Caribbean Premier League (CPL), one of the most celebrated T20 leagues in the world, became the world's first major T20 league to be held since the COVID-19 pandemic brought international and domestic cricket to a standstill. The eighth edition of the tournament is taking place across the two venues in Trinidad & Tobago.
A total of six teams - Guyana Amazon Warriors, Trinbago Knight Riders, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, St Lucia Zouks, Jamaica Tallawahs, and Barbados Tridents - arel participating in the 24-day long tournament.
In the inaugural match of the CPL season, three-time champion Trinbago Knight Riders beat last year's runner-up Guyana Amazon Warriors by four wickets. Let's take a quick look at all the inaugural matches of the previous seasons.
CPL Season 1 (2013): Barbados Tridents vs St Lucia Zouks
In the first-ever match of the Caribbean Premier League, Barbados Tridents beat St Lucia Zouks by 17 runs. Tridents, having chosen to bat first, scored a decent total of 169 for 5 in the limited 20 overs. This was a good total for them considering they were reduced to 48 for 4 at one stage of the inning. Shoaib Malik scored a brilliant 78 while Pollard remained unbeaten on 61.
St Lucia, in reply, got off to a good start. Their openers Tamim Iqbal and Andre Fletcher added 57 runs for the 1st wicket. They were 95 for 2 after 11 and were in a good position to win the match. But the wicket of Fletcher in the 12th over sparked a mini-collapse and the visitors went on to lose their remaining eight wickets for 57 runs.
Shoaib Malik was adjudged 'Player of the Match'.
CPL Season 2 (2014): Guyana Amazon Warriors vs Antigua Hawksbills
In the opening match of the Caribbean Premier League 2014, Guyana Amazon Warriors beat Antigua Hawksbills by 2 wickets. Guyana captain Denesh Ramdin won the toss and put Antigua in to bat.
Ben Dunk made a blistering 38-off-21 ball and Antigua were off to an impressive start. Well, they couldn't keep the momentum going as Sunil Narine choked the runs. He returned sensational figures of 4-1-3-0.
Devon Thomas attempted to resuscitate the Antigua innings with his quick 16-off-8 balls. But, it wasn't simply enough. Hawksbills managed to put a total of 136 for 8 in 20 overs.
Guyana's chase got off to a rocky start in the first two overs with the loss of both their openers. The experienced duo of Hafeez and Ramdin came through with a 59-run third-wicket stand and put the chase back on track.
Hafeez fell after scoring 35 but Ramdin went on to bring his half-century. He scored 51 from just 36 balls before Braithwaite bowled him in the 17th over. At this time, Warriors needed 25 from 23 and match could go on either way. Narine once again came to the rescue and ensured his team's win with his 11* off 9 balls.
CPL Season 3 (2015): Barbados Tridents vs Guyana Amazon Warriors
Barbados Tridents crushed their opponent Guyana Amazon Warriors in the opening game of the CPL in Bridgetown. Barbados Tridents' skipper Kieron Pollard was the star of the show as he smashed 48 off 26 deliveries with the help of 5 fours and 2 sixes. His fire-power helped his team put up a challenging total of 158.
Amazon Warriors ended up losing three wickets - Lendl Simmons, Shiv Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin - in the first four overs and they never quite recovered from there. They were bowled out for 109 runs. Tridents won the match by 49 runs.
CPL Season 4 (2016): St Lucia Zouks vs Trinbago Knight Riders
St Lucia Zouks were up against Trinbago Knight Riders in the opening match of the CPL 2016. Zouks won the toss and elected to field first. Knight Riders got off to an underwhelming start as their power-packed top three - Brendon McCullum, Hashim Amla and Colin Munro - were dismissed after sluggish starts to leave their side 58 for 3 after nine overs.
Darren Bravo rescued his team with an unbeaten 63. He added 66 runs with Umar Akmal for the 4th wicket. Knight Riders ended up on 162 - a somewhat below par score.
In pursuit of 163, Johnson Charles got Zouks off to a strong start, hitting six fours and a six in his knock of 52. He fell in the 12th over. By this time, Zouks had raced to 93 for the loss of two wickets.
Narine tried to pull things back for Riders with his tidy spell of 2 for 25. But Miller, with his quick-fire 33, ensured Zouks ultimately ease past the target with five balls to spare.
CPL Season 5 (2017): St Lucia Stars vs Trinbago Knight Riders
St Lucia Stars, formerly known as Zouks, faced off Trinbago Knight Riders in the inaugural match of the 2017 edition of the CPL. TKR invited Stars to bat first after winning the toss. Andre Fletcher made a pulsating start for his team, hitting Khary Pierre, for three successive fours in the second over, but Shadab's introduction brought the runs under check.
The Pakistan leg-spinner, on his CPL debut, picked 2 for 15 in 4 overs. Stars were able to put 132 for 9. On a true surface with even bounce, it was far from enough.
The Stars started the defense of 132 well - with pinch-hitter Sunil Narine sent back for a first-ball duck. But, as it turned out, this was the only success they had that night. Brendon McCullum and Colin Munro blasted half-centuries in an unbroken second-wicket century stand as Knight Riders chased down the 133-target with 56 balls to spare.
CPL Season 6 (2018): Trinbago Knight Riders vs St Lucia Stars
The defending CPL champions Trinbago Knight Riders were up against St Lucia Stars at Queen's Park Oval in the opening match of the 2018 CPL. Stars won the toss and invited Knight Riders to bat first. Chris Lynn fell cheaply but No. 3 Munro piloted the Knight Riders innings with a 48-ball 68.
He added 51 for the fifth wicket with Ramdin before being bowled by Pollard in the 16th over. Ramdin took charge from there and blasted a 27-ball 50* to help Knight Riders register a mammoth total of 195 for 6 - highest ever total at Queen's Park Oval in the CPL's six-year history.
In reply, the Stars got off to a quick start thanks to Gabriel's opening over where he leaked 26 runs. But, that was all about the fight from St Lucia in the chase. An impressive Ali Khan removed Andre Fletcher with a slower delivery and that was the beginning of the Stars' collapse that saw them lose their 10 wickets for 60 runs.
Trinbago Knight Riders opened the 2018 CPL edition with a thumping 100-run win.
CPL Season 7 (2019): Trinbago Knight Riders vs St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
The defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders started well in their CPL title defense by beating St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the CPL 2019 opener. Batting first, they huffed and puffed to 152 on the back of their new skipper's quickfire knock.
Playing for his home franchise for the first time, Pollard made it a memorable occasion, smashing a boundary-laced 47 off 32 balls, to haul TKR past 150.
Patriots started well in the run chase and went through the powerplay unscathed. But it all changed as the wicket started slowing down a little. They lost 4 for 6 in a collapse that was set in motion by spin on a dew-slicked pitch.
Towards the end, Allen and Usama Mir created some excitement with a barrage of sixes but that was never going to be enough. Patriots fell short of the target by 11 runs.Published 19 Aug 2020, 15:59 IST