FROM overflowing stadiums, thumping party vibes and mass enthusiasm to scorching bowling, massive hitting and blistering catches, the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) went off with a bang right across the Caribbean.
With a record-breaking quarter-of-a-million people attending the matches across the six countries and the action being beamed into more than 135 million homes across the globe, the stage was set for a truly electrifying cricket extravaganza.
And the highlights of the action justified the hype around the tournament. Playing for the Antigua Hawksbills, Jamaica soldier Sheldon Cotterrell, who customarily bowls at over 140 kilometres per hour, bowled the fastest ball of the tournament with a 150.1 kilometres per hour thunderbolt.
Not to be outdone, Tino Best playing for the St Lucia Zouks, took the honour of bowling seven of the 10 fastest balls in the tournament with a highest speed of 149.6 kilometres per hour.
And the batsmen made sure to wow the crowds with a total of 238 sixes and 415 fours being smacked in the tournament — an average of 10 and 17, respectively, per match.
Loved by the fans and feared by the bowlers due to his mammoth hitting, Jamaica Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle predictably took the honour for both the fastest 50 of the tournament off just 23 balls against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel — and for blasting the longest six which sailed 114 metres into the stands.
Commenting on the cricketing fireworks, winning team captain Gayle said; "Cricket in the Caribbean is all about big powerful displays. It's always a pleasure to bring the fans to their feet with some serious hitting. And to be able to do that with millions of people watching in the stands and on TV is just a great experience. I had a blast and can't wait for next year."
CEO of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League, Damien O'Donohoe, added: "There's nothing like the buzz you get as a cricket fan when these giants of Caribbean cricket are firing on the field. The action in every match was just breathtaking and the crowd revelled in it. It's fair to say that the action on the pitch matched the fun of it. We're delighted that the "biggest party in sport" delivered on its promise. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the amazing support and enthusiasm of the fans -- I would like to thank them most sincerely for the awesome part they played in making the CPL such a success.
"The biggest party in sport" bowled off in Barbados on Tuesday, 30 July and beautifully showcased the Caribbean passion for cricket as it journeyed through six countries across the region culminating in the final in Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, August 24, which was won by the Jamaica Tallawahs, who beat the Guyana Amazon Warriors by seven wickets. Planning is now under way for the 2014 staging of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League.