Defending champions, Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) with the help of their spinners, stamped their authority over the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots with an emphatic 20–run win at the Brian Lara Stadium last night to march into tomorrow’s final against Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2018 HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Patriots won the toss and decided to chase with the conditions very humid and Knight Riders posted 165-6 from their allotted overs while Patriots in reply were restricted to 145-8.
Dinesh Ramdin said it was an excellent feeling coming off two losses but the backyard 12thman made the difference.
He also credited the spinners for the work they did while Chris Gayle said it was unfortunate to lose once again to .
He credited the cameos from Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper as factors contributing to the loss. Knight Riders had a bit of luck early on with Anton Devcich spilling a conventional catch off of Brendon McCullum who was on two at the time although they lost Colin Ingram three balls later.
However, the defending champions were brought back into the contest with a 71-run stand for the second wicket between McCullum and the leading run getter of the season, Colin Munro.
With the two rotating the strike well, the odd boundaries came but in consolidation mode.
Gayle managed to get in his four overs for the first time since 2014, in the process trapping McCullum leg before wicket for a 26-ball 43.
McCullum had earlier blasted Gayle for two sixes and a boundary while striking Ben Cutting for a four and a six in the over before he was dismissed.
Munro departed in the following over for 29 to rock the Knight Riders back once again but despite that, the home side managed to lift their run rate of 5.3 at the end of the powerplay to over seven after 10 overs.
Knight Riders could have found themselves even deeper in the hole with Gayle trapping Darren Bravo in front which was given not out but Gayle opted not to use the decision review system which would have overturned the decision.
Knight Riders brought up their hundred in the 14th over but Bravo could not capitalize on the life, departing to a straight forward catch by Devcich for an 18-ball 20. With Knight Riders looking as if they were not going to post a competitive total, Dwayne Bravo smashed Tabraiz Shamsi for three sixes in the 18th over to lift the scoring rate once again before being run out for 24 from eight balls as the last five overs accounted for 55 runs.
Sheldon Cottrell ended with 2-24 with Carlos Brathwaite, Cutting and Gayle picking up one wicket each.
Ali Khan removed the game changer, Gayle with a cracking delivery that shaped away from the left hander and carried to Ramdin behind the stumps.
The very next delivery, McCullum dropped Devon Thomas on one but Patriots bettered the Knight Riders’ powerplay score, managing 34-1 from the six overs.
Ingram returned with the ball and was struck for a six over long off by Thomas but got his revenge in the final delivery of his over, having Thomas getting a bottom edge that carted back into his leg stump. He made 35 from 26 balls with four boundaries and one six and ending a partnership with Rassie van der Dussen worth 43 runs.
Sunil Narine’s next over followed the same pattern with a short and wide delivery being cut away to point for a boundary but he then tricked Van der Dussen who had a leading edge back into the hands of Narine in the final ball of the over to leave Patriots needing 116 from 12 overs.
Patriots were once again rebuilding but with 63-3 at the half way stage, the required run rate spiked over 10.
Just when Patriots looked to kick on, legbreak bowler, Fawad Ahmed made the breakthrough to remove Evin Lewis whose poor run continued. With the asking rate now over 12, Bravo decided to bowl out Narine who made good of his opportunity with a full and straight delivery to the set batsman, Brandon King who tried to slug him only to miss and depart for 33 from 22 balls.
Ahmed was brought back in the 16th over and struck twice, first having Devcich chipping down the wicket to the googly only to be stumped while Cutting was trapped leg before wicket, given even after opting for the decision review to leave Patriots reeling at 98-7. By the end of the 19th over which saw a pair of sixes coming from the final two deliveries, the match was already done and dusted with 27 from the last over proving to be too much.
Fabien Allen had once again been exceptional with an unbeaten 32 from 19 but it was the spinners, Ahmed with 3-13 and Narine 2-21 that made the difference in the match.
Knight Riders, who have won the title twice will now take the Amazon Warriors who are hunting their first title despite being in their fourth final tomorrow with the first ball being bowled at 17.00hrs