The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2021 came to a thrilling end as St Kitts and Nevis Patriots clinched a last-ball victory in a dramatic final to be crowned champions for the very first time in the history of the league. With the points table being tight and interesting until the very end of the group stages, teams competed hard to make the top four.
This year’s CPL was a battle that was evenly fought between bat and ball. While there were several big names across teams, the best part of this CPL was the youngsters performing at the highest level consistently throughout the tournament. The batting charts were dominated by the experienced guys. However, the top wicket-takers' list had young and emerging talents from the Caribbean.
What is also worth noting is that spinners were said to have had assistance throughout the CPL but the top five wicket-takers are all fast bowlers this season. On that note, let's take a look at the top five wicket-takers from CPL 2021:
#1 Ravi Rampaul (Trinbago Knight Riders)
Veteran pacer Ravi Rampaul has made a brilliant comeback this season, ending up as the highest wicket-taker with 19 scalps to his name. He played a crucial role for Pollard and Co., picking up important wickets in the powerplay overs and bowling with great skill at the death. Rampaul used his slower ones and cutters to great effect.
Rampaul had the best figures of 4/29 with an average of 16.21 at an impressive economy of 7.96 and a bowling strike rate of 12.2. This performance also earned him a call-up to the West Indies squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, as he made a comeback into the national side after many years.
#2 Romario Shepherd (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
The young pacer finished as the second-highest wicket-taker behind Ravi Rampaul, playing a crucial role in taking Guyana to the top four. He picked up 18 wickets at an average of 14.11 and a strike rate of 11. The youngster had the best figures of 3/15 at an economy of 7.69. Shepherd impressed throughout the tournament and will take a lot of confidence from this CPL campaign.
#3 Odean Smith (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
Along with Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith led the attack for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in this edition of the CPL. He was consistent throughout the season with his performances. With big names like Imran Tahir in the line-up, the pressure was on the youngster to perform, which he did quite well.
Smith also picked up 18 wickets, with the best economy among all the bowlers in the top five wicket-takers' list. His economy of just 7.54 and best figures of 3/20 make him a bright prospect for West Indies cricket when a new set of guys take over in the years to come.
#4 Dominic Drakes (St Kitts and Nevis Patriots)
Dominic Drakes was a vital member of the title-winning team, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the CPL 2021. The left-arm seamer picked up the most wickets for his side and is fourth on the overall list. Drakes grabbed 16 wickets at an economy of 8.56 and an average of 20.68.
He had the best figures of 3/26 and also played an important role in the final. With Cottrell not up to his very best this CPL season, young Drakes shouldered the responsibility of the attack and excelled very well under Dwayne Bravo's leadership.
#5 Migael Pretorius (Jamaica Tallawahs)
Migael Pretorius is the only foreign bowler on this list. The South African pacer proved to be Jamaica’s best bowler this season with 16 wickets to his name. Pretorius was in and out of the side on a few occasions but made the most of the opportunities that he got.
He was on the higher side of the economy as he conceded runs at 9.54. However, Pretorius picked up important wickets at crucial times of the game. He ended up with a bowling strike rate of 13.8 and best figures of 4/32.
While West Indies are known for producing big hitters over the years, they will be very pleased with the fact that their young bowlers have done very well this season with the ball. Three out of the top five wicket-takers are emerging players and this is a very good sign for West Indies cricket moving forward.
Despite the likes of Mohammad Amir, Imran Tahir, Sunil Narine and Wahab Riaz being in the tournament, these young guns have held their own and made themselves known at the global level with their performances.