Trinbago Knight Riders might not be at their scintillating best but their championship pedigree was enough to see them eliminate St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, by six wickets, and stay in contention for their third straight Hero Caribbean Premier League crown.
Key to that championship pedigree was the return of ace spinner Sunil Narine, who missed TKR's last three matches -- all ending in defeats.
TKR skipper Kieron Pollard had implored fans to "keep the faith" and his team delivered. Pollard, 26 runs in nine balls, including one four and three sixes, hit the winnings runs with eight balls to spare.
Narine, nursing a finger injury, has missed five games for the tournament, but returned spectacularly, with two wickets for ten runs from four stifling overs, at the National Stadium, Providence, Guyana. England's Chris Jordan (3/30) and Ali Khan (2/22) looked inspired by the presence of Narine as TKR captain Kieron Pollard rotated his bowlers well to limit the opposition. Only Laurie Evans (55 from 47) looked comfortable at the crease as the Patriots were restricted to 125/7.
Batting has been the Achilles heel for TKR in their poor run of form, losing their previous five matches, and it reared its head again with a top order collapse. Narine (8), Colin Munro (0) and Darren Bravo (1) all departed cheaply to leave TKR on shaky ground at 31/3. Some tight bowling, particularly from fiery pacer Alzarri Joseph, pegged TKR back at 44/3 after 11 overs to setup a tense finish.
But CPL 2019 top scorer Lendl Simmons showed why he's top of the batting charts, with another timely knock. under tremendous pressure, Simmons anchored the innings with 51 off 47 balls, to stave off some hostile fast bowling, particularly from Alzarri Joseph. Denesh Ramdin, struggling badly to find the gaps on 13 off 29 balls, cut loose late alongside captain Kieron Pollard, to get TKR across the line.
Ramdin finished on 32 from 38 balls.