The Trinbago Knight Riders continued their dominance of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020, bowling and fielding superbly to blow away the Guyana Amazon Warriors top order and completing what could have been a tricky chase on a slow pitch with time to spare.
Sikandar Raza opened the bowling and turned his first ball sharply but his sixth went straight on to bowl Brandon King, and Khary Pierre deceived Chandrapaul Hemraj and Nicholas Pooran to leave the Amazon Warriors 12/3. Pollard sensed blood, putting himself under the helmet practically on the batter’s toes.
Ross Taylor was positive, pulling Raza hard for four. Pollard almost pulled off a blinder at silly-point, just failing to hold as Taylor lunged forward off Pierre. But Taylor found Raza easier, cutting for four, slog-sweeping in trademark fashion for six, and paddle-sweeping for another four to take the Amazon Warriors to 39/3 off the Powerplay.
Fawad Ahmed troubled Hetmyer with his googly, but unlike many others, Hetmyer was able to find singles. Pollard brought himself on, but even someone with his experience couldn’t have expected what happened next.
Taylor took only a few strides before turning around, but keeper Tim Seifert was out of the blocks like a sprinter, got to the ball while taking off one glove, and in mid-air threw down one stump with Taylor still scrambling. It was a spectacular piece of work and left the Amazon Warriors 44/4 after 8 overs.
Fawad and Pollard hustled towards the drinks break. Seifert dropped Sherfane Rutherford on 1, but with the Amazon Warriors 51/4 at halfway Pollard was the happier captain. Fawad used the googly well to keep the 11th over quiet, and in the 12th on came yesterday’s history-maker, DJ Bravo, who also only went for singles
When Pierre returned, Rutherford launched into a slog-sweep, but then came more fielding magic. Tion Webster took the catch as it came over his shoulder, released the ball millimetres from the rope, and stopped his momentum in time to run back into the field of play and re-catch the ball. It was a masterpiece.
Colin Munro dropped a sitter to gift Hetmyer a Hero Maximum and deny Pierre a fourth wicket. But the reprieve didn’t last long – Hetmyer smashed DJ Bravo straight to cover to leave the Amazon Warriors 77/6 off 16. The lower order energised the innings – Keemo Paul punished Fawad for overpitching by launching him over the sightscreen, and Romario Shepherd sent a Bravo length ball out of the ground.
A back spasm had forced Ali Khan out of the game early, but Pollard filled in well at the death to pick up his first wicket of Hero CPL 2020, Seifert diving to hold a steepling Shepherd top edge. Paul responded with a flat-bat six, but Bravo was as good as ever in the 20th, conceding just five and sending his team into the innings break strong favourites.
Amazon Warriors started well through Hemraj and captain Chris Green. But Lendl Simmons smashed Imran Tahir over midwicket for six, and Webster cut Hemraj for four then lofted a straight Hero Maximum. Green was forced to go to Naveen-ul-Haq, who spoiled an otherwise good over by gifting Simmons a four down the leg-side, and at 32/0 off five overs, the Knight Riders were comfortable.
Tahir did his best to change that. First, a googly ripped past Simmons’ slog, next ball a big leg-break did the same to Munro, and though Darren Bravo denied Tahir the hat-trick the Knight Riders needed to reset.
Green and Paul were accurate, but Webster ended a run of 26 boundary-less balls by spanking a Hero Maximum. As a bonus, he drove Shepherd for four, and at halfway the Knight Riders were well-set at 51/2.
Captain Green ended Webster’s charge, with Hetmyer taking a smart low catch. Seifert was lucky not to be bowled at least once by Paul but found a gap at square leg to close the 12th over with a four.
Naveen returned and went for just four, and with two overs of Tahir looming Green invited the Knight Riders to attack Shepherd. Seifert and Bravo took the bait, and the over went for 13 to leave the Knight Riders needing 35 off 36 balls.
Green opted to only use one of Tahir’s overs, and it went for just two. A Paul over went boundary-less, and off Naveen Hetmyer very nearly outdid Webster’s earlier effort, leaping athletically to hold and release a Bravo loft before he hit the rope, but Green wasn’t quite close enough to take the release.
Bravo did however clear the ropes in that over as Naveen served him a juicy full toss, and Seifert went after the first ball of Tahir’s last over and hit it miles. With the pressure now off, the over went for 11, and Seifert sealed the win with two crunching fours.
He and Bravo had again finished what the bowlers had started, and the Knight Riders machine rolled on. It’s instructive, and worrying for the other five franchises, that once again Sunil Narine’s absence was hardly mentioned.
Summary (Trinbago Knight Riders 115/3 (Seifert 39*, Webster 27, DM Bravo 26*, Simmons 19; Tahir 2/25, Green 1/15) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 112/7 (Paul 28*, Taylor 26, Hetmyer 26; Pierre 3/18, Pollard 1/15, DJ Bravo 1/23, Raza 1/30) by 7 wickets)
Upcoming Fixture: Saturday 29 August – Match 17: Barbados Tridents v Trinbago Knight Riders (10 am), 9 am at Jamaica time Queen’s Park Oval