Dominic Drakes, the son of former West Indies international fast bowler Vasbert Drakes, starred with an unbeaten 48 off 24 deliveries as St Kitts and Nevis Patriots defeated Saint Lucia Kings by three wickets in a closely fought final to win their maiden Caribbean Premier League title on Wednesday (September 15).
Saint Lucia won the toss and chose to bat, as they did in their semi-final match. Despite losing wickets at key stages of the game, they built a total around the batting of Roston Chase (40-ball 43), who stabilised the innings, allowing the likes of Rahkeem Cornwall (32-ball 43) and Keemo Paul (21-ball 39) to play with attacking intent and guide them to 159/7.
In reply, St Kitts lost their star openers Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis inside four overs but Joshua Da Silva (32-ball 37) and Sherfane Rutherford (22-ball 25) kept them steady before Drakes took over the command and propelled his team to a remarkable last-ball victory. The left-hander smoked three fours and as many sixes and made sure St Kitts got the required 55 runs in the final five overs.
"I just tried to keep my nerve and things worked in my favour. I think my father was more nervous than me. Now I can go home and tell him I won the game. I believe he has played a big part. Dwayne Bravo gives us a lot of confidence and tells us to go and play freely. Being clear in the back end always helps and holding your nerve is important. I am just happy for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots as this is their first (CPL) trophy," said Drakes.
Saint Lucia started their innings with the loss of both captain Andre Fletcher (11) and Mark Deyal (7) in the Powerplay. Cornwall got the innings back on track with some power hitting but the Patriots utilised spin to great effect; Fabian Allen, Jon-Russ Jaggesar and Fawad Ahmed working in unison to pick up three wickets in the middle overs and leave the Kings in peril.
Chase anchored the innings and a late burst from Paul, which saw him hit three consecutive sixes in an over, took the Kings to a challenging total on a tricky surface. For the Patriots, Fawad and Naseem Shah claimed two wickets each, while Allen finished with figures of 1/17.
It was a dream start for the Kings with the ball, as Gayle was bowled by Chase, and not long after, Lewis was caught out, with Chase being the fielder. Da Silva and Rutherford began to rebuild, but quick wickets, including that of captain Dwayne Bravo, saw the Patriots in trouble at 95/5.
With 55 needed off 30 deliveries, Drakes slammed two sixes in the next three overs, while Allen (18-ball 20) too managed to hit a couple of crucial boundaries. Drakes then flat-batted Wahab Riaz for this third maximum in the penultimate over and brought the equation down to 9 off 6. Kesrick Williams gave away only four runs off the first four deliveries but Drakes slammed the fifth ball for a boundary before finishing the game with a single off the last ball.
Saint Lucia skipper Fletcher said that his team didn't do much wrong. "It is a bit hurtful. The guys played well and I cannot fault them. We fought well and right to the end. Drakes played really well and won them the game. The execution I believe, that 19th over if we could have tucked up Drakes and left few more for the final over.
"We stayed calm till the end and we were humble. Unfortunate that we couldn't cross the hurdle. I was very confident of defending in the final over, that shot Drakes hit was a good shot and Williams didn't do much wrong there. I know they are disappointed, but we have to keep the faith. Ever since CPL started we were struggling, we had come to be known as the punching bag, and though we didn't win this year, we will be back."
Meanwhile, St Kitts captain Bravo was over the moon and heaped heavy praise on his players. "I want to commend my team without whom this would not have been possible. This is for the fans, they have come out in numbers and they are our 12th man. Belief. And giving people opportunities, backing people to perform. The first session I had with Drakes I told him you are not an emerging player, you are one of my main players and this is your tournament.
"I know what it means for some of the guys who have been here from the start. I always wanted to play together with the Universe Boss in the CPL and here we are winning the trophy together. We kept believing even after losing wickets, we took the game deep and that's the reason we went on to win."
Saint Lucia all-rounder Chase was named Player of the Series. The 29-year-old scored 446 runs in 12 innings at an average of 49.56 and a strike rate of 144.34. On top of that, the offspinner also claimed 10 wickets at an economy of 6.92. "Feeling good that I created history. Thankful for it. For me, the camaraderie was good as we had very little time to gel, our powerplay batting was good, bowling in the powerplay early in the tournament; those are the three things we did well," he said.
(With inputs from the CPL media release)