For the third time in the last four Caribbean Premier League (CPL) seasons, the Trinbago Knight Riders will be forced to take the long way to the finals after tonight’s dramatic loss to the Guyana Amazon Warriors at Providence Stadium in Georgetown forced them into a do-or-die eliminator contest on Friday.
The Knight Riders finished first on the points table but could not hold off the Warriors in Guyana, as they lost by two wickets in a contest decided on the penultimate ball of the T20 match.
The departure of Australian top order batsman Chris Lynn forced a rejig in the TKR batting order, as Sunil Narine returned to the opening slot alongside Brendon McCullum.
But by the sixth over, TKR were 26/4 with star batsman Colin Munro and McCullum both dismissed without score. Warriors captain Chris Green, a South African-born Australian cricketer, accounted for the cheap dismissals of Munro and Narine.
TKR rallied through Colin Ingram (25), the South African replacement for Lynn, while brothers Darren (24) and captain Dwayne Bravo (22) and Kevon Cooper (15*) also made notable contributions, as they dragged themselves up to 122/7 after 20 overs.
It was not much but DJ Bravo’s men nearly defended the total, as the spin trio of Khary Pierre, Fawad Ahmed and Narine temporarily choked the home team, while sharp fielding from Ingram and Pierre accounted for the key wickets of Shimron Hetmyer (39) and Chadwick Walton (13) respectively.
But, with one ball remaining, Sohvail Tanvir clouted DJ Bravo for six runs to take the Warriors into Sunday’s final at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.
For the second straight meeting between the two teams, the Knight Riders struggled to contain Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford (30), who were following up on knocks of 59 and 45* at the same venue on Sunday.
DJ Bravo’s men will hope to see what the Warriors are made off in Trinidad next weekend. But to do so, they must triumph on Friday in Tarouba against the winner of the first Eliminator between the Jamaica Tallawahs and the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots—both of whom have already defeated TKR in Trinidad this season.
Trinidad and Tobago cricket fans can take comfort from the fact that TKR took the long winded route twice before and went on to lift the trophy in 2015 and 2017.
The Knight Riders have won every CPL final they contested and, if they pull it off this year, will become the first franchise to successfully defend their crown in the six year history of the region T20 competition.
CPL Match Summary
Trinbago Knight Riders 122/7 off 20 overs: Colin Ingram 25, Darren Bravo 24, Dwayne Bravo 22; Chris Green 2 for 4, Ryan Emrit 2 for 22, Sohail Tanvir 2 for 38.
Guyana Amazon Warriors 126/8 off 19.5 overs: Shimron Hetmyer 39, Sherfane Rutherford 30; Khary Pierre 2 for 18.
Man of the Match: Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana Amazon Warriors)