The Last Innings of the Caribbean Premiere League 2020

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  • The Toss

Fancy11 decodes the two teams in St. Lucia Zouks and Jamaica Tallawahs who have both qualified for the semi-finals and played the last league game in this edition of the Caribbean Premier League. 


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St. Lucia Zouks were the only team in the competition to have no batsman with more than 200 runs in this edition of the CPL before the start of this game. 


After winning the toss in their last league game against the Jamaica Tallawahs, St. Lucia Zouks skipper and two-time T20 World Cup winning captain in the veteran Darren Sammy chose to bat first. Adding to that he said that his side are looking to fine-tune things as part of their last bit of preparation before their Semifinal clash against the Guyana Amazon Warriors. 



  • Batting Worries For Zouks Again



Batting of St. Lucia Zouks have not really lit up their campaign. A good performance from their batsmen would not only help in getting the much needed morale booster before the knockout games – but also instill a sense of getting all bases covered. 


It’s only the second time in the history of Caribbean Premier League that the St. Lucia Zouks side have advanced to the top four situation and while they should be proud of how this tournament’s gone for them – they will know that they have tough opponents to beat. 


Rakheem Cornwall has been the pinch hitter for the St. Lucia Zouks side. Opening the batting for them pretty much throughout the tournament – his franchise banks on him to get those rousing starts during the first six overs that requires utilisation of field restrictions with some big and lusty blows. Anyone who has followed Cornwall’s batting abilities even remotely, will know that he is the man for the job. 


The burly all-rounder scored two boundaries off the last two deliveries of the opening over after the 38 year old Fidel Edwards made yet another impressive start with his pace and right areas. 


Left arm spinner Permaul was put away for a boundary in what was the other Zouks opener Mark Deyal’s first ball that he had faced in the first ball of the second over. A very confident shot, never intended to keep it to the ground as Deyal was up and running in no time. 


Rakheem likes to score big against the Jamaica Tallawahs. He got 75 off 30 in one of the two games against this opposition last season and  backed it up with a 51 in the return fixture. His 254 runs in the 2019 season came at a strike rate in excess of 190. 


The young and talented Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb, playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs – got his first wicket in three matches. After having a dream first half to the season, opposition batting line-ups have devised a method of not taking any risks while playing the young Afghan spinner but he returned to the wickets column when Mark deyal failed to pick up the googly and presented a faint edge to the keeper. 


Permaul, after being hit for a boundary of his first delivery in the match, made a very tidy comeback in conceding only a couple of runs in his next 11 balls. It was a slow and sedate start for Zouks as only 35 runs were made in the first six overs. 


West Indies all-rounder in Carlos Brathwaite was introduced into the bowling attack for the Tallawahs as soon as the powerplay ended. The tall cricketer created immediate impact when Andre Fletcher couldn’t connect one and had to depart after making only a solitary run. 


Roston Chase, who has been the leading run scorer for the St. Lucia Zouks in CPL 2020 came in as replacement after Andre Fletcher couldn’t deliver in a new role. Usually, throughout the season we have seen the keeper batsman open the innings with Rakheem Cornwall but was demoted to the number three slot to accommodate young Mark Deyal at the top. 


Neither could Deyal get going nor did we see Fletcher tee off in a manner he has shown us in the past that he can and that will be a growing concern for the St. Lucia Zouls side as they make their strategies to beat the cream of the tournament in upcoming matches. 



  • Lamichhane Spins A Web



Cornwall was struggling to force the pace with the Jamaica Tallawahs bowlers using their variations well in never allowing the Zouks batsmen get off the hook. The scoreboard was exactly at a run a ball for the loss of two wickets at the end of seven overs. 


Nepalese mystery bowler in Sandeep Lamichhane was seen getting enough assistance from the surface as his first delivery spun viciously after bouncing and reached the first slip. Even the windy conditions helped the Jamaica Tallawahs spinner. 


Cornwall went through the line of a conventional leg spin delivery and deposited a huge hit for a maximum. Sandeep Lamichhane showed immense character for the next delivery in slightly holding back the length, allowing the googly to get through the defences of the big man, becoming the third wicket to fall for St. Lucia Zouks. 


Mohammed Nabi had as many of 12 overs’ time to settle down and make a significant batting contribution. But he didn’t last long as he picked up his countryman Mujeeb at short fine leg, much to his disappointment. He’s a stroke maker and hasn’t played much of the anchor roles while batting throughout his career. 


Najibullah Zadran was slotted to come out next. You could believe that a better deal should have been him being sent out to bat before Nabi as the latter has done well to add to his reputation as a renowned finisher in various T20 leagues around the world. 


Zouks batting line-up have distributed the work load well – as their top 5 scorers and their runs are as follows – 

  1. Roston Chase – 203 
  2. Najibullah Zadran – 200
  3. Andre Fletcher – 172 
  4. Mohammad Nabi – 153
  5. Rakheem Cornwall – 142 


Chase and the Afghan left handed batsman in Najibullah reached the 200 run mark in the tournament in this game itself. 


Each of these five batsmen are in close proximity to each other. But considering they have played ten matches that comprised of the league matches in the tournament, these are not too many runs. Darren Sammy would be hoping for better returns when things will matter the most than it ever has in this edition. 


Zadran struggled against Lamichhane as the Nepalis spinner stitched together as many as five consecutive dot balls against the Afghan when he had just come out to the crease. 


Zadran has scored his 166 runs in the tournament before the final match at a strike rate of just more than 100. Yet another reason that he should have walked out to bat before the big hitting Nabi so that the anchor role was played and more wickets remained in the final overs to go for the big runs. That being said, Zadran should be looking for ways to score quicker in the pursuit to do well against the big teams of the competition in the matches that follow. 


Lamichhane continued troubling the Zouks batsmen, making life difficult for them as he followed up his good work with a maiden over to Roston Chase. This meant that the Asian leg spinner bowled eleven consecutive dot balls. 


Out of the first 19 balls of Lamichhane – 16 of them were dot balls before Najibullah Zadran revese swept him for a four and then again for a maximum as Zouks reached their team 100 with exactly five overs and six wickets remaining for the Darren Sammy led side. 


Carlos Brathwaite was struck for consecutive sixes by Najibullah Zadran, who was peppering the short side of the ground and adding important runs for his side. 


He was dropped when on 34, but couldn’t make much of the reprieve as Mujeeb did finally account for his countryman Zadran only a run later. 


Carlos Brathwaite was indisciplined while delivering the final over for the Tallawahs side, throwing down as many as four wides. There were 22 extras conceded by the Jamaica side and they would look to improve upon this aspect of their game. Runs in cricket are of paramount importance and more so in the shorter formats of the game as the margin of error becomes ever so little in these games with high and long-lasting consequences. 



  • The Tallawahs Make A Good Start



Chasing 146, Jamaica Tallawahs had Jermaine Blackwood and the leading run scorer in this year’s CPL – Glenn Phillips as their openers.  


Jermaine Blackwood has also made a good return to the West Indies Test team in playing a match-winning knock against the English side away from home that marked the return of cricket after the global pandemic.  


In his last game the defending champions in Barbados Tridents – who have already been knocked out of the tournament – Blackwood scored 74. Albiet it came in a losing cause as Tridents skipper Jason Holder played a beautiful innings of 69 in guiding their side to a victory – Tallawahs would be glad to see an opener from their team do well other than the very impressive Glenn Phillips. 


After the opening stand came out of the powerplay unscathed, they registered their second consecutive fifty plus stand. Even though the scoring rate was not extremely high, the fact that Jamaica had plenty of wickets in the bag would have kept them in a comfortable space of mind – atleast in that phase of the match. 



  • The Huge Collapse



What followed was an unimaginable capitulation from the Tallawahs side. First, they went from a dominant position of being 84/0 to 103/7 before they eventually fell short of the target total by 11 runs as St. Lucia Zouks scripted a memorable win to sign off their league campaign on a winning note. 


Chadwick Walton, Jamaica Tallawahs middle order batsman had scored 14 runs at an average 2 in CPL 2020 before the match and failed yet again. After the good work done by the openers, yet another Afghanistan bowling sensation in Zahir Khan changed the course of the match. The destructive Dre Russ was removed for a golden duck as the Afghan had a hat-trick chance at one point. 


An untested middle order didn’t rise to the occasion as their old friend in Zahir Khan haunted them (the Afghan spinner played for the Jamaica Tallawahs last season). The likes of Phillips at the top have done well in consistently getting the job done with the occasional bursts of madness by Andre Russell. But apart from that the Tallawahs have little else to show for their batting performances throughout the league stage. 


  1. Morale Sapping Loss For Jamaica 


Having one only three out of their ten fixtures so far in CPL 2020, Jamaica Tallawahs being led by a young captain in Rovman Powell have just made the cut for the qualification on the basis of a superior net run rate (NRR) as the defending champions in Barbados Tridents  were in a similar position as far as winning and losing matches were concerned. 


With their semifinal opponents being the rampaging Trinbago Knight Riders who have been on an absolute roll this season, having won all of their ten league games and with no clear weaknesses – Jamaica Tallawahs have a humongous task laid out in front of them. 



  • The Best Is Yet To Come 



As Darren Sammy rightly pointed out in the post match presentation that the knock-out stages are a completely different ball game altogether. In his words, the Cricket Gods are crazy and how you have fared till this point of time in the tournament is of least significance. 


And that is exactly what sets it all up for a grandstand finish to yet another entertaining season of the Caribbean Premier League. Trinbago Knight Riders have done extremely well with each of their big names living up to their names and performing consistently – but one slip is all it takes for everything to come crashing down in these final stages. Ask Guyana Amazon Warriors from 2019. Ask Shoaib Malik. They would tell you that the scars are still there – haunting them. 

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