For the tenth time in twelve matches this season, Trinbago Knight Riders skipper Dwayne Bravo won the toss. And for the third time, his side last night got the better of the Rayad Emrit-led Guyana Amazon Warriors in yesterday’s second Eliminator of the Hero Caribbean Premier League at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba.
But in cricket, those numbers don’t matter a great deal because the luck of the toss evens itself out over time; the effect of bad fielding, however, never does. Last night, Emrit’s team learned that lesson the hard way, paying dearly for dropping Trinbago Knight Riders top-order batsman Colin Munro, not once but twice in quick succession.
The two lives, coming at 13 and 18, allowed Munro to post a patient 57 (51 balls, 7 x 4), half of an 85-run third-wicker partnership with Darren Bravo, which steadied the TKR ship en route to a comfortable six-wicket victory.
The second chance was more of a challenge, the lofted drive bursting through his hands of Rayad Emrit at extra-cover as he leapt high to try to reel it in. The unfortunate bowler on this occasion was Rashid Khan, who again tormented the batsmen with spin and guile but only managed to finish with one wicket for 21 runs on the night, thanks to Emrit!
The 18-year-old leggie also showed a new side of himself, on more than one occasion giving Bravo the stare a la Curtly Ambrose when he had defeated him in flight or with spin.
Earlier, pounded for three consecutive fours by Munro in the second over of the innings, off-spinner Steven Jacobs had looked on in disbelief as Roshon Primus spilled an absolute dolly at mid-off when the Kiwi tried to clear the inner circle.
“My little sister would have caught that,” one frustrated Guyanese supporter exclaimed.
Ironically, it was Primus’ late 35 off 18 balls that, combined with Gajanand Singh’s 39 off 25, had made a match of the encounter in the first place. The Warriors pair rattled off 58 runs in the last four overs to take their team to a total of 159 for 6, no gimme in the prevailing conditions—provided you hold your catches.
Skipper Dwayne Bravo (1 for 26), Dan Christian (0 for 31) and Ronsford Beaton (2 for 30) were made to feel the hurt at the death. Primus was particularly savage on Christian in the penultimate over of the innings, taking a total of 20 runs off the Australian all-rounder, with exquisite boundaries through the cover region and a gigantic six over mid-wicket and into the grassy mound.
The fifth-wicket partnership between Primus and Singh was worth 65 from 33 balls and it bettered the second-wicket stand of 47 between in-form batsmen Chadwick Walton (37 off 31) and Luke Ronchi (23 off 21).
Against the Jamaica Tallawahs on Wednesday, the latter pair had shared a rapid partnership of 67 to perfectly set up the Warriors’ successful chase. Walton, by the way, in the course of his innings, eclipsed the record for the most runs in a single season of the five-year-old CPL, having posted in excess of 400 runs this season.
Last night, though, Bravo’s charges bowled steadily while the skipper’s astute field placing and constant shuffling of his bowlers kept the batsmen fairly quiet until the final Primus/Singh assault. Furthermore, the TKR ground fielding was quite brilliant, players frequently flinging themselves around the outfield to save precious runs.
Perhaps, Christian’s magnificent flying one-handed catch on Tuesday had somehow added self-belief where faith was on the wane after the loss of the services of inspirational New Zealander Brendon McCullum through injury.
There was another newcomer too, Pakistan’s Yasir Shah, drafted into the side to replace his compatriot Shadab Khan, who was recalled to national service for the second time. Yasir’s two overs cost some 21 runs but Bravo now has another genuine wicket-taker in his armoury along with maestro Sunil Narine, who was his usual miserly self with a spell of two for 21.
It was Narine who combined with wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin to remove Walton in the 11th over, just as CPL 2017’s top run-getter looked to be shifting into high gear, having spanked the previous ball over mid-wicket for six. The dismissal left the Warriors on 73 for 3, with quite a bit of work to be done. Primus and Singh eventually delivered.
There was work to be done too when Bravo and Munro came together, with TKR on 33 for 2 in over number five. But the pair went quickly to work and contrived to keep the run rate ticking over with a boundary in almost every over. Bravo was the aggressor in the partnership, hammering four sixes, inclusive of two glorious ones straight back over Rashid’s head.
Given two lives, Munro was much more circumspect. His fine partnership with Bravo perhaps forced Emrit to hesitate about bringing left-arm finger-spinner Veerasammy Permaul into the attack against two southpaws. Among the Amazon Warriors bowlers, Permaul’s 6.67 economy rate is second only to Rashid’s. Hi my
When, left no option, Emrit finally turned to Permaul in the 14th over, two things happened. First, the left-hander accounted for Bravo (DM). Then, when he was replaced by the older Bravo (DJ), the required run rate dipped below six, DM having hoisted a six off the second ball and DJ cracking a four and a six from the first two balls he received.
The elder Bravo was clearly in a hurry to finish the game and, as he strayed out of his crease, he was cheekily stumped by Ronchi off Rashid in the 16th over.
But by then, the Fat Lady was already waiting to sing the TKR praise song. And Ramdin signed, sealed and delivered TKR’s victory and their place in the final with an emphatic six off a slower ball from CPL 2017’s leading wicket-taker Sohail Tanvir in the 18th over.
Tomorrow’s match-up against the Chris Gayle-led St Kitts & Nevis Patriots will be the fourth time the two teams square off this season. So will Gayle’s men square the series at 2-2 or will Bravo’s home boys make it 3-1 in their favour?
According to the pundits, any number can play.
Guyana Amazon Warriors: 159 for 6 (20 overs) Roshon Primus 39, Gajanand Singh 39, Chadwick Walton 37, Sunil Narine 2/21, Ronsford Beaton 2/30.
Trinbago Knight Riders: 160 for 4 (18 overs) Colin Munro 57*, Darren Bravo 43.
Result: TKR won by six wickets and meet the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in tomorrow’s final