How did IPL-bound players fare in the CPL?

While the likes of Pollard and Russell enjoyed fruitful tournaments, others struggled on turning tracks

Deivarayan Muthu
Kieron Pollard clubs one over long-on  •  Randy Brooks - CPL T20 / Getty

Kieron Pollard clubs one over long-on  •  Randy Brooks - CPL T20 / Getty

CPL 2020 was the first high-profile T20 tournament to be played after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several IPL-contracted players shook off the rust and came up against turning tracks in Trinidad, which may prepare them for a similar challenge in the UAE. Here's how they fared in the CPL

Chennai Super Kings

Dwayne Bravo (Trinbago Knight Riders): He will turn 37 next month, but he reminded the world that he's still one of the most reliable death bowlers going around. While Bravo didn't pick up a bucketful of wickets - he took only nine at an economy rate of 7.50 - he smothered the opposition with his slower dippers and yorkers at the death en route to becoming the first player to 500 wickets in T20 cricket. Bravo, though, wasn't available to bowl in the final on Thursday because of a knee complaint.
Mitchell Santner (Barbados Tridents): In his first CPL, the New Zealand spin-bowling allrounder stood out amid the Tridents' rubble, proving once again that fingerspinners can be as effective as wristspinners in white-ball cricket. He claimed six wickets in nine matches - he missed one game because of a niggle - at an economy rate of 5.59. Santner also doubled up as the Tridents' finisher, hitting nine fours and five sixes down the order across eight innings.
Imran Tahir (Guyana Amazon Warriors): Despite being the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2019 it remains to be seen if Tahir starts for the Super Kings this season, considering the wealth of slower bowlers at MS Dhoni's disposal. However, the 41-year old made a strong case for retaining his overseas slot by collecting 15 wickets at an economy rate of 5.82 in Guyana Amazon Warriors' run to the semi-finals in CPL 2020. Only Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Scott Kuggeleijn took more wickets than him.

Mumbai Indians

Kieron Pollard (Trinbago Knight Riders): He had a bumper tournament with the bat, taking pitches and opposition attacks out of the equation with his six-hitting. Pollard was also "bang on" with his tactics as captain, according to his coach Brendon McCullum, and he even contributed with the ball, bagging 4 for 30 when the title was on the line against the St Lucia Zouks. He will join defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians on the back of a player-of-the-tournament award in the CPL and his 14th T20 title overall.
Chris Lynn (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots): The Australian opener was at sea against quality spin bowling on sluggish surfaces, and if the UAE pitches offer as much turn as the ones in the Caribbean did, Lynn could be in for a tough time there as well. In the nine innings Lynn batted in this CPL, he only managed 73 runs off 85 balls against the spinners at a strike rate of just over 85, while being dismissed by spin six times.
Sherfane Rutherford (Guyana Amazon Warriors): Much like Lynn, Rutherford struggled to adapt to the slow, low pitches both at the Queen's Park Oval and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy. All told, he scored a mere 39 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of under 80, but his Amazon Warriors captain Chris Green has backed him to return to form in the IPL and other future tournaments.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Mohammad Nabi (St Lucia Zouks): In the absence of Chris Gayle, Nabi became the Zouks' go-to man, delivering with both ball and bat and guiding the team to their maiden CPL final. His captain Daren Sammy matched up his offspin with left-handers, and in all he picked up 12 wickets in as many matches at an economy rate of 5.10. Along with fellow offspin-bowling allrounder Roston Chase, Nabi fronted up to bowl at the death as well.
Rashid Khan (Barbados Tridents): The 21-year-old legspinner passed 300 T20 wickets during this season, but most sides chose simply to play out his four overs. Khan came away with 11 wickets in 10 matches while conceding 6.85 runs an over. He had his moments with the bat, too, although he was dismissed for a golden duck in his last CPL innings, while promoted to No. 3.
Fabian Allen (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots): The power-hitting allrounder missed his flight from Jamaica to Barbados, and was subsequently ruled out of the league. His unavailability coincided with the Patriots' sharp decline. He has, however, already linked up with the Sunrisers in the UAE.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Sunil Narine (Trinbago Knight Riders): The spinner and opening batsman missed seven matches for TKR this year because of kidney stones and injury. However, he did start the tournament in grand fashion with back-to-back half-centuries at the top, and also spun the ball both ways with a reworked action, hiding the ball behind his back during his run-up.
Andre Russell (Jamaica Tallawahs): A knee flare-up limited Russell's bowling, but it didn't seem to affect his power-hitting. He stuck three half-centuries in the tournament, including a 28-ball 54 from No.4 against the 2019 champions Barbados Tridents. In all, Russell cracked 222 runs in eight innings at a strike rate of 141.40.
Chris Green (Guyana Amazon Warriors): In the absence of Shoaib Malik, Green took charge of the Amazon Warriors and led them to the semi-finals. He came into the tournament with a reworked action, but was his usual thrifty self, particularly with the new ball, giving up runs at only 5.68. His control came to the fore during a stellar spell of 4-2-3-1 against the Tridents, and he said he was confident with his new action and rhythm heading into his first IPL season.

Delhi Capitals

Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana Amazon Warriors): He blew hot and cold in the Amazon Warriors' middle order, but was still their best batsman with 267 runs in 11 innings at an average of 33.37 and strike rate of 125.94.
Sandeep Lamichhane (Jamaica Tallawahs): The Nepal legspinner pinned down the opposition in the middle overs; his overall economy rate of 5.27 was the fourth-best among bowlers who had bowled at least 20 overs this season behind Narine, Chase and Nabi.
Keemo Paul (Guyana Amazon Warriors): The pitches in Trinidad weren't conducive to pace, but Paul and Kesrick Williams were among the few West Indies seamers who did fairly well. Paul picked up nine wickets in ten matches at an economy rate of 7.32, with his 4 for 19 against Patriots being the third-best figures this season.

Kings XI Punjab

Sheldon Cottrell (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots): Like most West Indies quicks, Cottrell didn't pose enough wicket-taking threat and managed just five strikes in seven games as the Patriots fell away swiftly. He also conceded more than eight an over.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Jamaica Tallawahs): No.2 on the ICC T20I rankings, No.2 on the CPL wicket charts. The Afghanistan spinner performed the dual role of striking in the Powerplay and outside of the first six overs. He and Lamichanne were central to Tallawahs making the semi-finals despite their batting meltdowns.
Nicholas Pooran (Guyana Amazon Warriors): In a tournament dominated by spin and slower bowlers, Pooran produced the only hundred, which came off a mere 45 balls at a strike rate of 222.22. This was Pooran's maiden T20 hundred and it had his mentor and TKR captain Kieron Pollard posting this on Instagram: "keep aiming for the stars and continue on that journey @nicholaspooran . Many more to come in this format an also the other TWO formats."

Rajasthan Royals

Oshane Thomas (Jamaica Tallawahs): The West Indies quick sprayed the ball around and was taken for 78 runs in seven overs. He played just three matches and warmed the bench for eight.
No Royal Challengers Bangalore player was part of CPL 2020.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo