A spot of brainlessness on Tuesday saw Kieron Pollard’s Trinbago Knight Riders surrender the CPL title in the first semi-final at Warner Park in St Kitts and Nevis.
But there was no inkling of that in the TKR skipper’s post-match, post-defeat interview. He praised his team, singling out World Cup-bound Ravi Rampaul and Akeal Hosein, pointing no fingers.
When you do, some fingers always point back at you.
The truth is that when Mark Deyal was contemptuously dispatching balls to and over the boundary ropes early on in the 205 for 4 posted by the Andre Fletcher-led St Lucia Kings, Pollard’s team did not look like champions.
Nor did they when the fifth wicket pair of Tim David and David Wiese were having their way with Rampaul, Khary Pierre and Ali Khan in an unbroken partnership of 75.
Still, up to over #8 in the TKR reply, when Wiese removed Colin Munro and Darren Bravo, the Kings were not sure the target was beyond their opponents’ reach. Yet, Fletcher’s extravagant celebration when the ball ricocheted off the left-hander’s pads and cannoned into his stumps said it eloquently: the Kings already believed the champions were doomed.
It was Deyal’s innings that set up their downfall. Once he came in to join his acting captain when Rahkeem Cornwall fell into the trap Pollard had set for him behind the bowler in the very first over, the left-hander was like a man possessed.
So well did he detect and exploit the leg-side gaps that his team raced to 50 off 26 balls, Fletcher’s contribution just 2. The Grenadian opener, also on his way to the UAE next month, added two more before he departed at 73 for 2, his contribution now doubled.
Deyal continued on his destructive way, outgunned, however, by the newly arrived Roston Chase, whose contribution to their 50-run third-wicket partnership was 32, exactly double Deyal’s 16.
The pair departed in quick succession, Deyal (78 off 44, 6 x 6, 5 x 4) failing to clear Pollard at long-on off Sunil Narine and Chase (36 off 21, 2 x 6, 2 x 4) edging Khary Pierre through to wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin.
But the double dismissal failed to slow the momentum, Wiese (34 off 21, 4 x 6, 1 x 4) and David (38 off 17, 4 x 6, 1 x 4) taking 15, 19, 21 and 15 off the last four overs respectively to power the Kings over the 200 mark. Both ended not out.
As is often the case, Narine was the best TKR bowler with 1/12 off his four overs and Hosein finished with decent figures of 1/27. But the World Cup-bound Rampaul (1/56), Pierre (1/51) and Khan (0/42) were all made to look more than ordinary.
Still, champions don’t surrender and TKR have four titles to their name. So, despite losing Lendl Simmons (4 off 6), Sunil Narine (30 off 27, 1 x 6, 4 x 4) and Colin Munro (28 off 2, 1 x 6, 3 x 4) before reaching 100, TKR kept up the required pace.
Pressure, however, does buss pipe.
And after maintaining a 10-plus rate all the way to the end of over #12, they found themselves suddenly decelerating, ending the 13th at 122 for 4.
A long four-player on-field consultation selected Keemo Paul to bowl the 15th. Pollard took 22 off it.
At 149 for 4, 57 were needed off the last five overs at just over 11 per.
Pollard and Ramdin took 10 off the first five balls, including a 6 to Pollard off the fifth.
The sixth was short and passing the TKR skipper at head height. Completely unnecessarily, he courted disaster, attempting to pull it for another six. Perhaps predictably, he contrived only to send the ball straight into the air and Fletcher, standing under it, pouched the catch.
It was over. There would be a new champion in 2011.
The TKR end was quick but not painless.
Ramdin (29 off 26, 1 x 6, 2 x 4), Hosein (6 off 3) Tim Seifert (10 off 8) and Khary Pierre (0 off 1) proved simply not up to the challenge. They all lost their heads and their wickets cheaply in the search for quick, big runs.
From 173 for 6 when Ramdin perished, TKR boil down like bhaji. The last four wickets fell within the next ten balls for just 11 runs to end the innings at 184.
Paul claimed the last two scalps to register figures of 2/21 and Man-of-the-Match Wiese (5/39), who had recorded the best bowling figures of the tournament so far, grabbed a second five-wicket haul to give him the honour of heading the T20 five-wicket hauls table.
TKR were still 24 runs short of their target when Khan swung Paul high into the sky, where Deyal fittingly administered the coup de grâce.
Thanks largely to him, the Kings are one step closer to the 2021 throne.
Toss: Trinbago Knight Riders
St Lucia Kings: (Mark Deyal 78, Roston Chase 36, Tim David 38*, David Wiese 34*, Sunil Narine 1/12, Akeal Hosein 1/27)
TKR: 164 all o (Sunil Narine 30, Denesh Ramdin 29, Colin Munro 28, Kieron Pollard 26, Darren Bravo 25, David Wiese 5/39, Keemo Paul 2/21, Wahab Riaz 2/36)
Man-of-the-Match: David Wiese (SLK)
Result: SLK win by 21 runs.
SLK move into Wednesday’s final against the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read match report on semifinal contest between the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Wired868 has provided readers with solid, independent journalism since 2012. If you appreciate our work, please contribute to our efforts.
Support Independent Journalism