Fast bowlers with variations and six-hitters have always attracted attention in T20 cricket. ESPNcricinfo lists out five such CPL 2018 performers who could be in the lens of various other T20 leagues.
Ali Khan (Trinbago Knight Riders)
He was nicknamed ‘The yorker machine’ by his USA team-mates for his ability to consistently hit the blockhole at speeds north of 140kph. Then, in the Global T20 Canada, he impressed Winnipeg Hawks captain Dwayne Bravo, who also captains Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL, so much so that he was signed as a replacement player by TKR.
In his first game of the season against St Lucia Stars, he harried Andre Fletcher with pace and bounce before tricking the opener with a knuckle ball. In the next match against Jamaica Tallawahs, Ali Khan bagged three wickets in seven balls but dropped Andre Russell first ball and watched the Tallawahs captain batter an unbeaten 121 in a remarkable chase.
Ali Khan buried the disappointment of the drop in the next game against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, and snaffled another three-wicket haul. He continued to be a dominant force for TKR with the ball, finishing as the fourth-highest wicket-taker with 16 scalps in 12 games at an economy rate of 7.80.
When the CPL was hurtling to the knockouts, Ali Khan was picked up by the Kabul franchise in the Afghanistan Premier League. Is he on the BBL and IPL radars as well?
Oshane Thomas (Jamaica Tallawahs)
The 21-year-old, who had clocked speeds close to 150kph in CPL 2017, set the speed gun on fire this season too. Did you watch his searing yorker to Shai Hope – the ball of CPL 2018? He angled a yorker into the toes of the batsman, then found late outswing to storm through his defences and floor the middle stump.
Thomas was consistent as well, taking at least one wicket in each of the 10 games he played. His tally of 18 wickets included big names such as Martin Guptill, David Warner, Evin Lewis (thrice) and Dwayne Bravo among others. According to CricViz, Thomas had a strike rate of 14.50 in the Powerplay – the third best after Mohammad Irfan and Ali Khan.
Obed McCoy (St Lucia Stars)
Another out-and-out quick, who took the Global T20 Canada route to CPL 2018. After claiming 11 wickets – the most by a West Indies B bowler in their run to the final – McCoy played only seven matches for St Lucia Stars, but still ended as their joint-highest wicket-taker with nine wickets at an economy rate of 7.80. His left-arm variety and slower cutters stood out even as the rest of the Stars faded away.
Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
Hetmyer is only 21 but he has already built an impressive CV: he has played two Under-19 World Cups – leading West Indies to glory in 2016, he has featured in 20 internationals for West Indies, and last month he became CPL’s youngest centurion when he walloped a hundred off 47 balls against Jamaica Tallawahs; one of the better bowling attacks in the tournament.
For Amazon Warriors to give themselves a second shot at making the final, they needed to chase down 155 in 15.3 overs against TKR at Providence, and they did it in 14.1 overs thanks to Hetmyer’s fireworks. He then put his side in the final with a more sedate 39 in the Qualifier 1, but his form cooled off against TKR in the title bout.
Sherfane Rutherford (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
In a display of outrageous six-hitting, he smoked an unbeaten 45 in 13 balls: 6 6 6 1 0 1 1 6 6 2 6 1 4, against TKR in partnership with Hetmyer during that 155 chase. Dwayne Bravo bore the brunt of the assault, going for 25 runs in six balls. The shot of CPL 2018, however, came when Rutherford launched his third six. When left-arm spinner Nikita Miller pushed one through wide outside off, Rutherford reversed his hands so very quickly and swatted the ball into the second tier over backward square leg.
Rutherford had also showed off his big hitting during his 134 not out off 66 balls, including 11 fours and 10 sixes, in the Global T20 Canada Qualifier 1 against a Vancouver Kings attack comprising Tim Southee, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Russell and Fawad Ahmed, who turned out to be the top wicket-taker in CPL 2018. Given his ability to hit sixes on demand, Rutherford looks set to barge into other T20 leagues.