The 2023 CPL season has drawn to a close for us, but our journey was anything but ordinary. Despite finishing third in the league table with 10 points, comprising 4 wins and 4 losses, our path was cut short in the Eliminator against Jamaica Tallawahs.
Nonetheless, there are numerous positives to glean from this season's campaign. Foremost among them is our remarkable consistency, marking the fourth consecutive year of playoff qualification—a testament to our unwavering determination. Let's delve into our 2023 CPL journey and the spirited fight we put up till the very end.
The Saint Lucia Leg
The 2023 CPL commenced with the Saint Lucia leg, pitting us against formidable opposition in our very first match, Jamaica Tallawahs. After restricting them to 187 through excellent bowling and an 81-run innings by their captain, Brandon King, our chase began slowly. Roston Chase and Roshon Primus spearheaded a late resurgence, but alas, victory eluded us as we fell short by 11 runs.
However, we mounted a spectacular recovery less than 24 hours later, facing Barbados Royals at the same venue. Posting a formidable target of 202, with Faf du Plessis and Sean Williams contributing with scores of 46 and 47, we overwhelmed the Royals, bowling them out for 147. It was our first win in the 2023 edition.
The following two games against Guyana Amazon Warriors and Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots were abandoned due to rain, with the latter washed out without a ball being bowled. Points were shared, concluding our Saint Lucia leg.
The Saint Kitts Leg
Next on our journey was the Saint Kitts leg, where we confronted the star-studded Trinbago Knight Riders. Faf led from the front with a half-century, and exceptional late hitting by Sikandar Raza propelled us to a competitive 167. The TKR batting lineup, however, succumbed to our spin attack, with Khary Pierre, Chase, and Raza orchestrating their downfall. This victory added momentum as we looked ahead to the Barbados leg. It also saw Raza assume the captaincy in place of Faf, who was replaced by Colin Munro.
The Barbados Leg
In the clash against Barbados Royals, our pace bowlers came to the forefront, defending our total of 195 with distinction. Forde, Joseph, and Hatzoglou accounted for 6 of the 10 wickets, as we bowled out the Royals for a mere 105 runs. This emphatic win propelled us to the top of the 2023 CPL table.
The Trinidad Leg
The Trinidad leg presented two more encounters. First, we faced the Patriots, who were already out of playoff contention. We set a target of 150, but brilliant death overs bowling by our bowlers pushed the match to the final ball of the innings. Andre Fletcher's resilience secured victory for the Patriots, handing us only our second loss of the tournament.
In our rematch against TKR, Colin Munro's 72 off 51 powered us to 167. Yet, Mark Deyal and Andre Russell's determined efforts saw them to victory in just 18.5 overs. This left us with a nervy ending in the group stage, still requiring a win from our remaining two games.
The Guyana Leg and Playoffs
A resounding victory against the Warriors, thanks to Bhanuka's exceptional 86-run performance, ended their unbeaten streak and secured our third-place finish and a spot in the playoffs. Our group stage concluded with a hefty 122-run loss to our eventual Eliminator opponents.
Although our Eliminator performance was subpar with the bat, Forde's brilliance with the ball kept us in the game until the end. However, Tallawahs secured a comfortable 5-wicket win, marking our exit from the tournament.
Rest assured, we'll return stronger next season, hungry to clinch our maiden CPL title. Our players are more determined than ever to hoist the coveted trophy.