The curtains drew on the 2021 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) yesterday. The presenters reiterated that anything can happen in CPL and the season vindicated that tagline. Not only were there new champions but none of the top two teams in the points table made it to the semis. Plus, the crazy moments we saw on the field were plenty. Here, we compile the five such moments that gives you a peek into the madness that CPL 2021 was:
Pollard’s silent protest
We all know Kieron Pollard is mischievous in his own way. In the 2015 IPL, we saw him tape his mouth when the on-field umpire asked him to keep it quiet during his banter with Chris Gayle. It was the most hilarious silent protest you would ever see on a cricket field.
Six years later, there was a similar instance in the 2021 CPL. In Match 9, Wahab Riaz delivered a pretty obvious wide to Tim Seifert. The umpire, however, had a different opinion. Pollard, at the non-striker’s end, was in disbelief himself. But, instead of arguing with the umpire, the Knight Riders’ skipper maintained his composure and showcased another brilliant act of silent protest. He walked away from the umpire. He walked away as far as he could have and for a moment, it appeared that the non-strike was actually fielding at mid-wicket.
While Riaz walked to his bowling mark, Pollard gathered a couple of deep breaths, calmed himself down and returned to stand at his conventional position. It was the safest approach to show dissent without coming under the radar of the match referee. And, if you think about it, there lies some vital life lessons too.
Akeal Hosein’s acrobatic effort
In Match 11, Akeal Hosein leaped up at the sweeper cover to take the catch of the season, or probably the catch of the year across the globe.
It was a sweet strike from Nicholas Pooran who lofted a full and wide delivery from Ravi Rampaul for half a dozen. Hosein, the boundary rider, made it tough for himself by standing a few steps inside the rope but timed his jump to perfection. The arms were up full-stretched and the ball stuck in his left hand. While his body went further with the momentum of the jump, he did well to stay within the ropes.
It was a concoction of Ben Stokes’ brilliant catch of Andile Phehlukwayo in the 2019 World Cup and Chris Lynn pouching AB de Villiers in the crunch moment of an IPL encounter in 2014.
The fact that it dismissed Pooran at a crunch moment elevated the significance of the catch. Ravi Rampaul, the bowler, was so ecstatic he gave the young left-hander an animated send-off. Pooran did not bother about it as he had a sheepish smile of disbelief on his face. The match ended in a tie.
The Sheldon Cottrell madness
Sheldon Cottrell is not known for his batting. Probably, even his West Indies teammate and Barbados skipper Jason Holder, was not aware of it.
In the last over of Match 14, Holder opted for off-spinner Ashley Nurse when St Kitts and Nevis Patriots were 10 away from the target. The equation came down to 4 off the final ball and the onus was on Cottrell. Hope was grim for the Patriots until Cottrell smashed a benign full pitched delivery outside the off stump for a maximum over the long-off for six. Everyone in the dugout ran out in a frenzy to gather around their unlikely hero. At the same time, they maintained their unbeaten streak in the competition in the most dramatic fashion.
To cap it off, it was Holder who saw the six sail over his head at long-off. It was too late to realize that he should have gone with the speedster, Oshane Thomas to bowl the final over.
In addition, Cottrell also pulled off a stunning catch in the field in that game, a firm reminder of another stunner from him in the 2019 World Cup.
The newbie gets the master
At 24 Odeon Smith is still a new kid on the block. He had a terrific 2021 season at the CPL, picking 18 wickets in 11 games. One of those included the prized scalp of Andre Russell. But a more impressive aspect about that big wicket was how he worked the master over.
At a crucial point in Match 26, when both teams were yet to seal their Top 4 spot, Smith bowled a sensational over to Russell, almost pushing the big man into submission. In those four balls before the wicket, Smith made Russell block a yorker and lie flat on the ground while ducking a bouncer. Feeling the pressure, the Jamaican went for the big hit when the length ball cramped him for room and found the long-on fielder.
It was all too easy for the Guyana Amazon Warriors post Russell’s dismissal. Ecstatic with the bowling on display, Doull revealed that Smith was in discussions for an IPL franchise as a replacement player. He did not make the cut but will still fly to join the Kolkata Knight Riders as a death bowler.
If you love a fairytale ending this is the moment for you. A team that had the likes of experienced pros like Evin Lewis and Dwayne Bravo take it to the final required an effort from another beginner.
Dominic Drakes arrived at the crease at four down when the required run-rate was approaching 10 and nine overs to go. In a matter of 25 balls, he not only carried the team to its maiden title, he also played some breathtaking shots against bowlers with a good taste of international cricket.
Drakes timed Wahab Riaz for an inside-out lofted drive over the covers for a six. In Riaz’s next over, the 23-year old pulled him for a six over the covers. Yes, you read it right, over covers. A shell-shocked Ian Bishop asked how do you hit it there to which Doull replied, “Don’t ask me, I couldn’t do that.”
In the last over, he lifted a near perfect yorker for four over the cover before scraping through a single to win a last ball thriller, thus culminating the best CPL final till date.
In his celebrations, Drakes was off to the scoreboard bare chested. He threw his shirt to an operator there before joining his teammates.
"He has supported me throughout the season. Whenever I would stand there in the field he would cheer me up. I promised him the shirt before the match", Drakes explained his heart-warming gesture. Little did the operator know that Drakes would actually win the final for his team in a dream Player of the Match performance.