Fans in the Caribbean can’t wait for August 18 to come early as the biggest party in the cricketing world – the Caribbean Premier League (CPL 2020) will officially kick-off. It’ll become the first major T20 league to be held in the post-COVID-19 world. The 33-match tournament will conclude on September 10 with a highly-anticipated finale.
The matches will be played in Trinidad and Tobago behind closed doors, that is, without crowds. All the players have reached the country and have tested negative for COVID-19 which is great news for the league. Building up to the tournament, we’ll look at the top players from all six franchises who can make a serious impact on the tournament.
DWAYNE BRAVO (Trinbago Knight Riders)
Arguably the best all-rounder in the T20 format, Bravo is three wickets away from the magical 500 T20 wickets figure. Once he reaches that milestone, he’ll become the first player ever to achieve that feat in the history of the sport. He is also the leading wicket-taker in the CPL with 97 scalps to his name in the competition. At 36, Bravo is a T20 veteran having played 455 matches across different leagues in the world. He has been relieved of his duty of leading the Knight Riders in CPL 2020 in order for him to enjoy his cricket in the tournament.
PRAVIN TAMBE (Trinbago Knight Riders)
This is the name which will shock one and all as 48-year old Pravin Tambe is all set to make his debut in CPL 2020. He’ll obviously be the oldest player in the league and also the first Indian to bag a CPL contract. He made the headlines when at 41, without any prior first-class experience, Tambe was picked to play for the Rajasthan franchise in the Indian T20 League. He has some quality spinners alongside him in Sunil Narine and Fawad Alam to share the burden of picking up wickets for Trinbago in the middle phase of the innings.
CHRIS LYNN (St Kitts and Nevis Patriots)
Another T20 superstar with an abundance of experience in the format, Lynn is a match-winner on his day and can single-handedly take matches away from the opposition. The Australian is a devastating batsman and has the ability to destroy any bowling line-up. He strikes at 144.15 in T20s and that shows the impact he can have on a match. His exploits in the Australian domestic cricket has earned him some lucrative deals over the years in the top T20 leagues across the world.
RASHID KHAN (Barbados Tridents)
Playing for the defending champions is Rashid Khan, who is the best in his trade. Rashid is the toughest T20 bowler anybody could face. Opposition usually looks to play out Rashid’s four overs and hope that the Afghani doesn’t pick up a wicket. He has a remarkable average of 17.22 with the ball in T20s but more importantly, his economy is brilliant at just 6.30. He’s no mug with the bat either and scores some crucial runs while batting as well. Definitely a match-winner!
HAYDEN WALSH (Barbados Tridents)
Another leg spinner who was exceptional in the 2019 CPL season was Hayden Walsh. Barbados Tridents went on to lift their second CPL title in the previous season and Walsh was at the heart of that win. With 22 wickets in the competition, he was the leading wicket-taker and bagged the man of the tournament award as well. Since then he has gone on to represent the West Indies in ODIs and T20Is.
RAHKEEM CORNWALL (St Lucia Zouks)
Big Rahkeem Cornwall can be considered as the X-factor for St Lucia Zouks in the CPL 2020. Rahkeem is predominantly an off-spinner but is also lethal with the bat at the top of the order. The big man doesn’t believe in taking singles and looks to smash every ball which is in his territory for sixes. He has a devastating strike rate of 151.91 in T20 cricket and has also picked up 22 wickets with the ball. He’ll be a reformed player coming into CPL 2020 after the exposure of playing Test cricket for his country.
BRANDON KING (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
On the back of a stellar CPL season in 2019, Brandon King got a national call up to play T20 Internationals for the West Indies. He finished the 2019 CPL season as the highest run-getter with 496 runs in the tournament which included a brilliant 132*. Brandon plays for the team which just can’t win a CPL final. Guyana has been runners-up in the competition for a record five times and will be hoping to break the jinx in CPL 2020.
ANDRE RUSSELL (Jamaica Tallawahs)
Russell is considered as the most effective T20 player of all-time In 2016, he was CPL’s player of the tournament and helped his team lift their second CPL trophy. Russell’s stats speak volumes about his impact on a T20 game. He strikes at an unreal strike rate of 171.29 and averages 26.95 with the bat. His average with the ball is 25.88 and his strike rate is exceptional at 18.7. He’ll hold the key in the absence of Chris Gayle for the Jamaica Tallawahs, if they were to win their third CPL title.
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