be back in the lineup early.

So far, the Super Kings have already played three IPL games.  In Bravo’s absence, Englishman Sam Curran has been performing the overseas allrounder's job well, for the moment.

Bravo made history during last month’s CPL after becoming the first player in history to take 500 T20 wickets.  In addition, his Trinbago Knight Riders captured a fourth title on the back of an unbeaten season.  Bravo, who leads the CPL with most wickets taken, is currently 5th on the list of most career wickets in the IPL with 147.  The list is topped by Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga who has claimed 172.  The West Indian, however, tops the list for most wickets claimed in a tournament, with 32, a feat he accomplished during the 2013 edition.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will head into the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season in a record-breaking mood as he looks to topple either the fastest 100 or fastest 50 competition record.

Such marks will, however, not be easy to eclipse.  India batsman K.L. Rahul currently holds the record for the fastest 50, achieved in a meagre 14 balls, in 2018.  The fastest century was smacked by no other than legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle who reached the mark, in 2013, in just 30 deliveries.

Pooran has, however, looked in good form recently.  Just last month, he cracked 10 sixes in a 45-ball epic worth 100 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

"Any. Fastest fifty or the fastest hundred,” Pooran replied when asked which record, he would like to break in a recent Espn Cricinfo interview.

The player, however, also reflected on his performance in the IPL, which he believes could have been better.

 "I don't think that I've too many great IPL performances. I had a couple of scores last year and the one against the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) was good."

The batsman represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last season.

 

 

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.

West Indies all-rounder Rakheem Cornwall insists he was ready to go for the St Lucia Zouks, despite not being picked to bowl in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final.

The decision not to bowl Cornwall, who recently came back from representing the West Indies in England, raised a few eyebrows.  But, the spinner has not been among the tournaments leading wicket-takers for several seasons.  In addition, Zouks captain Darren Sammy had a battery of spin bowlers at his disposal, which included Roston Chase, who took more wickets than Cornwall in England.

In the end, after making it to their first CPL final, as heavy underdogs, the Zouks fell short to the Trinbago Knight Riders.  Cornwall has insisted he was fit and ready to perform but his omission from the line-up was the captain’s choice.

“It was basically the captain’s decision; maybe it was his gut feeling to go for the other bowlers.  He thought he didn’t need me at that time so he went for especially his depth bowlers,” Cornwall recently told the Antigua Observer.

"The pitch was a spin bowlers pitch and I am always ready for whenever he calls on me and if he doesn’t then it is the case but I’m always set and ready if I am called upon,” he added.

 

Barbados Cricket Director Stephen Leslie has called on regional cricket custodians to do more to ensure top local T20 talent is not cast aside, in light of limited places in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The recently concluded edition of the tournament, which was won by the Trinbago Knight Riders, did feature some of the region’s emerging talent.  In fact, a list of 20 young players was, as is required, named ahead of the tournament and several players featured prominently throughout the competition. 

The list included Alick Athanaze, Joshua Bishop, Leniko Boucher, Keacy Carty Roland Cato, Joshua da Silva, Dominic Drakes, Amir Jangoo, Nicholas Kirton, Mikyle Louis, Kirk McKenzie, Kimani Melius, Ashmead Nedd, Jeavor Royal, Jayden Seales, Keagan Simmons, Kevin Sinclair, Shamar Springer, Bhaskar Yadram and Nyeem Young. 

There are, however, a few players who remain outside this group.  Leslie pointed to the example of Roshon Primus who represented Trinbago Knight Riders in the two previous seasons.  Leslie believes the idea of another country-based T20 tournament could be considered.

“The CPL has a franchise model, which in my view, has not been able to expose the best T20 cricketer that ply their trade in the Caribbean,” Leslie told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I’ll give an example of Barbados.  Barbados started a T20 domestic tournament back in 2009.  Every year there are some players that contribute very well.  Roshon Primus, for example, does extremely well, but the opportunity for Roshon Primus to be selected, I’m not sure there is that level of transparency,” he added.

“Simply put, you can have young U-19 West Indies players given an opportunity to make the franchises because they were on a global stage. You can have the West Indies emerging players from the Super50, did very well, given an opportunity to play T20 cricket.  But what happens to local Barbadian T20 players, Trinidadians, and those across the region who ply their trade and play consistently well in their domestic tournament.  I believe there is very little for those persons.”

Jeff Miller has spoken highly of Jermaine Blackwood and sees him as part of the Jamaica Tallawahs squad in the next season of the Hero CPL.

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Director of Operations, Michael Hall, has hailed the recently concluded edition of the tournament as a huge success, in light of the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s staging, which had initially been in doubt due to the global coronavirus outbreak, was eventually staged in Trinidad and Tobago in a biosecure environment, without fans.  The Trinbago Knight Riders created history by being the first team to claim the title without losing a match.

Things, however, did not go off without a hitch.  Many spectators took issue with the standard of play at the low-scoring tournament, while many players struggled with the quarantine requirements and conditions of the heavily used pitches.  Hall, while accepting that there were challenges and admitting that he was eager to see things return to normal, believed things went reasonably well.

“I think by any measure, this year, the Caribbean Premier League was a resounding success for the simple reason that we were able to do what we did, stage the tournament successfully, have some decent cricket played despite the fact that a number of cricketers would have been rusty,” Hall told the Mason and Guest radio program.

 “To pull it together, to stage it, to have it successfully completed without anyone testing positive for the virus throughout that entire almost eight-week period, anyone that tries to tell me the Caribbean Premier League was not a success this year, I am having none of it,” he added.

Despite no fans being in the stadium, this season's CPL was the most viewed tournament in the history of the competition.

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.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller is standing behind Head Coach Floyd Reifer and Captain Rovman Powell following the team’s disappointing performance in the 2020 Hero CPL.

West Indies legendary fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts has criticised the recent pitches used in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for offering significant assistance to otherwise average bowlers.

The surfaces at the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) were at the centre of attention for most of the campaign.  Many argued that the condition of the surface played a significant part in scores that were much lower than usual.  In the end, the tournament was won by the home team, Trinbago Knight Riders who often did not seem to struggle on the surface.  In fact, the Knight Riders ended with a perfect record.  Also not finding fault with the surface, however, was the majority of the bowlers.

“I know we blame COVID for everything but this is not one of the things we should try to blame on COVID…we are making bowlers look 10 times as good as they are and especially in the spin department,” Roberts recently said on Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo Radio program.

The competition was held in unusual circumstances this season, with all the matches held in Trinidad and Tobago due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  Roberts, however, still believes the pitches, notwithstanding, could be better prepared.

“You knew about three or four months ago that you’re going to have this tournament in Trinidad, one country, but you have two different facilities that you are going to play at so arrangements should be made to get all the pitches up to a certain standard,” he added.

“When I say all, I mean the entire square, because you can’t just use two pitches for the number of matches you are going to be playing on them.”

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.

Trinbago Knight Riders man-of-the-match Lendl Simmons revealed that he was spurred on by the previous season’s failure and determined to see them over the line this time around.

In the end, it proved to be a reversed performance of sorts for Simmons, when considering the Knight Riders' previous Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign.  Last season, he started the competition well but went missing in the later rounds.  His 1 run against the Tridents, in the semi-finals, perhaps set the stage for the team's loss.

One season later, after a poor start to the competition, Simmons is free to bellow his redemption song.  His 54 from 44 in the semi-final and 84 from 49 in the final game, played a big role in the Knight Riders not only lifting the title but achieving a historic unbeaten season.

“Last year I did well in the prelims and when it came to the semi-finals, I didn’t get a score and we ended up losing the game.  So, I took the responsibility upon myself to make sure we got it over the line this time," Simmons said following the game.

“I did not start the tournament well, but I ended well, and I am happy with my performance,” he added.

Simmons finished the tournament as the top runs getter with a total of 356.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle could become the first batsman to hit 1000 T20 sixes if his uncanny obsession for clearing the boundary rope continues in the upcoming IPL season.

Currently, the 40-year-old big hitter has tallied a total of 978 sixes in T20 cricket so far.  If he can add another 22 to his 326 IPL sixes, the batsman will repeat the all too familiar habit of writing his name in the T20 cricket record books.

Gayle will be odds on favourite to achieve the feat as well.  In 11 seasons of IPL cricket to date, he has never failed to hit 22 sixes.  Last season he cleared the boundary rope 34 times and 27 times in the previous season.  Should he reach the tally it would only add to an already impressive resume racked up for the format.

Gayle has scored the most runs in T20 cricket (13,296), has the highest score (175), most sixes in an innings (18), and the fastest 100.  He has also hit the most fours with 1,026.

The West Indian is currently in training camp in Dubai, where he is preparing to face the new IPL season with Kings XI Punjab.  The batsman had been slated to take part in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for beaten finalist, St Lucia Zouks, but pulled out of the competition due to personal reasons.

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)

 

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