Caribbean cricket party
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Monday, August 26 2013
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Good time: Cricket lovers have a good time during the party after the 2013 Limacol CPL final, Queen's Park Oval, Port-of-Spain....
The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) came to an exciting climax on Saturday evening with an explosion of cricket, colour and culture at Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.
From as early as 5 pm, thousands of cricket fans began streaming into the Oval with their coolers well stocked for the final of the CPL between the Jamaica Tallawahs and the Guyana Amazon Warriors which bowled off at 8 pm.
With the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel eliminated at the semi-final stage, Trinis adopted the Amazon Warriors as their team with local players Lendl Simmons, William Perkins, Sunil Narine and Denesh Ramdin featuring for the Guyana franchise team. There were no TT players on the Tallawahs squad.
And although it was the Tallawahs who would emerge victorious, defeating the Guyanese team by seven wickets, it would take more than that to dampen the spirits of the fans.
The Oval was a true melting pot of the Caribbean on Saturday with Guyanese and Jamaicans flying in for the final as well as those residing in this country coming out to support the nation of their birth.
In true Trini style, scalpers were stationed at every corner around the Oval, asking passers-by whether they wished to pay a bit extra to see the grand final. And Trinis, never known to miss a party, were all too willing to pay as much as $300 for the $100 tickets.
Inside the venue, there was a showcase of some of the best Twenty20 players in the world on both sides including the hard-hitting Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle, ace spinner Narine, stylish opening batsman Simmons, South African pacer Vernon Philander, the retired but still wily Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan as well as his compatriots Lasith Malinga and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The match, a low scoring one, proved more tense than exciting with the Amazon Warriors trying their best but in vain to defend a score of 128 for five. Tallawahs, led by Gayle’s Man-of-the- Match knock of 47 not out eased to victory with 15 balls to spare. With the excitement between the stumps over, thousands of fans converged on the Oval field for the after party which featured soca artistes Blaxx, Denise Belfon, Superblue and Iwer George as well as calypsonian Black Stalin.
The former Calypso Monarch had spectators dancing and singing his hits word for word including the ever popular “Black Man Feeling To Party”, “Wait Dorothy” and the aptly titled “Caribbean Man”.
With the first edition of the tournament over, organisers and fans across the region are already looking forward to 2014 with more stars coming to the Caribbean to play.
Venues across the region were sold out for the majority of the tournament and the CPL has certainly brought the Caribbean a bit closer with TT players scattered across the six franchises.
At the start of the competition, there was some trepidation about TT’s Kieron Pollard being captain of the Barbados Tridents, which he led into the semis, but cricket fans have certainly warmed to the welcoming nature of the CPL and are expecting even more fun in the future.