Lendl Simmons (96) and Darren Bravo (36) put on a 130-run partnership, the highest partnership of the CPL 2020 season, as the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) put up 174/4 in their 20 overs against the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SNP).
Trinbago Knight Riders made it eight wins in eight matches while St Kitts and Nevis Patriots were all but knocked out of semi-final contention after the table toppers won by 59 runs in Tarouba.
Knight Riders rested Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Fawad Ahmed and Jayden Seales as Dwayne Bravo captained the side on the day, but despite their stars missing, they rollicked to victory with Patriots never quite giving their 175-run target a chase. That Knight Riders made 174 for 4 was courtesy Simmons’ 96, who returned to form after a sedate CPL 2020 thus far. His highest score entering the contest this season was 32.
The CPL’s second-highest run-getter showed why he remains one of the tournament’s most prolific batsmen after cracking his second-highest CPL score. At first, Sheldon Cottrell and Alzarri Joseph kept Simmons and CPL debutant Amir Jangoo quiet. But after the left-handed Jangoo was run-out trying to pinch a single off Cottrell in the third over, Simmons and No. 3 Colin Munro changed gears, getting to 29 for 1 after four overs.
But a blow to the gloves in the fourth over forced Munro to retire hurt during the rain break that briefly paused proceedings, and Simmons then took charge in the company of Darren Bravo. Although Bravo had a bit of trouble playing Rayad Emrit and Jon-Russ Jaggesar, Simmons kept finding the occasional boundary, and his third six brought up his maiden fifty of CPL 2020. The duo added 130 in 14.3 overs with Bravo contributing only 36 and when he fell, Knight Riders were at 159 for 2 in the 19th over.
With four balls to go in the innings, Simmons looked for a big shot of Dominic Drakes to reach his maiden CPL hundred, but he found Cottrell at deep midwicket, and left the ground with his head sunk, although the Knight Riders dug out stood up to applaud him for 63-ball 96 that included seven fours and six sixes.
Patriots’ opening pair of Evin Lewis and Chris Lynn were welcomed by left-arm spinners Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre, who both bowled three overs each in the Powerplay. Frustrated by the lack of runs in the first two overs, Lewis tried to cut Pierre over point but found 48-year old Pravin Tambe’s safe hands as the Indian dived to his left to hold on to a tough catch.
Joshua Da Silva at No. 3 looked to give Lynn company for long enough for the Australian to begin his acceleration in the manner how Simmons did in the first innings. But when he continued to see Lynn hovering at a strike-rate of around 75 after 12 overs, he looked to go big, but was out caught and bowled by Tambe, who deceived both batsmen with an assortment of legbreaks and googlies. That happened in the 13th over, and with the required run-rate hovering over 12, Lynn (34 off 46 balls), Ben Dunk, Denesh Ramdin and Drakes falling in the next four overs. The last three of them were dismissed by the offspin of Sikandar Raza as Patriots went from 83 for 3 to 94 for 6.
Hosein then went full and wide to dismiss Joseph to get on the wickets tally, and with seven wickets gone and the target well and truly out of reach, Patriots captain Emrit and Imran Khan put on a short stand of 17 for a tiny bit of consolation.