The 2019 Hero Caribbean CPL has been described as the most exciting amongst all T20 leagues including the prestigious Indian Premier League (IPL) at the halfway stage of the tournament.
After 15 matches the strike rate garnered overall is nine runs per over, beating the previous best of 8.6 runs per over recorded at the Indian Premier League.
Runs have been flowing off the bats of the men involved in the 2019 CPL which has seen the highest score recorded in the league. That record for the highest overall score has been broken on three occasions this year. Firstly the Tallawahs created a record with the score at 241/4 which was surpassed in the same match by the St. Kitts/Nevis Patriots who recorded 242/6.
A couple of days later, the powerful Trinbago Knight Riders hammered the Tallawahs to the tune of 267/2 creating the new record.
Chris Watson, head of marketing at CPL said that it is no surprise that the entertainment value is so high at the CPL. "CPL is the biggest party in sport no doubt. The entertainment value here is just amazing. The people bring so much that is unique to T20 cricket and of course, the players have been amazing.
While we get bigger crowds at the IPL, you don't get the characters that you get in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is the perfect fit for T20 because it brings tremendous action on and off the field.
Meanwhile, the St. Lucia Zouks did not add to the entertainment value on Friday night, as all they made were 102 for nine (Obed McCoy was unable to bat), against a Barbados Tridents team that scored 172/6.
While Tridents openers Johnson Charles and Hero CPL debutant Justin Greaves blazed their way to 63/0 in the first six overs of the night, the Zouks lost wickets in each of the first three overs of their run-chase and another in the sixth to reach 48/4 at the same stage.
The Zouks had done a reasonable job in restricting the Tridents to 172/6 after the openers had taken the score to 76/0 after just seven overs, including one spell of seven boundaries in the space of 10 balls between the second and fourth overs.
Daren Sammy brought himself on and immediately slammed the brakes on the scoring, just five singles coming from his first over.
Obed McCoy backed that up with three dot balls to build the pressure on Charles, who succumbed for 28 as he skied the next ball to Kesrick Williams at long-on.
Greaves went through to an excellent debut 50 in 36 balls but was already slowing down by that point and eventually sweeping Rahkeem Cornwall to deep square-leg where Colin de Grandhomme took a smart low catch.
Having scored 76/0 in the first seven overs of the innings, the Tridents managed just 29/2 from the next seven.
The Tridents might have been a touch disappointed with 172/6 given the platform they had, but it soon looked plenty as the Zouks lost key men early.
Cornwall hit two fours to start the innings as the Tridents entrusted the opening over to their second debutant, 19-year-old left-arm spinner Joshua Bishop. He held his nerve, though, and got his reward as Cornwall tried and failed to clear Holder at mid-off.
Holder then struck with the ball, surprising Colin Ingram – who had been dropped the first ball - with extra bounce and having him caught at point.
When Kavem Hodge was run out in the next over after Andre Fletcher called him through for a single that was never on, the Zouks were left with a mountain to climb.
<St Kitts sharing cricket love>
The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has invested heavily in sports tourism and has used cricket as a major tool to bring visitors through their borders.
However, local hotelier Steve Tyson believes otherwise. Speaking to Guardian Media Sports he said: "We have not seen a major increase in tourist arrivals with the cricket coming here. I don't know the exact reason but the government has been trying through sports tourism to boost the sector."
Tyson who is the general manager of the very popular Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) says that Caribbean travellers prefer his establishment because it is smack in the City Centre of Basseterre. "Our hotel is right in the middle of the City and this helps with our occupancy. However, cricket has not helped us."
His assistant manager Twyla Amory said sports tourism was the way to go for her country but the CPL is yet to pay dividends. "We are hoping that we can get an increase in arrivals here because of cricket. I know that these things take time but we are hopeful that the effort being made by the government to increase the arrivals impact us.
"We are heavily preferred by regional travellers because of our wonderful and very reasonable packages, we want that to benefit the cricket-loving people as well. Business people always come to us, what we want is the cricket crowd when there is cricket on the Island.
"We are going to embark on a campaign of special deals to get in the cricket crowd. We want to give them something special just to say thank you for coming to our beautiful country."