CPL week three round-up: Smith mimics Afridi, Irfan attains near-perfect figures

From the USA, the action moved back to the Caribbean this past week, and there was movement on the CPL points table as lower-ranked teams picked up wins, higher-ranked teams succumbed to losses, and a 7-foot-1 bowler achieved near perfection. ESPNcricinfo brings you the major highlights from the week gone by

Tallawahs brush away their American nightmare

The Central Broward Cricket Stadium in Florida was meant to be Tallawahs' home ground, but there was no such home advantage served up to Andre Russell's men as they succumbed to Steven Smith's heroics against Barbados Tridents to finish their 'home' stint with a disastrous 0-3 record. Big-hitters Rovman Powell and Russell did not face a single delivery as Tallawahs failed to chase a modest target of 157 despite losing only three wickets.

Their fortunes, however, improved as soon as they left the USA, when they picked up consecutive victories against St Lucia Stars and Barbados Tridents in Gros Islet and Bridgetown to move to the top of the CPL points table. However, they've played two games more than second-placed Trinbago Knight Riders. Lessons learnt from the Tridents defeat in Florida have forced the Tallawahs to push Russell and Powell higher up the order with the latter smashing a 37-ball 64 and a 27-ball 35 at No. 4 since the move.

Stars down, but not yet out

Victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors on Friday has ensured that St Lucia Stars - last year's wooden-spoon holders - are still alive in the competition. They started off with a four-game losing streak, but an inspired show from their captain Kieron Pollard keeps them in the hunt for the semi-final spot.

They looked like their old selves against Amazon Warriors, losing their way in a chase of 141 in Gros Islet, but Pollard's 18-ball 41 - including a 30-run over off compatriot Devendra Bishoo - earned them an important two points. A 21-run defeat at the hands of Tallawahs followed, but with two games left against fourth- and fifth-placed Patriots and Tridents to follow, the Stars would look to finish strong and secure their first semi-final spot since 2016.

Batsman of the week

It came in a losing cause, but Martin Guptill's 60-ball 73 for Tridents against Tallawahs takes the prize for the week's best batting performance. With no one in the Tridents top-six reaching double figures, Guptill held the fort as he hit four fours and three sixes to propel his team to a respectable total. It would've been a match-winning performance had it not been for Johnson Charles' 33-ball 53 in the Tallawahs chase.

Bowler of the week

4-3-1-2. It's a bowling performance that's unlikely to be repeated any time soon, as Tridents' Mohammad Irfan delivered 23 dot balls in a row, before eventually conceding a run off his final delivery to finish with the most economical T20 bowling figures of all time. Like Guptill's fifty, it came in a losing cause against Patriots on Saturday, but Irfan toyed with the opposition batsmen in a spell of bowling that comes once in a lifetime.

Irfan bowled four overs on the trot, dismissing the dangerous pair of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis in his first two overs, before the middle-order batsmen simply failed to get bat to ball for most of the last two overs. Nothing worked for the Patriots, up until the final delivery of Irfan's spell, when a Brandon King mis-hit to mid-off spoiled Irfan's chance of achieving bowling nirvana.

Smith, Warner watch

Over the past week, Steven Smith began bowling for his team and produced spells of 2 for 19 and 1 for 4 against Tallawahs and Knight Riders, after remodeling his action after Shahid Afridi's. In fact, his 2 for 19, coupled with a match-winning 63, earned him his second Man-of-the-Match award of the season against Tallawahs, in a game where he was dismissed under bizarre circumstances - out hit-wicket and caught at long-on off the same delivery, while trying to accelerate towards the end of the innings.

David Warner, the Stars opener, didn't convert two excellent starts with the bat this past week - falling for 23 and 42 against Amazon Warriors and Tallawahs - but provided the early impetus that his team needed on both occasions. He looked more assured after a string of single-digit scores to start the CPL season, but has still not produced a match-winning performance so far.