The upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to be held entirely on the island of St Kitts & Nevis and bowls off on August 28.

Due to the threat posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire 2020 edition of the tournament was held in Trinidad and Tobago, under strict COVID-19 protocols.

In several respects, the tournament was a success with the event successfully being delivered to a record audience of over 500 million.  The Trinbago Knightriders were eventually crowned champions on their own patch.

St Kitts and Nevis’ Warner Park has been the scene of some of the most iconic matches in Hero CPL history.  Fans were treated to Chris Gayle’s brilliant hundred against the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2019 and Andre Russell’s even more explosive century against the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2016. There have also been some amazing matches, not least the game that went to a Super Over finish between St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Knight Riders in 2019.

This year’s tournament takes on extra significance with it taking place in the lead up to the ICC T20 World Cup and both West Indies and overseas players will be using the opportunity to push for selection for their international teams.

 “We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having the Hero CPL in St Kitts & Nevis in 2021 and we would like to thank those involved in welcoming the tournament to this wonderful country,” Pete Russell, Hero CPL’s COO, said.

“As was demonstrated during the 2020 tournament the CPL is a massive boost for the host country with US$51.5million delivered in sponsorship value for Trinidad & Tobago. We are really looking forward to giving St Kitts & Nevis the exposure they deserve.”

 

Kolkata Knight Riders ended their four-match IPL slump with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad.

KKR had lost each game since winning their tournament opener but were quickly on top on Monday, given a straightforward chase - led by captain Eoin Morgan (47 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (41) - after limiting the Kings to 123-9.

That total could easily have been far lower as Punjab failed to fire, with Mayank Agarwal their top scorer on an underwhelming 31 off 34.

By the time he departed to Sunil Narine in the 12th over, the Kings had just 60 runs on the board and had already lost three prior wickets - including Chris Gayle, who had previously averaged 47 against the Knight Riders but went for a duck.

Wickets continued to fall apace, but Chris Jordan ensured his side made three figures and then kept going, 30 off 18 keeping Punjab's slim hopes alive.

Those hopes grew when Kolkata made a similarly shaky start, losing three wickets in the first three overs.

But Tripathi survived and a partnership of 66 with Morgan set the stage for a stress-free finale, even with Andre Russell run out for 10.

A 13-run 16th over, including back-to-back Morgan boundaries, brought the finish line into view, with Dinesh Karthik's four then completing the job at 126-5 with 20 balls to spare.

Narine celebrations soon subside

The Knight Riders had not previously had much to savour this season, but Sunil Narine always enjoys himself against the Kings and figures of 2-22 took him to 30 Punjab wickets, the most of any bowler in the IPL.

His quota was finished by the time Jordan threatened a fightback, though, and then the West Indies all-rounder was unable to contribute with the bat as Ravi Bishnoi's outstanding diving catch ended his innings after four balls and no runs.

Morgan makes sure of no momentum swing

This has been a tough tournament for the Knight Riders and they might have feared another difficult outing against the Kings, who had been eight-wicket victors in their previous meeting in October.

But skipper Morgan was a typically steady presence throughout the chase before accelerating late on to pass 7,000 Twenty20 runs and ensure Kolkata retain the upper hand against a side they have now beaten in 13 of their past 16 outings.

Australia internationals Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are returning home from the Indian Premier League, while Ravichandran Ashwin has announced he is taking a break from the tournament.

Fast bowler Richardson played once in the 2021 edition, taking 1-29 from three overs in Bangalore's 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on April 22.

Leg-spinner Zampa, however, did not feature for the Royal Challengers, who confirmed the departure of the duo for personal reasons.

"Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," a statement on Twitter read.

Andrew Tye had become the first Australian to depart the IPL bubble on Sunday, a decision made by the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler over concerns about flights home amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

The country has been setting global records for daily figures, with over 17million confirmed cases in total during the pandemic.

"I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country," Tye told radio station SEN while in Doha awaiting to complete his journey to Australia.

"There's definitely concerns. A lot of guys have been in touch once they've realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it."

A three-day snap lockdown was placed on the Perth and Peel areas of Western Australia last week amid concerns over coronavirus spreading within communities.

Ashwin, meanwhile, is leaving the Delhi Capitals squad to focus on helping his family during the coronavirus crisis.

"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow," he tweeted on Sunday. "My family and extended family are putting up a fight against COVID-19 and I want to support them during these tough times. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you."

Ashwin has taken one wicket and posted an economy rate of 7.73 runs per over in his five outings for the Capitals, who defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to make it four wins in five outings.

Axar Patel hit the ground running as Delhi Capitals claimed a dramatic Super Over victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

The Capitals posted 159-4 on a slow pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Prithvi Shaw top-scoring with 53 from 39 balls and Rishabh Pant (37) and Steve Smith (34) both adding handy contributions.

Sunrisers looked beaten when Axar took two wickets in as many balls to reduce them to 117-6 in the 17th over, but Kane Williamson's unbeaten 66 from 51 deliveries kept them in the hunt.

They needed 16 to win off the last over from Kagiso Rabada and forced the Super Over after a boundary from Williamson and Jagadeesha Suchith's huge six over midwicket.

Williamson and David Warner were then restricted to just seven runs by Axar, who was handed the ball for the Super Over in his first match of the tournament after recovering from coronavirus.

Sunrisers were deducted a run as Warner's bat did not cross the line as he scampered back for a second off the final ball of Axar's over.

Shikhar Dhawan struck a boundary before he and Pant went through for a third leg bye of Rashid Khan's decisive over to secure a fourth victory from five matches for second-placed Delhi, who are level on points with leaders Chennai Super Kings.

Williamson did not deserve to be on the losing side after making an excellent half-century following Jonny Bairstow's blistering 38 from 18 balls, which included four sixes. Avesh Khan claimed 3-34 for the Daredevils.

 

Shaw steps up at the top of the order

The first three balls of the match sent down by Khaleel Ahmed were dispatched for four by Shaw and the Capitals had 26 on the board after two overs.

Shaw reached his half-century off 35 balls, with Dhawan bowled by Rashid Khan for 28 to end an opening stand of 81 in the 11th over.

Pant and Smith struck a six apiece after Shaw was run out, putting on 58 for the third wicket on a slow track with runs not easy to come by.

Axar makes up for lost time

Spinner Axar was stuck in quarantine as the Capitals made a promising start to the season following a positive COVID-19 test that brought him back down to earth after an outstanding Test series against England.

Avesh Khan removed Bairstow immediately after the England wicketkeeper-batsman hit him for six, after Warner had been run out for six, and the same bowler also saw the back of Virat Singh.

Axar was on a hat-trick after trapping Abhishek Sharma and Rashid Khan in the 17th over, and he bowled a tight Super Over to ensure Williamson's brilliant knock was in vain.

Ravindra Jadeja produced an utterly remarkable all-round performance as Chennai Super Kings extinguished Royal Challengers Bangalore's 100 per cent record with a thumping 69-run Indian Premier League victory.

Bangalore's attack combined to shackle Chennai to reasonable effect until Jadeja – dropped on nought by Dan Christian – laid waste to the final over of the innings from Harshal Patel (3-51), taking advantage of a no ball to bludgeon 37 and finish on 62 not out in a total of 191-4.

The Royal Challengers will still have harboured high hopes after Devdutt Padikkal and skipper Virat Kohli chased down 178 without loss against Rajasthan Royals last time out, but there was to be no repeat of those heroics as they staggered to 122-9, Jadeja starring with 3-13 and a run out.

Faf du Plessis scored 50 for Chennai and combined in an opening stand of 74 with Ruturaj Gaikwad (33) to lay a solid foundation, although Kohli cajoled his attack in typical fashion to keep the Super Kings on a leash, with Harshal to the fore.

The right-armer's outing unravelled in spectacular fashion, though, seeing a length ball and a missed yorker disappear before over-stepping as Jadeja smoked him over midwicket.

The additional delivery was similarly dispatched by the India all-rounder to bring up a 25-ball fifty, before a drop at extra cover allowed Jadeja to swipe a full toss beyond long-on and score four more through square leg to complete the humiliation.

Buoyed by his majestic century last time out, Padikkal went briskly about his work, although he pulled Shardul Thakur to Suresh Raina to depart for 34.

Kohli had already edged Sam Curran behind by that point and Jadeja ensured there was no way back for RCB. He had Washington Sundar caught at long-on from the second ball of his spell, while running out Christian in between bowling Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers showed everything the slow left-armer touched turned to gold.

Veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir took 2-16 and ran out Kyle Jamieson for 16 as Bangalore fell well short and Chennai went top of the table.

Record-equalling Ravi enjoys a performance to savour

Jadeja's merciless flogging of Harshal equalled the record for runs scored in a single IPL over – Chris Gayle having taken Prasanth Parameswaran of the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala for 37 when in RCB colours back in 2011. Scott Styris' 38 at James Fuller's expense for Sussex against Gloucestershire in 2012 remains the all-time T20 record.

Harsh on Harshal

If ever anyone had due cause to lament T20 as a batsman's game, it was poor old Harshal. For three overs, he bowled beautifully and approached that fateful final set of six with figures of 3-14. Raina and Du Plessis departed in successive balls to leave him on a hat-trick, Harshal's off-cutters proving a tough code to crack until Jadeja explosively intervened.

Babar Azam became the fastest player to reach 2,000 Twenty20 runs in international cricket as he helped Pakistan secure a series-clinching victory over Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Captain Babar made 52 but it was Mohammad Rizwan's unbeaten 91 that powered Pakistan to 165-3 in the third and final game at the Harare Sports Club.

That total proved beyond Zimbabwe, though Wesley Madhevere (59) had the hosts in contention. They were 102-1 at one stage in reply, only to lose three wickets for eight runs to scupper their hopes.

Tadiwanashe Marumani departed for 35 to trigger the mini collapse and, despite 20 from Brendan Taylor, the innings fell away in the closing stages, finishing up at 141-7 to lose by 24 runs.

Hasan Ali was the star performer for Pakistan with the ball, taking career-best figures of 4-18, as the tourists bounced back after a first ever loss to Zimbabwe in the format on Friday.

With his side bowled out for 99 when chasing in the previous game, Babar opted to bat first after winning the toss. Sharjeel Khan fell for 18 in the powerplay but the skipper combined with opener Rizwan to put on a crucial second-wicket stand worth 126.

The partnership eventually came to an end when Babar was caught in the deep in the final over, with Fakhar Zaman then falling immediately in similar fashion as he registered a first-ball duck.

Luke Jongwe benefited from the late double to finish with figures of 3-37, giving him nine wickets in the series at an average of 8.77. He had claimed 4-18 in his team's victory but the hosts were unable to pull off a repeat result.

The two nations now switch their focus to Test cricket. A two-match series begins in Harare on Thursday.


Rizwan gets maximum rewards

As was the case in the opening fixture, the home team appeared in a strong position in a run chase, only to falter as the finishing line drew into sight. Madhevere hit seven of his team's 16 fours, yet they did not manage a solitary six between them.

Indeed, Rizwan was the only player to clear the boundary rope in the match, doing so three times as he registered a fourth unbeaten half-century in his past seven T20 games.

Captain fantastic in fine form

The ever-consistent Babar has now managed 50 or more on 11 occasions in T20 cricket for Pakistan since the start of 2019, a fine run of form that has helped him reach a notable personal milestone.

He made it to the 2,000-run mark in 52 innings - four fewer than India skipper Virat Kohli. His career average in the format now stands at a hugely impressive 47.32.

 West Indies Indies T20 star, Chris Gayle, insists he is feeling fit and at the top of his game after a decisive performance for Punjab Kings XI, in a win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) on Friday.

Gayle made a steady 43 from 35 deliveries, and along with KL Rahul, who added 60 from 52, anchored Kings XI to an 8-wicket win. 

The batsman’s innings was, however, uncharacteristically devoid of massive slogs over the boundary as he hit only two sixes.  The 41-year-old did gather quite a few runs darting for quick singles, which has not been a part of his game in recent years.

The veteran batsman had come under criticism in recent days following a string of low scores and a 1-3 start for Punjab.  Gayle, however, insists he is feeling in excellent shape and was happy for the result.

"I am feeling very good, a bit relieved. We wanted this win badly, playing against the defending champions was always going to be tough. They played four games, to actually get this win is fantastic for the team and the Universe Boss as well.

“I was looking pretty good, running between the wickets, I am feeling fit and good about myself. I am enjoying it, I am looking after my body, getting a lot of massages so I can move freely, humidity here in Chennai also kind of lets the blood flow so I am on top of my game," Gayle told the official IPL website.

Rajasthan Royals lifted themselves off the foot of the Indian Premier League with a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a bottom-of-the-table encounter.

Dismantled by Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last game, the Royals got the response they needed on Saturday.

Chris Morris was the star with the ball for Rajasthan, his 4-23 helping limit Kolkata to 133-9 at the Wankhede Stadium, while the South African also ran out Eoin Morgan.

Jos Buttler was struck in the grille early on by Pat Cummins, but the Royals did not allow that incident to shake them, captain Sanju Samson (42 not out) guiding them to an important victory.

Put into bat by Samson, KKR looked set to reach the end of the first powerplay with their full complement of wickets intact, only for Buttler to send Shubman Gill packing with a direct hit.

Gill had been dropped early on by Yashasvi Jaiswal, but the teenager atoned with a fine take to dismiss Sunil Narine.

Morgan was walking back to the sidelines without facing a ball when a mix-up with Rahul Tripathi resulted in a run-out.

Tripathi (36) made amends with a pair of sixes, yet he soon picked out Mustafizur Rahman at deep midwicket, and Morris subsequently took centre stage with four wickets in the space of two overs.

With an achievable target in Rajasthan's sites, Buttler took a nasty blow in the second over, but was passed fit to continue, only to be pinned leg before wicket by Varun Chakravarthy.

An impressive flurry from Jaiswal (22) was cut short in the next over, though Samson and Shivam Dube steadied the ship, picking their moments to punish any slack deliveries.

A googly from Varun did for Dube, with Rahul Tewatia succumbing in the 14th over. 

KKR appeared to have the bit between their teeth when David Miller was given out lbw, but a review proved the ball had pitched outside leg and, after surviving a run-out scare, Samson clipped away the winning run with seven balls to spare.

Morgan gets it wrong

It was a poor performance all-round for Morgan – who had averaged 81 runs across his five previous knocks against the Royals – and his side. Tripathi was their top scorer with the bat, while Cummins (0-36) was particularly expensive with the ball, and Russell was not even called upon. 

"The batting was the let down and we lacked a lot of intent throughout the whole innings," Morgan said. "We were behind the eight ball right from the get-go. Possibly, we were 40 short which is a lot in a T20 game. The bowlers had too much to do. It's a stark contrast to the last game."

More Mumbai misery for KKR

Kolkata had beaten the Royals in six of their last seven IPL encounters before Saturday's meeting, but that streak ended with a whimper.

Indeed, the Wankhede Stadium has been an unhappy hunting ground for KKR, who have now lost each of their last eight IPL games at the ground.

 West Indies bowler, Alzarri Joseph, added a tidy two-wicket haul to a maiden half-century to help put English County club Worcestershire in a commanding position against Nottinghamshire at New Road.

Chasing a sizeable first innings score of 436, Nottinghamshire crumbled for 276, despite 111 from opener Haseeb Hameed and not losing their first wicket until they had put 115 runs on the board.

Charlie Morris had the best bowling figures for Worcestershire, after taking 3 for 30 but Joseph chipped in with 2 for 33.  The West Indies accounted for top-order batsman Ben Duckett and Nottinghamshire were then forced to follow on still some 160 runs short of the target.

In the first innings, Joseph was part of a staunch lower-order effort that ballooned the tally late on.  Joseph recorded his first half-century in the competition with 61, Ed Barnard added 58 and captain Joe Leach 84.

The total adds to Joseph’s debut innings of 46 from 55 against Derbyshire last week.  On that occasion, the bowler also chipped in with 3 wickets.

KL Rahul and Chris Gayle powered Punjab Kings to a much-needed victory as they ended a three-game losing streak in the Indian Premier League in emphatic fashion against Mumbai Indians.

On the receiving end of significant margins in each of their previous defeats, the Kings turned the tables in style to surge to a nine-wicket triumph through a superb performance with bat and ball.

Despite a fine 63 from Rohit Sharma, Mumbai could only manage 131-6 as Mohammed Shami and young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi kept them in check.

Captain Rahul and Gayle then made short work of the target of 132, with Kings losing only one wicket in the process and reaching the finishing line with 14 balls to spare.

Rahul hit three fours and as many sixes in an unbeaten 60, while Gayle struck 43 off 35 balls as their partnership of 79 inspired the Kings.

Having already produced scores of 91 and 61 in this season's competition, Rahul laid the platform for a routine chase with a first-wicket stand of 53 with Mayank Agarwal.

Agarwal lofted Rahul Chahar to long-on as he was dismissed for 25, but the arrival of Gayle only served to help the Kings hit the accelerator.

His and Rahul's stand ensured there was never any doubt of them chasing a modest total, Mumbai having failed to offer Rohit sufficient support during their innings.

Rohit helped Mumbai to recover from 26-2 to 105-2 as he and Suryakumar Yadav (33 off 27) steadied the ship.

However, Suryakumar top-edged Bishnoi to Gayle at short third man to start the 16th over and Rohit soon followed in being dismissed when he fired a low full toss from Shami straight to deep square.

Kieron Pollard (16 not out off 12) provided an efficient cameo, but both Hardik (1) and Krunal Pandya (3) failed to get going as Mumbai limped to the finish to give the Kings a straightforward task.

The fourth match of the Hero CPL Esports series saw Nicholas Pooran of the Guyana Amazon Warriors take on Mitchell Santner of the Barbados Tridents at a virtual Kensington Oval. It was the Warriors who emerged victorious after a brutal display with the bat and superb bowling from their spinners.

The Tridents won the toss and elected to bowl first with Pooran promoting himself up the order to open. It was a move that worked out immediately with 30 runs coming off the first over, 24 of them made by Pooran.

The early loss of Brandon King did not slow the Warriors down with Shimron Hetmyer joining Pooran in smashed the Tridents bowling around the Oval, although a good few of the boundaries came via the edge of the bat.

Pooran brought up his fifty from just 10 balls on his way to 63 (13) to set up a total of 133/4 from their five overs. Although Pooran was the star, he was well supported, first by Hetmyer and then by Ross Taylor.

It was a daunting target, and the Tridents were under pressure to get off to a good start. They got just that thanks to Johnson Charles who made 29 (8) but his departure brought with it a collapse with three wickets falling with the score on 43. That became 53-5 with three wickets in an over from Imran Tahir.

The Tridents never recovered from that cluster of wickets and as they searched for boundaries to get themselves back into the game the wickets continued to fall, with three more going to the spin of Chandrapaul Hemraj. The Tridents went from 43-1 to 73 all out as the Warriors won by a massive 60 runs.

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, has revealed he was too overcome with emotion to head straight back to the dressing room, after being bowled by Chennai Super Kings’ Sam Curran, in an 18 runs loss for Kolkatta Knight Riders on Wednesday.

The viral photo of a dejected Russell sitting on the steps did the rounds on social media, and the player has taken the time out to explain the emotions associated with the moment.

“Well, I was very emotional and I didn’t know how to go to the changing room and face all my teammates after leaving a ball and getting out bowled like that,” Russell told KKR.in.

“You know, the job is not complete, and I wanted to take the team over the line. So, I think the emotions got the best of me but staying strong,” he added.

KKR found themselves chasing a sizeable 221 for victory and in real trouble at 31 for 5. Russell and Dinesh Karthik had, however, started to lead the fightback. Russell hit 6 sixes and smashed a 21-ball fifty to give KKR hope and seemed set on delivering on one of his famous comeback specials.  He was, however, dismissed against the run of play, for 54, in the 12th over when he left a Curran delivery, which crashed into his leg stump.

 

South African and Chennai Super Kings fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, has credited West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo with playing a pivotal role in his strong start to the 2021 IPL season.

The towering speedster earned widespread plaudits after putting together an extraordinarily economical 3 for 28, in a high-scoring encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

With some 422 runs scored in the match, Ngidi, who was tasked with death bowling duties after replacing Bravo in the line-up, had a solid economy rate of 7.00.  The South African’s skills and variations were on full display after he trapped an attacking Dinesh Karthik with a slower ball dismissal, a delivery that would surely have pleased his West Indian tutor.

“There was a lot of pressure, Bravo has been doing very well for CSK. So, I had to come in and fill his shoes,” Ngidi told the IPL’s official website.

“I have worked very closely with Bravo on the slower bowls at the death. One of the slower bowls he has been teaching me for a long time came off and got us a wicket.”

In the end, CSK won by 18 runs, in no small part thanks to Faf Du Plessis’ brutal, unbeaten 95 from 60 deliveries.  The 37-year-old Bravo was rested for the encounter, due to workload concerns.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has published a comprehensive annual report for 2020. The public release of the report follows the recently concluded CWI Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 11th April 2021.

West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph, put in another solid performance for English County Cricket club Worcestershire, against Nottinghamshire, at New Road One cricket ground on Thursday.

At the end of the first day, Joseph remained unbeaten on 46 from 81 balls and sharing in an eighth-wicket stand worth 89 runs with Ed Barnard.  The partnership took Worcestershire to 305 for 7, after looking in some trouble at 216 for 7 earlier on.

The total marks Joseph’s second 40+runs innings of the young season, having opened up with 46 from 55 against Derbyshire last week.  On that occasion, the bowler also chipped in with 3 wickets drawing commendation from Worcestershire coach, Alex Gidman, who praised the player's mentality.

When play resumes Joseph could be looking for his first half-century in the competition, having signed a seven-game deal with Worcestershire for the first part of the season a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old has taken 37 wickets from 15 Tests and shown plenty of ability with the bat of late, scoring half-centuries on successive Test tours of New Zealand and Bangladesh.

 

 

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