CPL round-up: Kieron Pollard comes back home

Kieron Pollard gave it a good whack CPL T20/Getty Images

The absence of a few marquee players took some sheen off the opening week of CPL 2019, but the newbies and those usual suspects more than made up for it. ESPNcricinfo looks back at the major highlights from the first six matches

All new season, same-old story?

These are still early days, but last year's finalists Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors continue to dominate the points table, with both teams having secured a hat-trick of wins at home. St Lucia are the Zouks again and Darren Sammy is back as captain, but they continue to be rooted to the bottom half of the table along with Barbados Tridents. Chris Gayle's Jamaica Tallawahs and Carlos Brathwaite's St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, too, are yet to get points on board.

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TKR were without four of their first-choice players for the opener - New Zealand's Colin Munro (international duty), USA's Ali Khan (ankle sprain), Darren Bravo (concussion), Dwayne Bravo (sidelined from the entire tournament with a finger injury) - but they found new heroes in Jimmy Neesham and 19-year-old Pakistan tearaway Mohammad Hasnain to beat the Patriots, and the dew, at the Queen's Park Oval.

In their next game against the Tallawahs, we witnessed the arrival of local batsman Tion Webster, who raised his maiden T20 half-century with some stylish shots. Earlier this year, the 24-year old was named the MVP of the University of the West Indies (UWI) T20 tournament in St Augustine but it remains to be seen if he keeps his place in the TKR side when Munro and Darren Bravo are available for selection this week.

The Amazon Warriors, meanwhile, received an injury scare when their regular captain Shoaib Malik was struck flush on the forearm by a shot from his batting partner Shimron Hetmyer. But, stand-in captain Chris Green marshalled his resources expertly to hand them their opening win, despite some fireworks from the Zouks' Rahkeem Cornwall.

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Hetmyer hit form with an unbeaten 70 off 41 balls in Amazon Warriors' second match against the Patriots, thrilling the home fans who came in support of him wearing "Hetty" t-shirts. Sherfane Rutherford and Nicholas Pooran then pillaged 78 together off 29 balls to smash Barbados Tridents.

Dre Russ watch

Last month, Andre Russell had pulled out of the T20Is against India at home, with a press release saying he wasn't fully fit and yet hours later he was out on the field for Vancouver Knights in the Global T20 Canada. When asked about this, Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave said it was simply part of the allrounder's "rehabilitation plans".

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And if the CPL is any evidence, it looks like those plans are going relatively well. Russell bowled his full quota of four overs against TKR, but he needed some treatment on his shin towards the close of the first innings. In a chase of 192, Russell, showing no discomfort with the bat, cleared the boundary four times as he threatened to take the Tallahwahs over the line but, eventually, he fell a little short.

Batsman of the week

It has been an eventful week for Kieron Pollard. In addition to leading TKR, and though he hasn't played ODIs since 2016, he has been entrusted with the captaincy of the West Indies side in both white-ball formats.

The 32-year old is the most capped T20 player in the world, but before this CPL he had never played for his home franchise in Trinidad and he marked the occasion with a well-modulated 47 off 32 balls. The Patriots held back Pakistani legspinner Usama Mir - much like how Chennai Super Kings had reserved Imran Tahir for a match-up with Pollard in the IPL final earlier this year - but the TKR captain simply saw Mir off and went after the other bowlers. Pollard followed that innings with unbeaten knocks of 33 and 26, easing into the role of a finisher for a new franchise.

Bowler of the week

TKR's Neesham excelled with his clever change-ups and his team-mate Hasnain cranked it upto 155kph, but it was the Amazon Warriors legspinner Shadab Khan who posed a greater threat to the batsmen with his stock ball as well as the wrong'un.

After starting with 3 for 16 against the Zouks, he toyed with the Patriots and at one point had scarcely-believable figures of 3-0-4-2. After trapping Evin Lewis with a googly, Shadab dismissed fellow Pakistani Mohammad Hafeez with a slower legbreak. Shadab also played a crucial hand in the Amazon Warriors' victory over the Tridents, but his CPL stint has been cut short due to "domestic commitments" with Imran Tahir set to take his place.

Celebration of the week

Sheldon Cottrell kicked off the tournament with his trademark salute and the Zouks' Kesrick Williams ditched his famous notebook celebration for a little dance-off with his captain Sammy, but let's go with Chris Lamont's dramatic celebratory run that somewhat made up for the absence of Tahir in the opening week. After bowling Lendl Simmons with his second ball, Lamont sprinted all the way towards the extra-cover boundary with his hands aloft and roared.