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Feature

CPL 2022 week two: Unstoppable Royals, unconvincing Knight Riders

Royals look like the runaway early favourites, while South Africans Corbin Bosch and Dwaine Pretorious sparkle in the St Lucia leg

Deivarayan Muthu
12-Sep-2022
Corbin Bosch has been in excellent form in CPL 2022, Barbados Royals vs Jamaica Tallawahs, CPL 2022, Gros Islet, September 11, 2022

Corbin Bosch has been in excellent form in CPL 2022  •  CPL T20 via Getty Images

The St Lucia leg of CPL 2022 ended on Sunday, with the hosts trumping defending champions St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. ESPNcricinfo brings you the highlights from the second leg of the tournament
There's no stopping Barbados Royals
From managing all of three wins last season, Barbados Royals have rattled up five wins in five games this season and are the only unbeaten side in the tournament so far. Royals were particularly dominant against Trinbago Knight Riders in a rain-hit game. After punchy half-centuries from Kyle Mayers and captain David Miller carried them to 194 for 4, Oshane Thomas, the fast bowler, and Devon Thomas, who bowls part-time offspin, triggered a TKR collapse as Kieron Pollard's men lost seven wickets in the first seven overs of their chase. There would be no way back for TKR, despite the rain in Gros Islet.
Royals' top order was central to their next two victories as well, against St Lucia Kings and Jamaica Tallawahs. South African allrounder Corbin Bosch made contrasting fifties to lead those chases for Royals.
Left-arm seamer Obed McCoy had a fairly low-key start to CPL 2022, and then struggled with his run-up and rhythm in the game against Kings, conceding 41 runs in his four overs. He, however, tightened up and stabilised his run-up to claim 3 for 24 in his four overs against Tallawahs, including the prized scalps of Rovman Powell and Fabian Allen.
Royals will be bolstered further by the arrival of Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman for the next leg of the CPL.
Why did Hetmyer do that?
In his first CPL season as captain, Shimron Hetmyer got a lot of moves right until the very last over of the game against Patriots who needed 22 off the last six balls with four wickets in hand. Odean Smith, who had pounded the pitch with his heavy lengths and high pace, seemed the natural choice to bowl that final over for Amazon Warriors. Just as Smith got ready to bowl it, Hetmyer belatedly changed his mind and instead tossed the ball to Romario Shepherd who has a tendency to leak runs at the death. In the last overs alone, since his CPL debut since 2018, Shepherd has conceded 91 off 48 balls, but Hetmyer still took a risk, which cost Amazon Warriors the game.
Dwaine Pretorius, who had been plucked out of the IPL by Dwayne Bravo, went 6,6,6 to pull off an unlikely victory for Patriots. It was so unlikely that it was the first time that a side had successfully chased down more than 20 runs in the last over of a CPL match.
Star-studded TKR fade
In their quest to get ahead of the DLS score against Royals, TKR suffered an irreparable collapse, which head coach Abhishek Nayar brushed off as an off day. However, even in their next game against Tallawahs, TKR collapsed to 97 for 8 in their pursuit of 154. It might not be panic stations yet for TKR, as they have played at least one game fewer than the other teams, but there are serious concerns around their batting.
Opening the batting, Sunil Narine has managed only scores of 6,7 and 0, and Tion Webster's transition from the regional level into Lendl Simmons' role at the CPL hasn't been smooth. The problems seep into the middle order as well: Nicholas Pooran, Pollard and Andre Russell are yet to fire like they can. To add to their woes, spin-bowling allrounder, Akeal Hosein, hasn't featured for them since he injured his groin in TKR's opening game on September 1.
As it stands, TKR also have the worst run-rate in the league and are at the bottom of the points table, with just one win in four games.
Player of the week
It's hard to look past Bosch who has lit up the league with his all-round contributions. After bagging five catches in a game in the opening week - a CPL record matched by Kings' Tim David this week - Bosch cracked back-to-back fifties and backed up Royals' decision to play him at No.3 - a role he had performed in the inaugural 6ixty as well.
Against Kings, Bosch smashed 81 off 50 balls to turn a potentially tricky chase into a canter for Royals and then made a more sedate fifty against Tallawahs. When on song, Bosch can be particularly brutal with his ball-striking on the leg side. He also fronts up to bowl at the death though that aspect of his game is still a work in progress. Bosch has grown so much with the Royals that he is also part of their set-up in the IPL (Rajasthan Royals) and the SA20 (Paarl Royals).
Celebration of the week
In only his third official T20 game, 20-year-old Kings seamer Matthew Forde ripped through Patriots' top order with figures of 3 for 19 in his three overs. After Dewald Brevis had hit Forde for a no-look six over midwicket - a candidate for the shot of the season - Forde generated a bit of extra bounce to have him splicing a catch to David for 11 off 9 balls. Forde was so pumped that he leapt and then took off on an Imran Tahir-esque celebratory run, with the home crowd cheering him on.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo