Pooran, Pollard Gayle ignite IPL league stages with Caribbean flavour

By Brandon Corlette

The 56 matches in the IPL league stages are done and dusted. For the West Indian players who played in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, young batting sensation Nicholas Pooran stole the limelight from his Caribbean team mates. While the big boys Kieron Pollard and the Universe Boss Chris Gayle had their moments in the league matches, Pooran announced himself with his clean ball striking for the Kings XI Punjab.

Pollard in discussion with the Guyanese trio of Hetmyer, Paul and Rutherford

While more was expected from the West Indian boys, few of the men in maroon represented well, and some did not play a single match. Guyana’s Keemo Paul, who is with the Delhi Capitals, did not feature in the starting XI for any of the 14 matches the Capitals played, while it was the same for Sherfane Rutherford with the Mumbai Indians. Royals’ Oshane Thomas, and Sunrisers’ Fabian Allen did not get opportunities as well.
Back to Pooran. The left-handed batsman played all 14 matches for the spirited Kings XI Punjab, and scored 353 runs at an average of 35. He slammed 25 sixes at a strike rate of 169.7 with his high-score being 77, one of his two half-centuries being the fastest of the season.

Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine in discussion

Veteran Dwayne Bravo did not dance away this season as Super Kings recorded their poorest performance in the history of the IPL. Bravo’s IPL campaign was shortened after he was injured and played only six matches. He took six wickets while scoring seven runs with the bat.
The well-paid Guyanese and highly talented left-hander Shimron Hetmyer is still to set the IPL alive. This season he played 10 matches and scored 138 runs at an average of 19.71. Hetmyer did not face as many balls as he would have liked, but when he got the opportunity, he still did not capitalise. He faced 98 balls this season, and his strike rate is 140 and his high-score was 45.
With Capitals into the play-offs, Hetmyer may want the IPL and Ian Bishop to remember his name. For the first half of the season, many would have forgotten the name of Gayle, but he ensured he was remembered in the seven matches he played at the latter part of the season. Gayle scored 288 runs in seven matches at 41, with a high-score of 99.
His settled approach resulted in his slamming 23 sixes, three fifties at a strike rate of 137.1.
Talk about settled, Sergeant Sheldon Cottrell was unsettled after he was torn into pieces when he was slammed for five sixes in an over. In the six matches Cottrell played for Kings XI Punjab, he took six wickets with his best bowling figure being 2-17 and his economy rate being 8.8, in his first outing on the IPL stage.
The performances of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine reflected on KKR’s performances this season. KKR failed to qualify, and the dynamic duo of Narine and Russell failed to deliver. In Narine’s 10 matches, he scored 121 runs at an average of 13.44. While he was inked on the suspect bowling list, his bowling was poor by his standards. He claimed five wickets at an average of 60.4 and an economy rate of 7.94.
Meanwhile, Russell played 10 matches as well, and scored 117 runs at an average of 13. He took six wickets at an economy rate of 9.72.
Captain Pollard has just bossed another season. The dominant Pollard scored 259 runs in the league matches at an average of 86.33 and a strike rate of 193.2. Pollard will be hoping to continue that form for Mumbai and help clinch another IPL title.
West Indies Test captain Jason Holder was unsold at the auctions. He then became a replacement player for the injured Mitchell Marsh, and the rest is history for the big Barbadian.
In five matches, Holder was very impactful with 10 wickets at an average of 15.80 and a strike rate of 12, helping the orange army to the play-offs.
With the league stages completed, the West Indians who are present to play the playoff fixtures would each want to finish on a high note.