The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has won the award for “Best Use of Social Media” from the prestigious International Sports Convention (ISC) for the league’s social media and content strategy during 2020 at the annual International Sports Awards.

The tournament took place between 18 August and 10 September 2020, and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic it was played behind closed doors. Because of this, the use of social media to keep fans engaged was more important than ever.  CPL achieved great results, with over one million new followers added and over 300 million social media video views achieved during the tournament period alone.

From the point that the lockdowns started earlier in 2020 Hero CPL worked tirelessly to keep fans entertained. From broadcasting archive matches with new commentary from the likes of Tom Moody and Ian Bishop, to arranging for the player draft to be done remotely with a world-class punditry panel, keeping fans entertained and engaged was at the centre of the tournament’s thinking.

During the tournament itself, live CPL games were broadcast into 77 countries on Facebook and YouTube as well as sending out highlights clips worldwide. The tournament also worked with broadcast partners Sunset+Vine to create fun and engaging content so fans could learn what it was like inside the tournament’s bio-secure bubble.  Hero CPL also launched the “Life Stories” films on the tournament’s social media channels. These beautifully made films focused on the lives of up and coming Caribbean cricketers and won plaudits from around the world.

Hero CPL has also started sharing content on a number of new social media channels such as TikTok, Twitch, Triller and Instagram Reels.

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.

 

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.”

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.

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

 

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

 

St Lucia Zouks pace bowler, Kesrick Williams, has rubbished the idea of players claiming to underperform at this season's CPL tournament because of pitches, as he insists there has been plenty of time to adjust.

The competition has so far been plagued by a number of low scoring total’s, and batsmen seemingly unable to come to grips what has so far proven to be a surface that favours bowlers.  There has so far been very little issue for Williams and the Zouks, though, as they have racked up five wins and currently occupying the third spot.

“I don’t have a problem with the pitches, to be honest.  These wickets, I love these wickets, for me, they show how skillful you are as a bowler.  If you are just running in and bowling fast and trying to hit the deck, then you are going to go for runs,” Williams told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“If you look at the guys that are getting wickets, they have skill.  T20 is a batter’s game, everyone wants to see balls hit wickets.  At the end of the day, these wickets are not suitable for T20 cricket but we are professionals and we have to learn to adjust.  If we can’t adjust as professionals it makes no sense to play cricket because you will have times like this,” he added.

Williams and the Zouks have certainly adjusted.  The team’s five wins and three losses have put them in a place-off spot for the first time in the franchise’s history.

 

Former West Indies batting coach Toby Radford believes ‘quarantine fatigue’ could explain the poor performance of some players currently taking part in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

So far this year’s edition of the tournament, which has been staged in the unusual circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, has in many instances produced low scores and poor batting performances. 

There have been many factors blame for some of the poor showing, the absence of a crowd, poorly prepared pitches, and players that are still rusty, are some of a few that have been advanced.  However, another is the length of time some players have been away from family and friends in back-to-back quarantine-required competition.

For players like West Indies captain Jason Holder, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jermaine Blackwood, Shai Hope, and other members of the regional team that toured England, the CPL follows several weeks of quarantine during the international series.  With even more restrictive conditions in the CPL, Radcliffe believes the isolation could be taking its toll.

“I’m not making excuses for them but some of those guys have been in a bubble in the UK for two or three months earlier in the summer.  I think some were back in Barbados for about 5 days before heading back to Trinidad for another bubble,” Radcliffe told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“They’ve barely been home in the last 3 and a half months, that’s no excuse, but it does have an effect.  It is attritional, even if you are away from home for those times normally on tour you can go to a restaurant, you can eat out, meet up with your family and get away from cricket…it does have a mental effect.”

Guyana Amazon Warriors star batsman Shimron Hetmyer feels confident last year’s beaten finalists are beginning to gain momentum, following an indifferent start to the competition.

Hetmyer blasted an enterprising 56 from 35 balls in a low-scoring encounter as the Warriors eased past the St Lucia Zouks book their place in the competition’s semi-finals.  The win was the fifth but third in a row for the Guyana based franchise.

The team won two of its first three matches but then struggled to keep momentum after losing the next three games in a row.  Hetmyer, however, believes the team’s latest win shows full confidence is growing within the squad following its latest win.

“The guys are starting to work much harder than before and starting to believe in ourselves a little more each and every day.  From here on out its just us taking it one game at a time,” Hetmyer said.

Personally, his individual performance would also have been pleasing for Hetmyer who failed to get into double digits in the last three games with scores of 9 and 1.

“It’s coming back I thought I lost it a few years ago, but I’m working on it and trying to stay a little bit more focused on my game and how to start, build and finish and innings.”

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.

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