Sunday saw the Eliminator round of the 2019 Caribbean Premier League between St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders, in a thrilling double-header with Qualifier 1 between Barbados Tridents and Guyana Amazon Warriors.
But what were the main points we took away from the action?
1- Powerplay Overs Are Fundamental
Guyana Amazon Warriors took great advantage of their six overs against the new ball. They took the momentum from Chanderpaul Hemraj and Brandon King’s 48 in that period, right through into the middle overs, and seemed to be batting on a different pitch to the other teams on show. Earlier in the day Trinbago Knight Riders and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots had dawdled in the Powerplay, unable to get the ball away on a sticky, spin-friendly wicket.
The Tridents knew they had to start well chasing 218, and so they went out to try and match Guyana’s fantastic start – and they did. They did however lose the wicket of Johnson Charles, forced to sacrifice a top order wicket to keep pace with what the Warriors’ had managed.
It was all about timing for Hemraj and Chanderpaul for The Warriors. Whilst other sides may attack with more power, the Wariors’ timing is their strongest suit – their CricViz Timing Rating of 183 in that period was the highest of any team on the day.
2 – Brandon King Looks Superb
The 24-year-old Jamaican appears to be an outrageous talent, racing past 400 runs in the competition during his magnificent century, becoming the top run-scorer in the tournament as he did so.
Is Brandon the King of left arm pace and spin? King is particularly strong against spin, an invaluable trait on the spin-friendly pitches of the Caribbean – he’s yet to be capped by the West Indies in any format, but expect him to get a go in T20s for starters, sooner rather than later.
It’s remarkable that he managed to rotate strike off all paces of deliveries without once glancing the ball down to third man and fine leg, suggesting a range of strokeplay capable of keeping the scoreboard ticking. However, the majority of his runs have come in front of square, with all but 12 runs scored through those zones – he is a power player, albeit one with elegant timing, and on the face of it doesn’t rely too heavily on pace on the ball. A thrilling prospect.
3 – Spin Is Still King in the Caribbean
As is often the case in T20 cricket, spin has been dominant throughout the CPL, and Sunday was no different. As mentioned, the Providence surface was tacky, and timing the ball against the spinners seemed extremely hard. It’s a defining feature of T20 cricket in this part of the world, and so it was only fitting that the big stage showed this off.
Interestingly the strike-rate for pace and spin has actually been identical throughout the competition. This is skewed hugely by the fact pace bowlers operate far more often at the death, when wickets come more easily, but it points to where the real advantage of spin bowling comes into its own. The economy of spinners in this competition had been roughly 1.5 runs-per-over lower than the seamers, as is their true economy. True Economy compares a player’s economy to the average for when they have bowled in an innings, thus this showing that through all phases spin bowlers have out performed the average economy rate spin is expected to cost in the CPL T20. Spin, yet again, has been the way to go.
4 – Shakib Is Out of Form
0-46 from 4 overs is never a particularly enticing set of figures, on any pitch, in any game, for any player. When you consider a spinner recorded these figures on a helpful pitch, they look worse; when you consider the fact they were in a crucial play-off match, they look even worse ; when you know it was Shakib-al-Hasan, arguably the best spin-bowling all-rounder in the world, they look bizarre. But was this just a blip for the Bangladeshi legend?
Having had a sensational World Cup in England and Wales just a couple of months ago, Shakib Al Hasan has struggled with both bat and ball in CPL 2019. His strike rate with the bat in this tournament is the second lowest of all T20 competitions he has played in the last year.
His CPL 2019 bowling strike-rate has also been the second highest in all T20 competitions he has played in the last 12 months. He isn’t contributing as he typically would, with bat or with ball.
Of course, these statistics are not terrible. The point is more than we would expect far, far better of the world’s number two ranked T20 all rounder, because that’s what we have seen from him for so long. The Tridents would look to Shakib as their leading spinner and so far he has not been performing at a level befitting that role. He still has one, perhaps two chances to recover his form – for Barbados hopes, you’d say he needs to get back to his best, and quickly.