Cricket Year in Review 2021: Windies flop at World Cup, Red Force dominate and Bravo says farewell
WEST Indies failed to impress at the T20 World Cup, a West Indies “Champion” signed off on a stellar international career and a star-studded TT Red Force blew away the opposition on their way to the Super50 regional title. It all happened in 2021.
The sporting world, including West Indies and TT cricket, continued to be affected by the covid19 pandemic but enough events were still held making it an entertaining year.
WINDIES FLOP AT T20 WORLD CUP
West Indies entered the 2021 International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman with one of the strongest teams, at least on paper.
The tournament was held from October 17-November 14.
The calibre of players could not deliver performances that matched their experience and track record.
Captain Kieron Pollard, vice-captain Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons were among the players on the team.
Many former players criticised the team chosen. Some questioned the selection of 42-year-old Gayle and others.
Jason Holder, who was initially overlooked, eventually made it into the 15-man squad after fast bowler Obed McCoy picked up an injury.
Sherfane Rutherford, Odean Smith and Sunil Narine did not meet the Cricket West Indies fitness standard.
Rutherford and Smith both impressed during the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament.
West Indies could only muster one win in five matches in group one of the Super 12. The group included England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
It was the worst possible start for Pollard’s team as they were all out for 55 in 14.2 overs against England.
England wrapped up a comfortable six-wicket victory.
An eight-wicket defeat against South Africa followed which meant West Indies were already facing elimination. Only the top two teams in each group qualified for the semifinals.
West Indies escaped with a three-run win over Bangladesh, but defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia followed which ended their campaign.
West Indies only scored more than 150 runs on two occasions and the bowlers also struggled to grab wickets. In five matches, the Windies bowlers snatched 16 wickets out of a possible 50.
DJ BRAVO SAYS GOODBYE
Dwayne Bravo, 38, played his last match for West Indies when he lined up against Australia at the T20 World Cup.
It marked the end of an international career that started in 2004.
Following his final match for West Indies, Bravo said, “I think I had a fairly decent enough career to walk away from the game…I am very grateful to represent the West Indies for so long.”
Nicknamed DJ Bravo and the Champion, Bravo played the game with energy that was unmatched.
Bravo wants to continue playing franchise cricket for a few more years.
Recalling a few of his best moments for West Indies, Bravo said, “I have a few (memories) obviously getting my Test cap at Lords, my childhood hero Lara was the captain so that moment was very special. Winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004 was another special moment for me, my first Test hundred against South Africa (was) another special moment and obviously the two T20 World Cup (titles in 2012 and 2016) I put high up there.”
Bravo played 91 T20 Internationals, taking 78 wickets and scoring 1,255 runs. In 164 ODI appearances, he made 2,968 runs and took 199 wickets.
He has also played 40 Tests and scored 2,200 runs – with three centuries and 86 wickets.
Gayle, 42, has not confirmed his retirement but said in an interview he wants to play one more time in front of his home crowd in Jamaica.
RED FORCE CRUISE TO SUPER50 CROWN
The TT Red Force squad chosen for the 2021 Regional Super50 title in February in Antigua and Barbuda was a formidable one.
All the seasoned campaigners made themselves available with the likes of captain Kieron Pollard and vice-captain Darren Bravo.
Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Imran Khan, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, Jayden Seales, Kjorn Ottley, Anderson Phillip and Khary Pierre also made the trip. They were the favourites before a ball was bowled.
The team was coached by David Furlonge and Dwayne Bravo served as the team’s mentor.
Mohammed finished as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 327 runs.
The Red Force players sent a warning in the preliminary phase winning all five of their matches.
In the semifinals, Simmons and Rampaul led the charge for Red Force.
Jamaica Scorpions scored 255/7 batting first with Rampaul grabbing 4/29 in ten overs.
Simmons cracked 68 to guide Red Force to 256/4 in 42.1 overs to book a place in the final.
Red Force delivered a clinical performance in the final against Guyana Jaguars with Simmons and Rampaul again leading the way.
Simmons slammed 146 in 145 balls to propel Red Force to a massive 362/5 in 50 overs.
In reply, Jaguars were dismissed for 210 in 43.5 overs as Red Force completed a 152-run victory and ended the tournament unbeaten.
It was TT’s 13th 50-over title at the regional level.
PATRIOTS CLAIM MAIDEN CPL TITLE
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots took full advantage of home court by winning their maiden CPL crown.
The entire 2021 tournament was played at Warner Park in St Kitts from August 26-September 15.
The covid19 pandemic forced the CPL officials to play the entire tournament at one location to reduce the travelling among the players. St Kitts and Nevis have been able to control the spread of covid19.
Only vaccinated fans were allowed to attend some matches at 50 per cent capacity.
Patriots were captained by Dwayne Bravo for the first time after the TT cricketer spent the first eight years of the CPL with Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR). TKR were called TT Red Steel from 2013-2015.
Inspired by their home support, Patriots began the tournament with five wins on the trot.
Patriots lost steam winning just one of their last five matches to finish the preliminary phase in third position.
TKR finished first, Guyana Amazon Warriors were second and St Lucia Kings fourth.
In semi-final one, Kings got past TKR by 21 runs and in semi-final two Patriots defeated Amazon Warriors by seven wickets.
In the final, Patriots sealed their first CPL title with a three-wicket win over the Kings.
Dominic Drakes struck 48 not out off 24 deliveries as Patriots got to the target of 160 off the final ball.
Patriots had a balance of youth and experience with Bravo and Gayle leading players like Drakes, Rutherford, Joshua Da Silva and Fabian Allen.
BASSARATH STAYS AT THE HELM OF TTCB
In October at the National Cricket Centre in Couva, Azim Bassarath defeated lone challenger Surujdath Mahabir 34-15 and began his fifth term as TT Cricket Board (TTCB) president.
Bassarath, who has been in power since 2009, will be in charge for the next four years.
"Cricket Year in Review 2021: Windies flop at World Cup, Red Force dominate and Bravo says farewell"