A dramatic late surge from the Trinbago Knight Riders took them to a stunning four wicket victory against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and sealed their place in the play off stage of the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Chasing an imposing 159 to win the Knight Riders had been reduced to 89 for 5, requiring a further 70 from just 36 balls, but an unbeaten 59 from Denesh Ramdin took them home with three balls to spare.
A dramatic last five overs saw the match swing to and fro. Ramdin, who had been dropped on just one by Brandon King, begun the assault by taking 16 off the 15th over bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi. Following a tight 16th over from Hasan Ali the pressure increased once more. Back to-back fours from Dwayne Bravo off Carlos Brathwaite and a slapped six off Hasan kept the Knight Riders in the hunt. A brilliant direct hit to run out Dwayne Bravo from Hasan Ali threatened to derail the comeback but a six from Ramdin the following ball turned the match once more.
The penultimate over was bowled by Brathwaite and after Javon Searles had clubbed two boundaries, Ramdin struck a third to leave the Knight Riders requiring just three off the last. Ramdin hit the third ball of the over for a straight four to complete a stunning turnaround.
The Knight Riders had been brilliantly restricted by the Patriots for the first two thirds of the innings. Both Sunil Narine and Brendon McCullum were dismissed in the Powerplay and after six overs they had only 42 on the board. More tight overs followed and when Colin Munro, Darren Bravo and Shadab Khan were dismissed in quick succession as they looked for quick runs hope looked to be lost for the Knight Riders. Ramdin, however, had other ideas.
Earlier in the evening, after winning the toss and electing to field, the Knight Riders kept the Patriots very quiet in the Powerplay with some accurate bowling and well executed plans. With Gayle opening the batting the Knight Riders adapted their spin-strategy and started with two overs of full and fast pace bowling. They then turned to Narine who nearly had Gayle caught sweeping before dismissing him next ball with a sharp turning off break that took his outside edge. At the end of the Powerplay the Patriots were 34 for 1.
The Knight Riders tight bowling was matched by their fielders in the eighth over when a superb throw from Searles was brilliantly collected at the base of the stumps by Kevon Cooper, running Mohammad Hafeez out by inches.
The Patriots threatened to get going in the ninth over when they took 21 from Shadab’s second over with King striking a spectacular six against the spin over mid-wicket. His innings was short-lived however. The first ball after the drinks break he charged Narine and was caught at slip. Shamarh Brooks had worked hard for his 37 but never looked fluent and when he was bowled attempting an audacious paddle sweep off Shadab the Patriots had slid to 95 for 4 after 13.2 overs.
An explosive final five overs brought the Patriots 49 runs and elevated them to the highest first innings score at Queen’s Park Oval this season of 158 for 7. The Patriots strong finish owes a lot to Brathwaite who dared to take on the sixteenth over bowled by Narine, scoring six, two, four and one which alleviated some pressure on the remaining overs. A sparky cameo from Nabi of 17 off 8 balls capitalised on the good work of Brathwaite. In the end, it was not quite good enough.
Summarized scores: Trinbago Knight Riders 161-6 (Ramdin 59*, Munro 36, Nabi 2-12) beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 158-7 (Brooks 37, Carter 31, Narine 2-26) by 4 wickets
Tuesday: St Lucia Stars v Jamaica Tallawahs, Gros Islet, 6.00pm
Thursday: Guyana Amazon Warriors v Jamaica Tallawahs, Providence, 6.00pm