Caribbean Premier League Recap: Week One

The first week of the Caribbean Premier League has been action packed and full of exciting cricket. With a day off today we have a chance to recap the action from the first eight matches of this year’s tournament.

Game 1: Barbados (158/6) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors (109) by 49 runs.

Champions Barbados opened the tournament with a comprehensive victory over Guyana in a repeat of last year’s final. Batting first, they recovered from a sluggish start thanks to an excellent partnership from Shoaib Malik and wicket keeper Jonathan Carter. The real star of the show, however, was Captain Kieron Pollard. The Trinidadian showed why he is much loved in these parts by blasting 48 off just 26 balls to help his side reach a decent total.

Despite Pollard’s innings, Guyana would have fancied their chances of chasing down 159 to win, but the Barbados bowling attack never let them into the game. Ravi Rampaul, in particular, bowled with an unerring accuracy that gave the batsmen no chances to free their arms and was rewarded with figures of 3/16, while Jason Holder’s early run out of Lendl Simmons set the tone for the innings.

South African spinner Robin Peterson mopped up the lower order to finish with figures of 3/31, and with wickets falling at regular intervals nobody for the Warriors ever managed to get going and the holders cruised to victory.

Game 2: Saint Lucia Zouks (179/6) drew with Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel (10/0) Match Abandoned

A potentially exciting run chase was thwarted by the weather and the two sides had to settle for a point each. St. Lucia will feel they posted an excellent total with their hard hitting opening trio of Andre Fletcher, Johnson Charles and Kevin Pietersen getting them off to a flyer. Having reached 115/1 in the 14th over, the quick dismissals of both Fletcher (56) and Pietersen (42) looked like it might slow the Zouks down, but Henry Davids, Darren Sammy and Kyle Mayer all chipped in with late cameos to ensure no momentum was lost.

Red Steel batted for just five balls before the heavens opened, but that was enough time for Jaques Kallis to find the boundary twice and suggest we might have been in for a cracker.

Game 3: Barbados Tridents (161/4) beat Jamaica Tallawahs (145/9) by 16 runs

The Tridents made it two wins from two with a victory over Chris Gayle and the Jamaica Tallawahs. After a quiet opening game, Dwayne Smith found his form with a fine half century, while Shoaib Malik hit an unbeaten 43 off just 29 balls, and Jonathan Carter cracked 17 from just five deliveries to help the hosts past 160.

Much like in the first match when they removed Lendl Simmons, Barbados got rid of the opposition danger man cheaply – Gayle dismissed by Rayad Emrit for just nine. Australian Chris Lynn batted superbly for his 37 (23 balls) but his dismissal in the 14th over sparked a collapse and Barbados managed to sneak home with Robin Peterson (3/26) and Ravi Rampaul (2/21) again the pick of the bowlers.

Game 4: Saint Lucia Zouks (150/3) beat Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots (149/6) by seven wickets

St. Kitts and Nevis recovered from a disastrous start to their CPL career to post a reasonable score, but the Zouks had no problems at all in chasing it down with overs to spare, securing their first victory of the competition. The Patriots were 19/4 after 4.1 overs, but a fine half-century from captain Marlon Samuels, ably supported by both Devin Thomas and Sohail Tanvir allowed them to reach 149/6.

St. Lucia’s openers once again got them off to a flyer and made the chase little more than a formality. They put on 81 for the first wicket, before Fletcher was dismissed for 48(30). Kenny Mayer lasted just one ball, but the big hitting of Johnson Charles – who pummeled five sixes in his 69 not out – saw them home in the fifteenth over.

Game 5: Barbados Tridents (98/2) beat Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel (95/9) by eight wickets

Jason Holder produced the best bowling performance in the competition so far to lead the Tridents – who at this point looked unstoppable – to another victory. Holder’s final figures of 4-1-11-3 were as good as you are ever likely to see in T20 cricket, and rightly saw him declared man of the match. He also added a catch to dismiss Jaques Kallis and a run out in a match winning effort.

The Tridents batsmen made light work of a light total, with Dwayne Smith (33) and and Dilshan Munaweera (39) feasting on some weak bowling to put on 73 for the opening wicket before Jonathan Carter (15) and Shoaib Malik (10) saw them home.

Game 6: Saint Lucia Zouks (156/6) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors (154/5) by two runs

After a couple of one sided encounters we saw the most exciting action of the CPL tournament so far with the St. Lucia Zouks just pipping the Warriors to victory in a game that came down to the final ball. Once again, Fletcher (36) and Charles (47) were the star batsmen for the Zouks, cementing their status as the form batsmen of CPL 15. Once they had both departed the home side struggled to maintain their momentum, and they will no doubt have been slightly disappointed with their score.

In response, the Warriors reached 67/1 after 8 overs and looked in good position. However, they then lost two wickets in one over to the bowling of Eddie Leie (2/25) swinging the match back in St.Lucia’s favour. Brad Hodge (44) and Christopher Barnwell (25) dragged them close, but they came up agonisingly short of victory.

Game 7: Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots (143/8) beat Barbados Tridents (142/7) by one run.

Debutants St.Kitts and Nevis produced the upset of CPL ’15 so far when they took down the previously unbeaten reigning champions, Barbados Tridents in another thrilling encounter. The newcomers innings looked a little light on runs, but some lusty blows from Carlos Brathwaite (22 from 10) helped them to reach a defendable total.

Opening bowlers Sheldon Cotterall and Sohail Tanvir dropped the Tridents to 14/3 after five overs. Barbados recovered through a 93 run partnership between Shoaib Malik (35) and captain Kieron Pollard.  Pollard’s fantastic knock of 82 gave Barbados a chance but he was left stranded at the non strikers end with his side needing seven off the last two balls. Navin Stewart hit the first ball to the boundary, but Pollard was run out off the final ball attempting to come back for a tying second run.

Game 8: Jamaica Tallawahs (121/0) beat Saint Lucia Zouks (118/9) by ten wickets.

The World Boss, Chris Gayle, produced the sort of innings only he can to secure a walkover victory for the Jamaica Tallawahs against his buddy Kevin Pietersen’s Zouks side. Pietersen (25) and Johnson Charles (29) had been the only Zouk’s batsmen to hit their straps as the home side laboured to a paltry 118/9 from their 20 overs.

It was never going to be enough, but Gayle, assisted by Chadwick Walton’s run a ball 25, made a mockery of it and the Tallawahs needed just ten overs to reach the total. Gayle finished just ten short of his century, hitting six fours and nine sixes from his 36 balls in what was unarguably the best innings of the CPL tournament so far.

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