The first weekend of action in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League has left the three losing teams—Antigua Hawksbills, St Lucia Zouks and the Barbados Tridents with some catching up to do.
The Hawksbills and the Zouks both failed to reach the semi-finals last year and again found themselves o struggling at the start of season two, having lost by two and seven wickets respectively to the Guyana Amazon Warriors (Friday) and the Jamaica Tallawahs (Saturday).
And the Tridents, whose campaign fell away in 2013 after a strong start, also found themselves in an early struggle after the Red Steel beat them by seven wickets in Grenada on Saturday. The Barbados-based franchise’s problems were not restricted to on the field.
They lost Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan—a key player for them last season—in the week before the start of this series after he was banned for disciplinary reasons by the Bangladesh board. His replacement, Sri Lankan all-rounder Jeevan Mendis was only due to join the team on Saturday.
Captain Kieron Pollard also raised a few other issues. “It has been a struggle for us in Barbados in terms of preparation, it has been a struggle here in terms of facilities to train,” he told the media. “All those things are not excuses but when you come into a tournament like this, you want to be prepared as a team and we didn’t get the necessary preparation in place.”
Pollard also identified shortcomings when the Tridents batted on Saturday. “We didn’t rotate the strike pretty well. We didn’t get much singles, we tried to muscle the ball or after we got a boundary early up, we weren’t able to rotate that strike to get that six, seven, eight runs an over and that’s what Red Steel did.”
The Zouks’ main issue was not the lack of runs, but stopping Chris Gayle. The Tallawahs captain batted through the innings for a brutal 111 as they knocked off a target of 162 with an over to spare.
But Zouks skipper Darren Sammy still took comfort from the fact that openers Andre Fletcher and Henry Davids, “complement each other very well.” Sammy said they “set a good platform for us to launch in the end but the last four overs, they (Tallawahs) bowled really well. They bowled their yorkers and their slower balls quite good.
“Also, the bowling of Shane (Shillingford) and Roelof (Van der Merwe) and Tanvir kept us in the game even though the presence of Gayle was always gonna take the game away from us.”
Sammy expects that his side will get the wins they seek before long. “It’s nine-match tournament,” he said. “It’s just the first game...We have a good team, it’s only fair to give the guys a chance to settle into the tournament and I back the Zouks to come good in this tournament.”
Pollard hopes the break until his squad’s next match against the Hawksbills in Antigua on Saturday will allow new recruit Mendis to settle in, and the side as a whole to “iron out the problems,” and “hopefully, come next game, get that first win on the board and see if we can build a momentum.”