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Feature

CPL 2023 week one: King provides feast before rain ruins weekend plans

Chase' all-round knock in vain but St Lucia Kings bounce back against Barbados Royals

Rvel Zahid
21-Aug-2023
Brandon King struck 81 off just 53 balls to prop his side up, St Lucia Kings vs Jamaica Tallawahs, CPL 2023, St Lucia, August 16, 2023

Brandon King struck 81 off just 53 balls to prop his side up  •  CPL T20 via Getty Images

It's truly a delight to watch cricket in the Caribbean. There's always a buzz in the air, and spectators are filled with joie de vivre with the DJ helping out here and there. The jam-packed stadiums and carnival-like atmosphere create a spectacle like no other. ESPNcricinfo brings you the events of note from the first week of the brand-new season of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

King sizzles, Royals bounce back

Brandon King was the star of the show in the tournament opener with an 81-run blitzkrieg that got the reigning champions Jamaica Tallawahs off to a winning start after the team managed to post 187. In reply, St Lucia Kings' Roston Chase played a lone hand, taking the game into the final over, but he ran out of steam in the crucial moments. Chase also slowed things down with the ball after Tallawahs got off to a flier in the powerplay; he foxed three batters with his canny offspin.
Imad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers for Tallawahs. One of the most sought after T20 cricketers, Wasim had a fabulous outing, prising out Faf du Plessis, Raza, and Melius. But in less than 24 hours, the du Plessis-led Kings made a strong comeback and routed Barbados Royals by 54 runs in a lop-sided affair.

Cornwall's first-ball run-out

Kings elected to bat against Royals in their second match and their power-packed line-up ensured they didn't falter again. A 201 target was set for Royals on the back of du Plessis and Sean Williams' 46 and 47, respectively. Royals got off to the worst possible start. Rahkeem Cornwall was slow off the blocks - because there was a fumble at short fine leg, without which the players might not even have thought about a single - but he kept being slow even after Chris Sole recovered the ball. A direct hit followed at the bowler's end and from that mishap onwards, Royals just never seemed in control.
Early incisions from Matthew Forde pegged Royals back further as the speedster returned figures of 3 for 12. Forde was hitting the uncomfortable area with unerring accuracy and tested batters' technique in the powerplay was a big reason for the Kings picking up five wickets in the first six overs. Nyeem Young was the rare bright spot among the Royals; he resisted the early pressure and raced to 48 off 39 deliveries but without much support from his team-mates, the match's fate was sealed. It had been a one-man show with the ball too, Jason Holder extracting all the juice in the Gros Islet pitch to take four wickets but with very little pressure from the other end the Kings could not be stopped.

Rain plays spoilsport on the weekend

Rain wiped out both games on Saturday. Trinbago Knight Riders and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots split one point each after only three overs were possible in the first match.
The second game between Guyana Amazon Warriors and Saint Lucia Kings was hit by rain too. With several inspections, and rain-stoppages, the match was abridged to five overs per side, which was plenty of time for Saim Ayub and Azam Khan to ransack 56 runs, but that was all the action that was possible.
Rain played spoilsport on Sunday's double-header too. The soggy outfield forced the match officials to abandon both games; the first between Royals and Tallawahs and the second between table-toppers Kings and Patriots. The forecast looks good for the second week of the CPL, at Warner Park.