Warriors’ Hemraj, Shepherd top CPL charts after three rounds

PROVIDENCE, GUYANA – SEPTEMBER 08: In this handout image provided by CPL T20, Chanderpaul Hemraj of Guyana Amazon Warriors celebrates his half century during match 6 of the Hero Caribbean Premier League between Guyana Amazon Warriors and Barbados Tridents at Guyana National Stadium on September 8, 2019 in Providence, Guyana. (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/Getty Images)

By Brandon Corlette

The Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW), having won all three of the first matches played at home, have an additional reason to celebrate: After three rounds in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), their batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj is the leading run-scorer in the tournament, while their bowler Romario Shepherd tops the bowling charts.

From a Guyanese perspective, it is certainly a plus that local players have thus far had immediate impact on the matches.

The GAW touched down in St Kitts & Nevis on Monday last, and will begin their away matches against the Carlos Brathwaite-led St Kitts & Nevis Patriots team on Saturday, September 14, from 20:00h.

The GAW have registered wins against the St Lucia Zouks, the Patriots, and the Barbados Tridents. Although those wins came from complete team efforts, some players stood out in those three matches. Guyanese opener Hemraj leads the run charts in the tournament with 116 runs, averaging 38.66 and striking at 128.8. He also achieved his highest T20 score of 63.

Sitting in fourth position on the batting charts is the hard-hitting Shimron Hetmyer, who has so far scored 103 runs; while GAW marquee player Nicholas Pooran is finding his groove this season with 61 unbeaten runs in his last innings. Captain Shoaib Malik (58) and Sherfane Rutherford (42) have also shown form with the bat in these first three matches.

Newly recruited West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard has also led his team, the Trinbago Knight Riders, to a good start in their first three matches. He has scored 106 runs, and is second to Hemraj, who has 116 to his credit. Trinbago’s Dinesh Ramdin is in third position with 104 runs.

Shepherd, Shadab rule bowling charts

In the bowling department, local speedster Romario Shepherd has seven wickets to his name, with career best statistics of 4-13. This robust right-arm bowler continues to show consistency in major tournaments, and is closer to his maiden West Indies’ call-up. Scores in the first three matches have been relatively high, but Shepherd has been bowling on a different planet, so to speak, with an extraordinary economy rate of 5.34.

World number three bowler in T20I cricket, Shadab Khan, has shown how valuable he is to the GAW in the first three matches. He will, unfortunately, not participate further in this Hero CPL tournament because of commitments to his native Pakistan. He had an immediate impact for his GAW team when he picked up a wicket off the very first ball he bowled in the tournament. He has taken seven wickets, and shares the leading bowler’s spot with Romario Shepherd and Jimmy Neesham in the first three rounds of matches.

Khan played for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the 2018 season. He took 3-16, and had shown his athleticism by pulling off some stunning catches.

Points standings after round 3

Net run rate has been an important factor in T20 cricket. The GAW are cognisant of this as they lead the points’ charts with six points at a supreme net run rate of 1.263.

Defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders, although in second position in the points’ standings, have also recorded six points and have also won their first three matches at home. The essential difference between these teams is that this Pollard-led Knight Riders team have a net run rate of 0.886.

GAW and Knight Riders are the only teams with wins in the Hero CPL 2019 tourney thus far (excluding matches after September 8). After the third round, Patriots and Zouks have each recorded two losses in two matches, while the Jamaica Tallawahs and the Barbados Tridents have each played one match and lost.

In 2018, after the first three matches played, the GAW had won two, and lost the one against the Tridents. This season, however, they are off to the perfect start.