CPL T20: Holders Trinbago Knight Riders turned the tables on former champions Barbados Tridents, in a remarkable come-from-behind victory!
Hashim Amla and Dwayne Bravo starred in a CPL record century partnership to haul Trinidad back from four early wickets, before Bravo led a top show in the field. Spinners Narine and Benn shone with high quality spells to subdue the formidable Barbados middle order.
Chasing 171 to win, Barbados Tridents hit the ground running, with both Steven Taylor and Kyle Hope getting plenty of long hops to race away 41/0 before Kevon Cooper finally snared Hope. Amid the carnage, Narine bowled his first over for a mere three runs. Shoaib Malik joined Hope and stole some quick runs. Ronsford Beaton however, cut down the ‘boundary balls’ – as the asking rate was pushed north of 10. Tridents reached 66/1 at the halfway mark.
Narine – couple of deliveries after being denied a wicket (a fine nick which the umpire didn’t spot) – snared Hope. In walked A B DeVilliers, arguably the best cross-format batsman in the world. Nobody it seemed, had informed Suleiman Benn though, who rolled in a top over full of clever variations of pace and line to keep DeVilliers scoreless despite attempted drives, reverse-sweeps, and lap-scoops.
The rising asking rate soon claimed Malik, who couldn’t summon enough power to go above the perfectly placed Bravo at long-off. Cooper delivered a killer blow when Keiron Pollard fell in near-identical fashion in the next over. With their fast-fading hopes relying on DeVilliers, Bravo delivered the knockout blow getting the batsman to mistime a pull straight down Cooper’s throat at mid-on. Two balls later, McCullum’s laser guided direct hit caught Wiese short. Ten balls, 4 wickets, and the Barbados chase was sinking fast as the ‘champion’ dance took over the stands.
Nic Pooran kept Barbados in the hunt with some 12-ball 33, before Bravo intervened with another run-out to seal the result in front of a raucous home crowd.
Earlier in the day, Tridents won the toss and chose to field.
Amla began the proceedings with a pleasing off drive, but Akeal Hosein’s left arm spin was soon in the thick of things. McCullum failed for the second game running when his attempted leg-side heave missed everything. Colin Munro tried a cute dab to fine-leg, missed, and was bowled as well. Local favorite Bravo walked out to huge cheers, but Ravi Rampaul sent him back almost immediately to silence the crowd. Two balls later, Umar Akmal flailed wastefully at a wide outswinger and nicked behind, leaving the defending champions four down inside five overs.
Amla remained impressively calm through the mayhem, steadily gathering pace and never letting a poor delivery go unpunished. Together they took Knight Riders to 54/4 at the halfway mark. Both men remained content to find the occasional four, and rely instead on playing the gaps and running hard until the run-rate was restored to run-a-ball in the 13th over. Gradually, both men found their range – hitting a six apiece and running plenty of singles to bring up the 100 in the 16th over.
The next over bowled by his fellow South African, Parnell, was when Amla went into overdrive. He charged down for a straight six, before repeating the dose with a swivel-pull over fine leg. There was another pulled four to deep midwicket. Bravo followed suit, tonking Wiese for two monster hits over the ropes on either side square of the wicket. Rampaul came in for punishment too in his last over. Parnell, Wiese, and Rampaul had conceded a total of 56 runs from their nine overs prior; they conceded 53 in the last three!
Knight Riders finished at an impressive 170/5, a score which had looked light years away at the five over mark.
Trinbago Knight Riders 170/5 (Amla 81, Bravo 66*, Hosein 2/18) beat Barbados Tridents 159/8 (Hope 37, Pooran 33, Narine 2/21)
Players of the Match: Hashim Amla