CRICKET fans in Florida were treated to an absorbing spectacle befitting a final as the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League produced a classic between the Trinbago Knight Riders and the Jamaica Tallawahs. The Trinbago Knight Riders defeated the Tallawahs, by four wickets, off the last ball with Javon Searles the unlikely hero in a match that could have gone either way and had fans on the edge of their seats, as the balls and runs needed became closer and closer with no team in the ascendancy.
After starting the CPL season with two losses in their first three matches, the Trinbago Knight Riders have a winning record once more. And more importantly, they look like champions again. Led by left-handers Colin Munro and Darren Bravo, the Knight Riders dealt the suddenly beatable Jamaica Tallawahs their second straight defeat as CPL action continued at the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Chasing a testy 183 for victory on the small ground, the Knight Riders found themselves in early trouble with Sunil Narine again contributing naught – literally – at the top of the order, and Chris Lynn (two) and Brendon McCullum (eight) also going cheaply.
At 28 for three, TKR were in a hole but had just the right pair to take them to safety. Darren, coming off a masterful 94 not out in worse circumstances against St Lucia Stars, started off cautiously but soon found his touch to explode for an even 50 off 35 balls. Munro remains a model of consistency for the Trinidad-based franchise, crushing
The duo put on 107 runs for the fourth wicket in a partnership that shifted gears and took the momentum away from the Tallawahs. Spinner Imad Wasim got the breakthrough in a frugal 17th over that leaked just four runs but got rid of Bravo, yorked by a faster one.
In stepped the skipper Dwayne Bravo who seemed to put doubt to rest with five sixes in eleven balls including three straight off the hapless Krishmar Santokie in the 18th over that went for 24.
Andre Russell put another twist in the tail, however, with the wicket of Munro for a well-played 67. With just seven to win in the last over, Bravo got the strike and looked to end it with a six off Oshane Thomas but Kennar Lewis tiptoed around the square boundary to pouch the catch and stun the TKR fans.
A dot ball from Thomas and a wide made it five to win off two balls. Searles hit two to leave three for victory and slashed a boundary off the last ball to complete the epic result.
Earlier, Ross Taylor (87) and Glenn Phillips (80) rescued Tallawahs from trouble, steering them to 182/five after they were crawling along initially under the stranglehold of the TKR spinners. The pair came alive, aided by a dropped catch by Darren Bravo, to post a challenging score.
TALLAWAHS 182 for five off 20 overs (Glenn Phillips 80, David Miller 72 not out; Khary Pierre 2-19)
TKR 184 for six off 20 overs (Colin Munro 67, Darren Bravo 50, Dwayne Bravo 36; Imad Wasim 2-17, Oshane Thomas 2-29)