TRINBAGO Knight Riders (TKR) skipper Kieron Pollard credited a total team performance for Tuesday’s emphatic 75-run victory over Jamaica Tallawahs in match 19 of the Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament at Warner Park in St Kitts.
Sent in to bat, the defending champions TKR were struggling to get runs on the board at 105/4 after 17.2 overs.
However, a late but timely unbeaten partnership of 62 runs from 17 balls courtesy Pollard (39 not out) and Kiwi international Tim Seifert (24 not out) eventually propelled TKR to a worthy score of 167/4 from the final 16 balls. Chasing 168 for victory, Jamaica Tallawahs never had a chance as American pacer Ali Khan (4/6), in his first appearance for TKR this season, dismantled the top order and had them reeling at 9/3 after four overs.
Sunil Narine (2/11), Ravi Rampaul (2/32), Khary Pierre (1/19) and Akeal Hosein (1/21) completed a stellar bowling performance for TKR as the Tallawahs crumbled for 92 after 18.2 overs.
Pollard rued TKR’s slow start with the bat but heaped praises on Seifert and his bowling attack for getting them over the line when it mattered most.
In the post-match interview, Pollard said, “It was pretty difficult out there. (It was) not the ideal situation you want to be in after 17 overs but you have to take the conditions into consideration. What we need to do sometimes is hold that charge a bit longer.
“Having Tim and myself at the end, Tim gave us an impetus because at one point the guys were saying ‘Pollard come off strike and give Tim the strike’. But it was a total team effort. It wasn’t easy. Getting 160 plus, I thought we were right in the game.”
TKR started their innings with usual opener Lendl Simmons and tournament debutant Leonardo Julien. The latter started a bit shaky but soon found form before he perished for 17 runs (46/1). Simmons (42) played an unfamiliar patient knock and struck just one six and three fours before going out caught and bowled by Carlos Brathwaite (84/2). Munro also took some time to get going but he was next to return to the stands as he was stumped by Tallawahs wicketkeeper Kennar Lewis (86/3).
Darren Bravo hit three fours in his knock of 14 from 14 balls but his dismissal after 17.2 overs opened the floodgates for big-hitter Pollard and new batsman Seifert (105/4).
Off the final 16 balls, the pair combined to smash 62 runs, Pollard slamming four sixes and two fours while Seifert also smacked two sixes and two fours. In the final over however, Pollard single-handedly blasted 28 runs from it to bolster TKR to 167/4.
Imad Wasim (1/13) and Carlos Brathwaite (1/16) topped the bowling for the Jamaica Tallawahs.
In reply, the Tallawahs had a horrendous start and lost wickets in quick succession. A well-rested Khan made well on his return to the competition by grabbing the first three wickets which sank the Jamaica franchise to 9/3 after just four overs.
Wasim hit back-to-back fours off Rampaul but he was sent packing on the very next ball caught by none other than the in-form Khan (21/4).
Tallawahs skipper Rovman Powell and Jason Mohammed tried to salvage the innings with a 39-run partnership from 33 balls but when the captain was dismissed for 22, the batting collapse resumed.
Big-hitters Brathwaite (14) and Andre Russell (1) were stifled by Narine’s economic spell which sent the Jamaica franchise to 77/8 with just under five overs remaining.
South Africans Chris Green (nine) and Migael Pretorius (four) were the last to go as the Tallawahs were dismantled for just 92.
Khan’s stellar 4/6 from three overs saw him earn the man of the match accolade in his first appearance this year.
On his return, the American pacer said, “I got a lot of confidence from my coaching staff, captain and teammates because without them my return would not be possible.”
During Khan’s prior absence from the TKR set up, he said he was motivated by Rampaul’s consistency with the ball.
“In my absence, he’s (Rampaul) been the leading wicket-taker and I’ve done that over the years for TKR so I wanted to come and do the same where I left off last year. I’m very happy with my performance,” Khan added.
This win for TKR (eight points) propelled them into second position on the tournament standings, trailing leaders St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (ten points). The Tallawahs remain in the elimination zone, fifth overall, with Barbados Royals in cellar position.
TKR have now won four of their seven games played. They return to action on Thursday from 10am against the Royals. Looking ahead, the TKR captain hopes to maintain a winning momentum.
“We just want to continue to get two points. The first half of the tournament wasn’t too well for us especially from a batting perspective and the bowlers continue to do a good job for us.
“Yes, we’re peaking at the right time but the way this tournament is structured, when you get into the playoff stage it’s just one match and you could be out so for us, it’s just trying to cover all bases and trying to do the right things and let the outcomes determine how we go through our process,” he closed.
TKR 167 for four off 20 overs (Lendl Simmons 42, Kieron Pollard 39 not out, Tim Seifert 24 not out)
TALLAWAHS 92 off 18.2 overs (Rovman Powell 22; Ali Khan 4-6)