CPL 2016: Best XI from the fourth edition of Caribbean T20 carnival

As the year passes, another Twenty20 (T20) tournament concluded with some amazing performances by top cricketers. The 2016 edition of Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was surely one of the best T20 tournaments of the year. Both international and domestic players made a mark for themselves in this eventful tournament which was full of joyful and uncanny celebrations. This was the fourth edition of the tournament and for the second time, Jamaica Tallawahs have become the champion after 2013, which was also the first season. With the completion of this amazing tournament, Abhishek Kumar presents to you an XI comprising the best players from this season of CPL.

1.  Chris Gayle (Jamaica Tallawahs): Despite having injury issues, the Caribbean batting monster still managed to be among the top three run-scorers of the tournament. In 13 matches, Gayle scored 425 runs at 42.50 with strike rate of 155.67. He hit 36 sixes and 24 boundaries in this edition of CPL and ended the season by becoming the first cricketer to have hit 700 sixes in T20s. Seems like, Gayle is getting his magical touch back with such superlative performances.

2.  Johnson Charles: (St Lucia Zouks): Caribbean cricketers are known for their ever-smiling faces but one will hardly see this batsman smiling. A compatriot of Darren Sammy, who never stops smiling, Charles has emerged as a fantastic opening batsman in recent times. He was also the part of World T20 winning side this year, but did not get much to do in his side’s victorious campaign. Charles was the second highest run-getter of this CPL season with 441 runs in 11 matches at 44.10 with an impressive strike rate of 143.18.

3.  Chris Lynn (Guyana Amazon Warriors): This right-handed Australian batsman has been continuously making headlines for last one year or so. Lynn started with last year’s Big Bash League (BBL), where he ended up being the highest run-getter, followed by his selection in the Australian T20 side and now in CPL, emerged as the highest run-scorer in the tournament. In 12 matches, he made 454 runs at 45.40 with the strike rate of 133.13. Throughout the tournament, Lynn was the backbone of the Guyana’s batting line-up at number three.

4.  Colin Munro (Trinbago Knight Riders): He is surely one of the best clean hitters of the ball in the current cricketing scene. This South African-born Kiwi batsman played some excellent knocks for his side in CPL and was among the best middle order batsmen. He was the second batsman after Lynn to make a hundred in CPL 2016 and with two more fifty plus scores, Munro scored 382 runs in 11 matches at 38.20 with a strike rate of 144.15.

5.  AB de Villiers (Barbados Tridents): Be it any tournament, this man never stops scoring runs and you have to love the way he scores with his clean and innovative shots. De Villiers could play only six matches but he made his mark here too with the bat by scoring 234 runs at mind-boggling average of 58.50 at a strike rate of 150.96. After four explosive batsmen at the top, de Villiers provides strength to this team in the middle order and doubles-up by keeping the wickets too.

6.  Andre Russell (Jamaica Tallawahs): It was virtually impossible for Jamaica to reach the finals without this man’s blistering knock in the second qualifier. Be it bowling or batting, Russell is always there to rescue his side from trouble. In last one year, Russell has emerged as one of the best all rounders in T20s. With the bat, Russell collected 286 runs in 11 matches and with ball, he scalped 11 wickets at a decent economy rate of 8.42.

7.  Dwayne Bravo (Trinbago Knight Riders): His side began this season as the defending champions but fell short by one step. Being the captain of the side, Bravo, a well known all rounder, ended up as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 21 wickets in 11 matches. He was also decent with the bat and makes it to this side as an all-rounder at No. 7.

8.  Darren Sammy (St Lucia Zouks): This ever-smiling Caribbean cricketer has been an inspirational figure in St Lucia. Sammy was instrumental for his team with both bat and ball when his side were at the bottom of the points table after three consecutive losses in first four matches. He also gets to lead this side. Being a bowler all-rounder, Sammy has been more successful as batsman in last one year than as a bowler. In CPL 2016 too he scored 212 runs in 11 matches at 42.40 and took eight wickets.

9.  Sohail Tanvir (Guyana Amazon Warriors): Tanvir made headlines in shortest format of the game way back in 2007 followed by the inaugural season of Indian Premier League (IPL), where he was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Since then, injury followed but Tanvir kept on playing and made his name as one of the specialist T20 bowlers. His bowling was one of the reasons behind Guyana reaching the finals. He played 12 matches and took 20 wickets with an impressive economy rate of 6.45.

10.  Sunil Narine (Trinbago Knight Riders): It was a very difficult call when it comes to taking only one spinner in this XI as Narine was having a close competition with Australian leggie Adam Zampa. The Australian spinner took more wickets but Narine made it to this XI because of his impressive economy rate which is 5.55 and talking about the number of wickets, the difference is of only one as Narine took 14, while Zampa took 15 in the tournament.

11.  Kesrick Williams (Jamaica Tallawahs): He is the only player in this XI who has not played any international cricket but made it to the side with his impressive bowling. Williams was not considered but eventually emerged as the leader of the attack in Gayle’s team as he was the highest wicket-taker from his team. From 13 matches, Williams took 17 wickets and was also the third highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com. He can be followed on Twitter @abhik2593 and on Facebook at abhicricket.kumar)