Russell, Gayle score 1000 runs collectively

An IPL filled with West Indian flavour

By Brandon Corlette

The 2019 Indian Premier League was one of great significance for the Caribbean people in that it was the first occasion that saw three Guyanese participating: Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford and Shimron Hetmyer.
Veteran T20 stars Andre Russell and Chris Gayle also emerged as lead players after scoring 1000 runs in 26 matches between themselves.
This is a positive sign, since the dynamic duo will feature in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the matches of which will commence from May 30, 2019 in England and Wales.
Playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders, this was Russell’s most prolific season. He scored 510 runs at an average of 56.67 and a giant strike rate of 204.82.
Adding the icing to the cake, Russell ended his 13 matches this season with 52 sixes, in contrast to six-hitting boss Chris Gayle, who ended the 2019 IPL with 34 sixes in the same amount of matches this season.
Gayle, who continues to shine in the latter part of his career, finished the 2019 season with 490 runs at an average of 40.83 and a strike rate of 153.61.
With Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians set to play the final match of the tournament, the West Indians on the respective teams will add that flair to the match. From Mumbai’s perspective, Kieron Pollard will be an important asset with his experience, while Evin Lewis may sit out the starting XI.
CSK will have the veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo in their starting XI, while a maximum of three West Indian players may have opportunity to play in the final.
Guyana’s Sherfane Rutherford played seven matches for the Delhi Capitals on his debut season. He scored 73 runs, and had a strike rate of 135.19. He finished the tournament with one wicket — the prize scalp of AB De Villiers.
His team mate Keemo Paul finished the tournament with nine wickets in the eight matches he played. He also recorded a Player of the Match performance in his debut season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Shimron Hetmyer had a tough season. In the five matches he played, he scored 90 runs, but in the final match of the RCB campaign, he showed his true colours by smashing a fine half-century.
It was never seen before in the IPL, a debut player announcing himself in fine fashion as Alzarri Joseph did. Another West Indian who added that flavour to the IPL, Joseph made his debut for the Mumbai Indians, and rewrote history with astonishing bowling figures of 6-12 in 3.4 overs against David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad. To date, this is the only five-wicket haul in the 2019 tournament.
A highly rated innings in the IPL came from the big West Indian Kieron Pollard, who smashed his way to a 31-ball 81 against Kings XI Punjab. His brilliant innings included 10 sixes and three fours in a match in which he played the role of standing captain of the Mumbai Indians.
In the four matches he played, Oshane Thomas brought pace to the table and took five wickets in his debut season for the Rajasthan Royals.
Nicholas Pooran had 168 runs in his promising IPL, but his Trinidad and Tobago teammate Sunil Narine had a quiet IPL season with both bat and ball. Narine scored 143 runs in nine matches, and took 10 wickets for KKR. Only Russell, who picked up 11 wickets for the same team, was able to match Narine’s success.
What will an IPL be without West Indian players, who continue to excite the fans globally and bring that Caribbean flavour to India year after year?