(ESPNCricinfo) With the league stage tapering to a close, the CPL’s fourth week was full of drama and emotion. Two teams dropped out of the playoffs race, while two left-hand batsmen lit up the tournament in between some ordinary umpiring decisions. ESPNcricinfo brings you the major highlights from the week gone by.
Home advantage? What’s that?
After Jamaica Tallawahs lost all their designated ‘home games’ in Florida earlier this season, it was Barbados Tridents’ turn to suffer the same fate – in their proper backyard too. They were assigned five games at Bridgetown’s Kensington Oval, but five straight losses – including three last week – sunk their chances of qualification.
That, together with St Lucia Stars’ six-wicket win against Tridents on Sunday, ensured we already know the four playoff teams, despite four league games remaining to be played. Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors – with two games in hand – are best placed to secure a top-two finish, while St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Tallawahs are set to round off the top four.
Pollard’s unfulfilled return to Barbados
Stars’ Kieron Pollard is never too far away from a controversy, and he was in the middle of one last week when Tridents’ Jason Holder had him lbw off a full toss.
Pollard, captain of the Tridents franchise for the past four years, had left the team before this edition and was clearly looking for a big innings against them when he walked in at 80 for 3 in the tenth over, but Holder’s inswinging full-toss rapped him on the pads and appeared to be missing the leg stump, when the umpire raised his finger.
The Stars captain looked flummoxed and was visibly upset as he ended his season with a first-ball duck against his former team. However, when the decision was not reversed despite replays showing Holder overstepping, Pollard wore a bemused look in the dugout, sarcastically clapping the umpires’ decision and forcing coach Brad Hodge to visit the third umpire’s office to fully understand why the lbw decision was not overturned. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first poor umpiring decision of the season, and Pollard’s men won the game by six wickets anyway.
Batsman of the week
Colin Munro has struck five half-centuries in his last eight CPL innings, none better than his 56-ball 90 against Warriors on Wednesday. The innings took Munro to within 23 runs of the CPL record of 458 runs in a season – set by Chadwick Walton last year – with two league-stage games still in hand.
Munro plundered ten fours and four sixes in his innings, smacking both Imran Tahir’s legbreaks as well as Rayad Emrit’s medium-pace to all corners of the Queen’s Park Oval. He reached his half-century in 39 balls before going into overdrive, taking Guyana captain Emrit to the cleaners. He was eventually out in the 17th over, looking to slog Romario Shepherd, falling ten short of a fifth T20 hundred. But by the time he was dismissed, Trinbago were set for a big first-innings total.
Bowler of the week
Twenty-one-year-old fast bowler Oshane Thomas of the Tallawahs was the best bowler of the week. He’s taken at least one wicket in every game so far, and his performances with the new as well as the older ball have been impressive. Over the past three weeks, Thomas has shone for Tallawahs every time his captain Andre Russell has thrown him the ball. Barring his first match – where he took three important wickets – Thomas has not conceded more than eight per over in any game. Some are deeming his toe-crushing yorker to dismiss Tridents’ Shai Hope last week the ball of the CPL.
Smith, Warner watch
The season ended early for Tridents’ Steven Smith, as he flew back to Australia with an abdominal strain. The injury was revealed by Tridents captain Holder ahead of their game against the Stars. Smith fared modestly through the season, scoring 185 runs in seven innings at an average of 26.42 and a strike rate of 127.58, while also taking three wickets and winning Player of the Match in one of Tridents’ two league-stage victories.
David Warner, on the other hand, finally produced a match-winning innings, after some good scores earlier in the season that just didn’t translate into wins. With Stars chasing 136 against Tridents, Warner – in at No. 4 – anchored the innings after an early wobble, grinding out an unbeaten 45-ball 42 to secure a Stars victory in their final game of the season. Warner finished with 220 runs in nine innings, at an average of 31.42 and a strike-rate of 111.67. He hit only four sixes and 19 fours in the whole season.