There has been a lot of talk about globalising the game of cricket. Cricket All Stars was a great attempt made by Sachin and Shane Warne to take cricket to US. However only Cricket All Stars is not enough if Cricket has to flourish in the US. International stars have to play there more often than not to make the American people take interest in the sport. It was a great initiative taken by organisers of CPL to play last leg of CPL matches in the US!!
However, US has witnessed international cricket in the past when New Zealand and Sri Lanka played a T20I series in Florida in May 2010. West Indies and New Zealand also played a couple of T20Is at the same venue in June-July 2012, West Indies winning both.! So Cricket is not all that new for Americans but there is still a long way to go before we see US in a major ICC tournament like World Cup or WT20.
Coming back to last leg of CPL, 6 matches were scheduled to be played at the Central Broward Park Stadium in Florida. It was for the first time that CPL was being played in the US. Each franchise were scheduled to play matches 2 matches. The fixtures were such that each franchise was to play against the same in both the matches. The combination was as follows:
1) Barbados Tridents vs Guyana Amazon Warriors
2) Trinbago Knight Riders vs Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots
3) Jamaica Tallawahs vs Saint Lucia Zouks.
The business end of any tournament is very crucial. It was no different case with CPL 2016. 5 teams were in contention of play offs with SKN Patriots being out losing 7 of their 8 matches. It meant some cracker of contests were on the cards..!!!
Match 1– Barbados Tridents VS Guyana Amazon Warriors
It was the evening of 28th July, The 80th birthday of Sir Gary Sobbers! It was all set for first match of CPL in America. Rayad Emrit won the toss and opted to bowl. Barbados batsmen lost momentum after a good start and could manage only 142. Half centuries from Maddinson and Dwayne Smith ensured that Guyana reached the target without much hiccups. Guyana won by 6 wickets.
Match 2– Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots Vs Trinbago Knight Riders
SKN Patriots who were already down and out of CPL saved their best for last but it was too late. Batting first they put a competitive 180 on the board. TKR suffered a terrible collapse from 103-3 to 146 all out. SKNP bringing up only 2nd win of the season.
Match 3– Saint Lucia Zouks vs Jamaica Tallawahs
A run feast for Zouks at Florida! Once again it was Charles-Fletcher duo doing wonders for men in light blue as they posted 206 on board, the first time in US! Meanwhile men from Jamaica could manage only 143/8.
Match 4 – Barbados Tridents vs Guyana Amazon Warriors
It was a must win game from Tridents to keep their hopes alive!! Captain Pollard led from the front with a quick-fire 47. But the rest of batting line up could manage only 158. Warriors cruised to victory ending the campaign of Bajans!!
Match 5– Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots Vs Trinbago Knight Riders
The last game of a horrible season of Saint Kitts! And it was same old story. Again not enough runs on the board. Just 138. TKR cruised home easily. Better luck next time Patriots!
Match 6– Jamaica Tallawahs Vs Saint Lucia Zouks
The same old Story for Zouks.. Fletcher and Charles coming to party with 70 and 64 respectively. 17-ball 42 from Watson took Zouks to 194. Jamaica fell short by 17 runs
The USA leg of CPL was exciting. Something that organisers of other T20 leagues can look at, to play few matches in US to popularize cricket there!!
– by Atharva Apte