Patrick Noone analyses Kyle Mayers’ explosive innings as the Tridents defeated the Tallawahs in Port of Spain
Before this season’s CPL, Kyle Mayers had played 28 matches in the competition and had never scored more than 23 runs in an innings. He had been at Barbados Tridents for the first two seasons before spending three years at the St Lucia franchise. His return to the Tridents ahead of this year’s campaign brought him back from the wilderness after three years without featuring in CPL cricket.
In the four games prior to tonight, Mayers had shown flashes of his batting ability, most notably with a 20-ball 37 against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Tridents’ tournament opener. It was clear that he possessed no shortage of attacking intent and a propensity to hit through the off-side, but he had never quite managed to make a significant impact on an innings until tonight.
Mayers’ 85 from 59 balls transformed the Tridents innings from a disastrous one to a competitive one. No other batsman in the team passed 20 and Mayers found himself at the crease in the second over as Shai Hope departed for just 8. He was straight into his work though, attacking his first seven balls – he would not play a defensive shot until the 46th ball he faced.
This is evidently the way Mayers plays. His tournament attacking percentage of 72% is the highest of any batsman to have faced 20 balls or more while this innings featured 77% attacking shots, the highest of any innings to last at least 20 deliveries. Mayers targeted the off-side with a series of cut shots and flaying square drives that brought him six of his 11 boundaries.
Mayers’ innings was not without fortune. The Tallawahs spinners, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman and Sandeep Lamichhane, were brilliant once again and Mayers was fortunate to not be dismissed by the latter, in particular. Lamichhane bowled 11 balls to Mayers, seven of which were either missed or edged by the batsman as the leg-spinner’s googly wrought havoc against the left-hander.
But Mayers didn’t let his travails against the spinners affect him unduly and he certainly made amends against the Tallawahs seamers, particularly Carlos Brathwaite. The 18th over of the innings was when Mayers cut loose, carving Brathwaite for four sixes, two each over cover and long on with a four thrown in for good measure. In total, the damage was 29 runs off the over, the most expensive over of the tournament to date and Brathwaite no doubt was aware of the irony of him being hit for four sixes off an over.
Mayers was unable to add to his tally following his onslaught on Brathwaite, departing to Fidel Edwards off the first ball of the next over attempting one big shot too many on the off-side and picking out a fielder at deep cover.
But Mayers’ work was done despite the Tallawahs finishing the innings well with the ball. He was the only batsman from either side who truly got to grips with the nature of a pitch that offered plenty of lateral movement. Rather than poke and prod and wait for the one with his name on, Mayers rode it out against the spinners and cashed in when he could to devastating effect.
His innings helped the Tridents to a much-needed win. Both of these sides have flattered to deceive at times; both have been guilty of poor decision making that has compromised the obvious quality in each of their squads. For instance, the manner in which the Tridents have deployed their batsmen has provoked many more questions than answers up to now – with an innings like that, perhaps Mayers has at least answered one of them.
Patrick Noone is a CricViz analyst