The 2023 CPL season will forever hold a special place in our hearts and those of our fans. Although the ending didn't unfold as we had envisioned, it remains a season etched in memory for our players and everyone associated with the Kings.
On our journey to the playoffs, we showcased some breathtaking cricket, resulting in crucial victories that will be remembered for years to come. Let's take a closer look at some of our standout moments from the 2023 CPL.
- Match 5 vs Trinbago Knight Riders: Won by 54 runs
After a resounding victory in Match 2 against Barbados Royals and two rain-affected games, we faced a formidable Trinbago Knight Riders side who hadn't experienced a full game in the 2023 CPL. Momentum was on our side, despite losing the toss and being asked to bat first.
Our skipper, Faf du Plessis, capitalized on the opportunity, punishing Pollard and his bowlers. An impressive opening partnership between Faf and Johnson Charles (57 and 37, respectively), coupled with a brilliant finish by Sikandar Raza, led us to a competitive total of 167/5 from our 20 overs.
During their chase, TKR encountered a lethal bowling attack, especially our spin department, which accounted for 8 wickets courtesy of Raza, Roston Chase, and Khary Pierre. Although Pollard tried to stage a late comeback, our spin trio proved insurmountable. We wrapped up the match in just 14.5 overs, dismissing TKR for 113, securing a resounding victory and valuable momentum for the tournament.
- Match 6 vs Barbados Royals: Won by 90 runs
With two impressive victories already under our belt, our hunger for success was insatiable as we faced Barbados Royals. It was a memorable debut as captain for Sikandar Raza, and it couldn't have gone better.
Once again, we lost the toss and were asked to bat first. However, we set a formidable total of 195/6, with Johnson Charles leading the way with a splendid 78 from 52 balls. Bolstered by our formidable bowling form, confidence was sky-high. If our previous win against TKR was primarily due to our spinners, this time the pacers took center stage.
With a combined total of 6 wickets between Alzarri Joseph, Peter Hatzoglou, and Matthew Forde, as well as 4 wickets shared among Raza, Primus, and Pierre, it was a comprehensive performance. Every bowler contributed with a wicket, and we dismissed the Royals for just 105 in 17.3 overs. Johnson Charles rightfully earned the Man of the Match award, and we achieved a convincing double over the Royals this season with a commanding 90-run victory.
- Match 9 vs Guyana Amazon Warriors: Won by 7 wickets (15 balls left)
Despite a strong start in the league, two unexpected defeats in Match 7 & 8 meant we needed a victory in our penultimate group-stage game. Our opponents were the Guyana Amazon Warriors, who had remained unbeaten and comfortably led the CPL table.
Overcoming the only unbeaten side was a daunting task, but our team was up for the challenge. The Warriors, batting first, set a competitive total of 168 for us to chase. In response, after an early loss of Johnson Charles, it was the Bhanuka-Munro show at the crease. The duo formed a spectacular 136-run partnership, virtually sealing our spot in the playoffs.
Bhanuka contributed a brilliant 86, while Munro added 55 to the tally. We comfortably secured victory with 7 wickets in hand and 15 balls to spare, guaranteeing us a third-place finish in the CPL table.
While the 2023 CPL didn't conclude as we had hoped, these remarkable moments defined our journey and will be cherished by fans and players alike for years to come.