Elegant Trinidad and Tobago batsman Darren Bravo stunned Gros Islet with a whirlwind 94 runs from 36 deliveries last night, as the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) fought back from the dead to defeat the St Lucia Stars in 2018 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) action.
The triumph pushed TKR to second in the six team standings with four points while it snapped a two game losing streak for the defending CPL champions, who lost to the Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots last week.
Tallawahs lead the standings at present with six points while Guyana Amazon Warriors have four points but trails TKR by net run rate. Guyana and Jamaica have played one game less than the Trinidad and Tobago franchise at present.
Last night, the Knight Riders might have been grateful to be paired with St Lucia’s franchise, as they completed a home and away sweep of the Stars for the second successive season.
Stars captain and Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder, Kieron Pollard, felt his team did enough to get a result with the bat, as they raced to 212 runs for just two wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
Pollard contributed an unbeaten 65 runs from 23 balls while Australian David Warner managed 72 not out from 55 balls, as the pair left their opponents reeling with an 84 run partnership at the death. TKR captain Dwayne Bravo and pacers Ali Khan and Shannon Gabriel both conceded over 12 runs an over—with only Gabriel managing a wicket from that trio.
But St Lucia’s run glut was not enough to hold off TKR in the end.
“When we got 212, you would think that’s enough to defend,” said Pollard, “but TKR showed their class. I stand there and take the responsibility.
“I backed myself with the ball, but sometimes you just have to sit back and appreciate the batsmen.”
After another poor start from their opening bats—Sunil Narine has a combined 37 runs from four innings, with just one score above 10—TKR came into their own in the middle innings but still found themselves facing a target of 85 runs from five overs.
Bravo and New Zealander Brendon McCullum, who put on a fourth wicket partnership of 137, helped get the Knight Riders there with a ball to spare.
“[McCullum] knew his strengths, I knew mine,” said DM Bravo. “There was a strong wind blowing across, so he took one end and I took the other.”
McCullum ended with 68 from 42 runs while wicketkeeper batsman Denesh Ramdin came in to hit the winning runs with a cameo eight from four balls.
The elder Bravo and TKR captain was a relieved man in the end.
“It felt like they had taken the momentum away,” said DJ Bravo. “The innings that my brother played and the innings Brendon McCullum played, brought us back into the game. Those are innings you cannot plan for.
“We as a team don’t change much. We back our players and back their skills as a management, allow players to develop their skills. It feels good to win cricket games.”
(Friday 10 August)
St Lucia Stars 212/2 off 20 overs: David Warner 72*, Kieron Pollard 65*, Rahkeem Cornwall 53; Shannon Gabriel 1 for 28, Javon Searles 1 for 36;
Trinbago Knight Riders 218/5 off 19.5 overs: Darren Bravo 94*, Brendon McCullum 68, Colin Munro 25; Mitchell McClenaghan 2 for 21; Rahkeem Cornwall 2 for 52.
Man of the Match: Darren Bravo (TKR)
Upcoming CPL Fixtures
(Friday 17 August)
St Lucia Stars vs Barbados Tridents, 9pm, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia;
(Saturday 18 August)
Jamaica Tallawahs vs Guyana Amazon Warriors, 8pm, Central Broward Park, Florida;
(Sunday 19 August)
Jamaica Tallawahs vs Trinbago Knight Riders, 6pm, Central Broward Park, Florida.