St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are one step away from completing a remarkable worst-to-first turnaround after defeating Trinbago Knight Riders by 38 runs on Tuesday night at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad. Coming off the back of a last-place finish in 2016, and having never made the playoffs prior to this season, the win over Knight Riders put Patriots into Saturday night’s final.
As was the case on the opening weekend in Florida, Chris Gayle turned in a slow, but steady, half-century that proved especially valuable by the end of play. The captain’s fifty was backed up by three wickets from seamer Sheldon Cottrell as the Knight Riders batting order was left exposed by the absence of the injured Brendon McCullum.
Ronsford Beaton opened the match with a superb maiden to Gayle, but it arguably should have been a wicket maiden. Bowling over the stumps to the left-hander, Beaton swung a yorker into Gayle’s left toe in front of middle stump. Perhaps surprised at his good fortune, Beaton gave a mild appeal and umpire Johan Cloete responded in kind with a mild shake of the head to give it not out. Replays confirmed the ball would have cannoned into middle and off stump.
Instead, Gayle went on to craft a patient 54 not out off 51 balls in a total of 149 for 7, earning himself a repeat trip to the final after leading the Tallawahs to the CPL title in 2016. The knock was reminiscent of his 66 not out off 55 balls against Guyana Amazon Warriors in a total of 132 for 3 earlier this season at Lauderhill. He dedicated the win to the people of Leeward Islands, who are bracing for Hurricane Irma.
Summarized scores: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 149 for 7 (Gayle 54*, King 30, Dwayne Bravo 4-38, Beaton 2-22) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 111 (Darren Bravo 29, Cottrell 3-17) by 38 runs