Congratulations must go out to the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on their first win in the Hero Caribbean Premier League. The home side yesterday pulled off a thrilling three-wicket victory over the St Lucia Kings in the final at Warner Park in the ninth year of the tournament.
Barbadian Dominic Drakes hit the winning run off the last ball of the T20 affair to seal the deserving win for the Patriots, who signalled their intent from the start with a string of five consecutive victories to secure a playoff spot long before other teams adjusted to the conditions.
And while Trinidadians may be unhappy that the Trinbago Knight Riders did not go all the way again, they would have taken some solace in the fact that Dwayne Bravo, having left TKR to take over captaincy of the Patriots franchise, led the team to triumph.
Bravo took a big gamble by leaving the TKR at the end of last season, following a trophy-winning run, but ensured it paid off by playing a big hand in detailing not only a blueprint for the side but leading from the front with some inspirational captaincy that helped previously average players lift their games.
It was also perhaps fitting that one of the teams previously reduced to minimal success finally rose to the top of the eight-team competition, which continues to showcase our regional cricketers to the world.
On the administrative side, it was again a credit to the organisers that they were able to stage another tournament within a COVID-19-secured bubble and not register a single mishap, having also done the same last year in T&T.
On the field of the play, there were highs and lows. The use of the single venue seemed to have created an issue with the quality of the pitches in the first half of the tournament, giving an advantage to teams that had good to even average spinners. The pitch issues settled when the ground staff switched to a new surface for the second half and this produced more even games.
Once again, some of the seasoned regional talent came to the fore while some young emerging ones, with West Indies T20 World Cup squad picks as an incentive, raised their hands. In that regard, however, it was disappointing to see some of the players not getting a nod on the Windies team, where the selectors perplexed the fans by persisting with some players who may become liabilities ahead. In fact, only TKR pacer Ravi Rampaul, who can be argued earned his pick through consistency in recent months, and Kings’ Roston Chase, seen previously as only a traditional red ball player, truly forced the regional selectors’ hands.
Having said that, it is time the Windies selectors tell fans the basis on which they pick squads. This is because if the CPL is the regional T20 showpiece, then surely players excelling there should be given a break, especially since the only other place they can get a chance to prove their salt is on the regional team against other top T20 international talent.
For now, however, we give kudos to the new CPL champions.