There might still be a good eight months left for the next season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to kick-off, but hey, don’t you worry, because the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is almost here to fill the IPL shaped-void in your heart. The seventh season of the CPL promises to be the best one yet, and honestly, who doesn’t love a proper T20 carnival with a bit of Caribbean spice added to it? In fact, interestingly enough, there are more similarities between the CPL and the IPL than you could ever imagine, and so, we have decided to pull out our binoculars and spot the “IPL Doppelgangers” for your very own CPL teams.
Trinbago Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians
They were the most-hyped team heading into the inaugural edition of the tournament and they had the services of Dwayne Bravo as well. They disappointed big-time in the first two seasons before eventually setting the tournament alight in the third edition. Reading this, you might think we’re talking about Mumbai Indians, but in fact, the team we are talking about is Trinbago Knight Riders. Of course, their comparison with the “Knight Riders” ends right there, as the way they’ve gone about their business in the CPL points towards a certain Mumbai Indians flavour. While MI won the last edition of IPL, TKR won the last edition of CPL. While MI have an 80% win record in IPL finals (4/5), TKR have a 100% record in CPL finals (3/3). We could keep going on and on, but just like their long-lost brothers MI, TKR have made winning a habit, and frankly, in many ways, have been playing monopoly in the CPL in the last two seasons. The only area where they’ve not copied Mumbai Indians is by starting the season with an array of losses, and well, they’d be hoping for that to remain the same this season.
Guyana Amazon Warriors and Royal Challengers Bangalore
Never having won the tournament despite making 3 finals ✔
Lose in 3 different finals to 3 different teams ✔
Possess the services of Shimron Hetmyer ✔
Branded as the “chokers” of the tournament ✔
Words like “How?” “Why?” “If only” “What if?” and “So close, yet so far” have been time and again repeated by both fans and players of both these teams. I mean, it is, of course, understandable, as one can only imagine the pain they must be going through, not to have seen their team lift the coveted trophy despite having reached the final thrice (four in the case of GAW). If it’s Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers wreaking havoc in one part of the world, on the other, it is Cameron Delport, Shimron Hetmyer, and Luke Ronchi. But just like a well-prepared student whose mind went blank after seeing the question paper, both these teams have had their batteries stop working in the final frontier, and sadly enough, it has happened way too many times. Once again, pressure and expectation will be on their shoulders ahead of the new season, and once again, they might actually end up reaching the final, but then again, there lies the question – will they actually be able to transform themselves into a shrewd student who actually aces the exam?
Jamaica Tallawahs and Chennai Super Kings
In case you’re wondering, we’ve not drawn this comparison just because MS Dhoni’s nickname in CSK is “Thala”. But on second thought, it might actually not be a bad idea to call him a “Tallawah” if he ever played in the CPL. Just like their counterparts Chennai Super Kings, the Jamaica Tallawahs have made the knockout stage of the competition in every single season. And just like CSK, the Jamaica Tallawahs are the second-most successful side in the history of the competition, behind Mumbai Indians (Trinbago Knight Riders). Just like CSK, the Jamaican franchise, too, love strangling their opposition with spin. Having boasted the likes of Ish Sodhi, Adam Zampa, Samuel Badree, Imad Wasim, and Shahid Afridi over the years, the Jamaican franchise spun a web over every single team they faced and skated their way to victory over the years. They built an identity, brand and a dynasty of their own and created their own fortress at Sabina Park. Again, they’re also the team who has always been written off but have silenced their critics with their performances on the field. Don’t be surprised if they do the same this time around too as apparently they’ve the support of some bloke named Chris Gayle, heh!
Barbados Tridents and Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad won their first-ever IPL title in 2016 by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore. No prizes for guessing who Barbados Tridents beat to win their first-ever CPL title, though. And just like SRH, Tridents, too, have reached two finals – winning one and losing one. If David Warner and Rashid Khan are SRH’s trump cards, here we have Alex Hales and Sandeep Lamichchanne to do the same. While they’ve seldom been the team which everyone just sees on paper and goes “WOW”, they’ve almost always gone about their business professionally, sometimes even under the radar, while always staying in contention for the title. They’re not as big a brand as a Jamaica Tallawahs or a Trinbago Knight Riders, but what they are is an extremely consistent and talented team who have made headlines through sheer consistency. Much like SRH who are led by the calm-headed Kane Williamson, Tridents have their very own Williamson in the form of Jason Holder. Come September, they will once again have their task cut-out in trying to win the CPL by slaying the other giants in the competition.
St Lucia Zouks and Delhi Capitals
What do we call a team that has never won the tournament and has recently tinkered around with their name? Delhi Capitals? No? St Lucia Zouks? Actually, both. In fact, ironically enough, both these teams have not reached the final of even a single edition of their respective tournaments, despite always boasting one of the better squads in the competition. And just like the Delhi Capitals, the outcome has always either been the bottom, second from bottom or losing semi-finalists, for the St Lucia Zouks. Time and again, season after season, fans have been left with their heads scratching, thinking how a team of such quality and substance actually underperforms time and over. Come the 2019 edition of the tournament, they will once again head into the CPL with a strong set of personnel, and well, a repackaged name helped the Delhi-based franchise reach the playoffs in this IPL, and the St Lucia Zouks will also be hoping for the same, and maybe even to go two better than their Indian counterparts.