The Hero CPL (Caribbean Premier League) was a mighty clash between Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) and St. Lucia Zouks. At the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad & Tobago, the match ended with the Trinbago Knight Riders crowned champions on home soil. This epic match was unique as both teams in the final had links to the IPL (Indian Premier League)
Trinbago Knight Riders previously played as Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel until the end of the 2015 season. In 2015, the squad was taken over by Red Chillies Entertainment, a consortium associated with Bollywood mogul Shah Rukh Khan. Other investors in Red Chillies Entertainment include Jay Mehta of the Mehta Group and his wife, Juwi Chawla. This change of ownership put fresh impetus into the squad and inspired them to clinch the 2015 CPL title.
However, Shah Rukh Khan, the Trinbago Knight Riders team owner, was only following the trend set by other mega-actors turned entrepreneurs like Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler. Mark Wahlberg has an ownership stake in Barbados Tridents, while Gerard Butler has invested in Jamaica Tallawahs.
Last year, KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, the consortium that owns IPL franchise Kings XI Punjabi acquired St Lucia Zouks. The company associated with businessman Mohit Burman became the second franchise currently involved in the CPL. St Lucia Zouks were late entrants into the CPL in 2019, replacing St Lucia Stars, whose agreement with CPL was terminated just a month before the beginning of the 2019 tournament. St Lucia Zouks were known as just Zouks before being incorporated into the CPL.
Trinbago Knight Riders are the most successful franchise in the history of the CPL, with four titles under its belt. TKR won in 2015, 2018, 2018, and 2020 and still managed to get into the semi-final of the inaugural edition of CPL in 2013. Note that it won its first title in 2015, playing as Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel before switching names to reflect ownership changes.
Trinbago Knight Riders’ path to the final was flawless as it won all the matches in the league stage, its semi-final, and eventually the final. This feat of not tasting defeat was a first for any team in the CPL. Trinbago Knight Riders played Jamaica Tallawahs in the semi-final. Kieron Pollard, the skipper, utilized his bowlers and placed his fielders optimally to lock down Tallawahs for below-par 107/7.
Trinbago Knight Riders spin bowlers ran amok on the Tallawahs, batting top-order to power to a sub-par total with a full five overs to go. Eventually, Trinbago Knight Riders team won the day, trouncing Jamaica Tallawahs by just nine wickets.
The final of the Hero CPL 2020 between TKR and St Lucia Zouks was hard-fought as both squads played their all on that field. Kieron Pollard, the TKR captain, led from the front with a standout bowling performance followed by the prolific duo of Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo.
From 19 to 2, the two rebuilt the innings for the rest of the first half, making 96 to get from the final overs. The pair then made light work of wrist spinners Javelle Glenn and Zahir Khan. Next, Kieran Pollard wreaked havoc on Zouks middle-order, taking four wickets in an inspirational spell. But eventually, TKR had the last laugh winning the match by eight wickets. Lendl Simmons was named Player of the match, while Kieron Pollard was named Player of the tournament.
This year’s CPL 2021 schedule was released and CPL games will start from August 26 to September 15, 2021, in St Kitts and Nevis. This West Indies domestic tournament features six teams and has been held since 2008. Due to the COVID pandemic, the organizers decided to host this year’s edition at only one location, Warner Park Sporting Complex, St Kitts, and Nevis.
Teams are observing strict quarantine protocols, and they will be operating in bio-secure bubbles to maintain safety for those involved and the population at large. Before the commencement of this year’s edition, two teams have recently rebranded. Barbados Tridents will from now on be known as Barbados Royals, and St Lucia Zouks become Saint Lucia Kings.