IT was a perfect start for defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament, but both captain Dwayne Bravo and man of the match Colin Munro said it is only one win and the journey has just begun.
In front a near capacity crowd at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair on Wednesday, TKR crushed St Lucia Stars by 100 runs in the opening match of the tournament. Knight Riders posted a massive 195 for six in 20 overs, before the Stars were bundled out for 95 in 17.3 overs.
After the match, Dwayne was glad his team made a quick start to the tournament. “It is a great feeling, it is always good to start well in a tournament, any tournament. To win a game by 100 runs, it sets the tone for the tournament against a very good St Lucia team, and I can’t ask for a better start,” Dwayne said. Dwayne said TKR must now focus on tonight’s game. “It is only one game (we won). Friday (today) is another hard game against Tallawahs. There is no easy game in this tournament, but like I said we have a professional unit and these guys showed it tonight (Wednesday),” Dwayne said.
Munro, who topscored with 68, was also satisfied with the team’s opening performance. “Obviously (when) you come into a tournament you want to start well and get the momentum early. It is only one game, but everyone stepped up today (Wednesday) and did something with bat and ball and we were outstanding in the field as well,” he said.
Stars captain Kieron Pollard, who wants his team to quickly forget about the loss, said, “I think we were not up to standard in all three departments of the game, it is not how you want to start a tournament.”
After opener Chris Lynn fell for eight, Sunil Narine and Munro entertained with a 40-run second wicket partnership for TKR.
After the pair rode their luck for a few overs, Narine struck a six over wide long on off Rahkeem Cornwall as Knight Riders progressed to 45/1 after five overs.
Trying another big shot, Narine was bowled by Kesrick Williams to leave the Knight Riders on 48/2 after six overs.
Another 40-run partnership between Munro and Brendon McCullum took Knight Riders to a position of control on 88/2 in the 10th over.
McCullum (13) and Darren Bravo (0) then fell in quick succession to leave the match hanging in the balance with Knight Riders 89/4 after 10.3 overs.
Munro and Ramdin then put the Knight Riders back in the driver’s seat with a 51-run fifth wicket partnership. Ramdin, who had a disappointing time for Windies in the recently concluded T20 series against Bangladesh, looked like a different batsman.
In what was arguably the shot of the night, Ramdin showed no respect for pacer Mohammad Sami, taking the ball from outside off stump and hitting it well over the midwicket boundary.
As Munro and Ramdin brought up their 50-run partnership, the Stars did not help their cause, giving away a few wides. Pollard then got the breakthrough, bowling Munro for 68 as the left-hander tried to flick the ball on the leg side. Munro’s 48-ball knock included nine fours and one six.
Ramdin found an able partner in his captain Dwayne as the pair added 37 runs for the sixth wicket. The duo combined to hit Sami for 18 runs in the 18th over with Ramdin hitting a six and Dwayne belting a six and a four. After Dwayne fell for 17, Javon Searles (nine not out) and Ramdin scored 28 runs in the last two overs to guide TKR to 195/6 in 20 overs. Ramdin, who brought up his half century off the last ball with a single, ended on 50 not out off 27 balls with two fours and four sixes.
Stars got off to a rollicking start in response, racing to 32 without loss after two overs as fast bowler Shannon Gabriel conceded 26 runs in the second over. It was all downhill after that for the Stars as wickets fell regularly. The score quickly became 39/2 in the fifth over after fast bowler Ali Khan bowled Andre Fletcher (19) and medium pacer Searles clipped the off stump of David Warner (nine). Dwayne constantly changed his bowlers which proved a success, as all the TKR bowlers took at least one wicket.
Dwayne and leg spinner Fawad Ahmed led from the front, grabbing three wickets apiece. Pollard stuck around for a long time, but could only manage a painstaking 12 off 26 balls. Qais Ahmad made a quick 14 off 15 balls, but 3/11 in three overs from Dwayne and 3/16 in four overs from Ahmed dismissed the Stars for 95 in 17.3 overs.
TKR will play Jamaica Tallawahs at the Queen’s Park Oval at 8 pm tonight.