TRINBAGO KNIGHT Riders (TKR) concluded the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 preliminary round with a nervy four-wicket win over St Kitts/Nevis Patriots at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts on Sunday.
TKR skipper Kieron Pollard (51) struck the franchise’s fastest half-century (50 from 20 balls) to lead the defending champions to a victorious 150/6 from 19 overs, in pursuit of the Patriots’ first innings tally of 147/ 7.
This result propelled the 2020 winners into pole position on the standings and set up a semi-final meeting with fourth-ranked St Lucia Kings on Tuesday, from 10 am. Second placed Guyana Amazon Warriors meet the Patriots in the second semi-final, also on Tuesday, from 2.30 pm.
Batting first, the Patriots had a fair start with openers Chris Gayle and youngster Joshua Da Silva in the middle.
Both batsmen hit one four each off the opening spell from Isuru Udana but big-hitter Gayle (five) was dismissed in the second over, caught behind by Denesh Ramdin off fast bowler Ravi Rampaul.
Incoming batsman Johnson Carter, who made his first appearance for the Patriots, started smoothly with back-to-back fours off left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein. Da Silva played smartly and punished Jayden Seales for a four and six in his first over.
Hosein would taste revenge in his next over as he had Charles (16) dismissed caught by Colin Munro (62/2).
In the 14th over, Da Silva flicked Ali Khan for a single to mid-wicket to post his first half-century of this year’s CPLT20. Four balls later, Khan stopped the 23-year old in his tracks as Da Silva (50) played into the hands of Rampaul (101/3).
New batsman, captain Dwayne Bravo, took some time to get going but when he did, he hammered Rampaul for two consecutive sixes, one over long-off and the other over long-on.
The next over though, Khan would bag two more in just four balls as he had Rutherford (25) and batman Fabian Allen (duck) bowled.
In the penultimate over, Udana snagged another two on his final two deliveries as Bravo (25) edged towards Seales and Dominic Drakes (one) was caught by Darren Bravo (139/7). Eight runs came from the final over as the Patriots closed on 147/7.
In their turn at the crease, TKR had a slow start but got going in the fourth over as opener Simmons (20) smashed three fours off pacer Paul van Meekeran. Fellow opener Denesh Ramdin played patiently but his partner perished in the fifth over, caught by Allen at point.
With four runs coming from the next two overs and Munro joining Ramdin in the middle, the latter punished off-spinner Jon-Russ Jagessar with two fours in three balls.
The following two overs saw Ramdin (17) bowled by leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed while Munro (nine) was out in similar fashion by Jagessar (52/3).
The pair’s exit made way for Pollard and Bravo (Darren) at the crease, chasing a tough 95 runs from the remaining 65 balls. Pollard however, made light work of the Patriots’ bowling attack and took particular liking to Jagessar’s spin.
The TKR skipper opened his account with 13 runs off Jagessar and then backed it up with 21 from his next. Darren Bravo perished in the 13th over and then Pollard fell for an impressive 51 from 22 balls (115/5).
Tim Seifert (11) soon departed at 132/6 and Udana took the reins, needing 13 runs from the final two overs, which he easily achieve blasting Jagessar for two more Hero maximums.
Topping the bowling for the Patriots was Ahmed as he picked up 2/16 from his four overs.
Summarised Scores: PATRIOTS 147-7 (20 overs) - Joshua Da Silva 50, Dwayne Bravo 25, Sherfane Rutherford 25; Ali Khan 3-19, Isuru Udana 2-28 vs TKR 150-6 (19 overs) - Kieron Pollard 51, Isuru Udana 25 not out; Fawad Ahmed 2-16. TKR won by four wickets. Man of the Match: Kieron Pollard.