As one franchise tournament begins to wind towards a conclusion another starts in the early hours of Thursday morning UK time when CPL 2022 gets underway out in the Caribbean as the ‘Biggest Party in Sport’ begins another season.
This is always a great tournament not least because there aren’t many teams in it and it is done and dusted in no time at all. St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will defend the title after they got the better of the St Lucia Kings in the final last term.
2021 – St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
2020 – Trinbago Knight Riders
2019 – Barbados Tridents
2018 – Trinbago Knight Riders
2017 – Trinbago Knight Riders
2016 – Jamaica Tallawahs
2015 – Trindad and Tobago Red Steel
2014 – Barbados Tridents
2013 – Jamaica Tallawahs
The six teams in the tournament each play each other twice over the regular season part of the competition. There is no home and away as the entire event takes place across four islands with some travel issues still in place in this part of the world. At the end of the league phase the top four teams go into the semi-finals with first playing fourth and second taking on third. The two winners progress to the final where the title will be won. The final of the competition takes place on October 1.
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are the defending champions this season and having won the supposed warm up event the 6ixty last week they are a team who know how to win titles under Dwayne Bravo. It is easy to see why because they have a lot of power in their top six but enough depth that if it goes wrong they can still recover. I think most teams have understood that if you want to be competitive in this tournament then you simply have to have decent spinners. There aren’t many better than Wanindu Hasaranga doing the rounds when he arrives and Akila Dananjaya isn’t bad until his fellow Sri Lankan gets there. With the tournament beginning in St Kitts the champions have the chance to get off to a good start and go from there.
Trinbago Knight Riders are generally the team they all have to beat in this competition and the fact they bombed out in the semi-final last season will have put fire in their bellies to get their title back. One big change from last season has happened off the pitch with Brendon McCullum now coaching England but on the field the additions of Nicholas Pooran and Andre Russell to go alongside Kieron Polland and Sunil Narine make the Knight Riders look a potentially formidable form. Narine, Akeal Hosein and Maheesh Theekshana are a great spin trio and with all the power you could wish for Trinbago look a good side as long as someone can glue it all together when the pitches wear.
St Lucia Kings were the beaten finalists a year ago and they will be out for more this time around but losing Obed McCoy and Keemo Paul from the team which almost won the title won’t be helpful. That leaves a lot of heat on Alzarri Joseph and Scott Kuggeleijn in the seam department. What they might lack with the ball they certainly make up for with the bat with Faf du Plessis, Tim David and David Wiese all clean hitters of a cricket ball. Daren Sammy is the coach of this side and you’ll go a long way to find a more positive person that him but it could be that even his positivity comes under doubt if St Lucia start badly.
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Guyana Amazon Warriors have been to the final of this tournament more often than they haven’t but they are yet to get their hands on the title. They will be buoyed by the fact the latter stages of this competition are going to be at their home ground and by then a top class spin trio of Tabraiz Shamsi, Shakib Al Hasan and Imran Tahir could have conditions to weave their magic. Guyana have added firepower to their batting ranks and if Shimron Hetmyer can inspire in his first captaincy gig in the tournament there is a lot to like about Guyana.
Jamaica Tallawahs have flattered to deceive in this tournament in recent times and the loss of Andre Russell, so often their talisman, to the Trinbago Knight Riders while not getting Glenn Phillips back who has been a huge part of their batting in recent times can’t be helpful. They are another side who have brought some good spin options to the party though and that will be important the longer the competition goes on but even with a bunch of spinner they’ll still need to score runs and the Tallawahs look very light in that department.
Barbados Royals haven’t really been much of a feature in this tournament since they won it last in 2014 and they won’t be helped by the fact that this tournament doesn’t take in the Kensington Oval this season. Barbados have put together a powerful batting unit so when the pitches are good in the early stages the trip to each island the longer the competition goes on that might not be the best formula. The Royals are strong in the seam department but there isn’t much in the way of top class spin which could cancel them out.
If you had £1 on every time someone had said this will be the year of the Guyana Amazon Warriors in this tournament through the years you would have a nice kitty to back them with this time around. I actually do think this is a campaign they can go well in and while it has to be said that getting the better of the Trinbago Knight Riders won’t be easy, I do think whoever does it will be the champions and that might just be Guyana.
One key ingredient which might help them in that quest is that should the two meet in the postseason Guyana will be at home in that match. They will know conditions are low and slow in that part of the world and their attack looks perfectly suited to it. They’re not the only ones that is the case for but unlike some of the others the Amazon Warriors carry plenty of power in their batting to take advantage when the pitches are playing true as well. As long as Shimron Hetmyer doesn’t bomb out as a captain, and having led West Indies to an under-19 World Cup in the past he shouldn’t do, then I see the Guyana outfit having a big season.
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