Sunil Narine was blistering at the start. Colin Munro slammed a handy half-century. Kieron Pollard was ruthless at the death. Meanwhile, spinners were economical and dominating.
Trinbago Knight Riders continued their winning streak as they toppled Jamaica Tallawahs by 19 runs in Match No. 21 of the Caribbean Premier League 2020 at the Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba on Tuesday (September 1). Making his return from an injury, Andre Russell smoked a fiery half-century but that wasn't enough to stop Trinbago's unbeaten run in the tournament. This was their seventh win of the season, while Jamaica will have to be at their best in their remaining games if they want to qualify for the knockouts.
Asked to bat, Munro struggled at the start but didn't throw his wicket away and eventually scored 65 off 54, decorated with 10 fours and a six. However, it was once again Pollard who led from the front and slammed 33* off just 16 deliveries. Trinbago amassed 71 runs in the final five overs as the late surge bolstered their total to 184/4 from 113/3 at one stage (end of 15 overs). In response, Trinbago spinner did an outstanding job before Russell blasted 50* off 23, studded with five fours and four maximums. Despite his knock, Jamaica could only manage 165/6 in 20 overs.
Narine, who had his had kidney stones removed and couldn't feature in the last three encounters, made his return and got Trinbago off to a blazing start. The dynamic left-handed opener smashed two fours and a six to accumulate 17 runs from Fidel Edwards' first over. Jamaica skipper Rovman Powell gave the third over to Carlos Brathwaite but Narine greeted him with three consecutive boundaries. The medium-pacer however had his revenge in the same over as he had Narine caught behind for an 11-ball 29, studded with five fours and a six.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who has taken the most number of wickets in the powerplay since 2018, was once again brilliant and gave nothing away in the first six overs. The offspinner from Afghanistan kept the pressure on Lendl Simmons who didn't look comfortable against Mujeeb at all. The opener finally managed to break the shackles in the final over of the powerplay by tonking Edwards for a maximum over deep backward square leg. Trinbago were 49/1 at the end of six overs, with Edwards conceding over 50 percent of it.
Simmons looked pretty comfortable against fast bowlers but struggled heavily against spinners. The 35-year-old operated at a strike rate of 161.54 against seamers and just 26.67 against spinners. It was legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane (1 for 20) who put an end to his misery by dismissing him for a 28-ball 25. Just like Simmons, Munro too was superb against fast bowlers but couldn't find a way to score against Lamichhane. Munro, who was dropped on 7 at deep square leg, couldn't read Lamichhane and tried all the possible fancy shots, but could only manage nine runs off his 13 deliveries.
Meanwhile, Tim Seifert brought some momentum into the innings by smashing 18 off 13 deliveries, but the wicketkeeper-batsman couldn't carry on. Jamaica missed a trick by not playing Veerasammy Permaul as Powell had to bowl his full quota of four overs and that made Munro's life slightly more easier. The left-hander from New Zealand smacked Powell for a six and four in the 17th over to bring up his half-century off 45 balls, his slowest ever in T20s.
The onus was once again on Pollard to accumulate some quick runs in the final five overs. The Trinbago skipper, who smoked a match-winning 28-ball 72 against Barbados Tridents, started playing his shots from the word go and even went after Mujeeb who conceded 22 in his final two overs. Despite that, he finished with figures of 0/26. This was the first time he had gone wicketless in this season. Jamaica were also sloppy in the field and that helped Trinbago's cause.
The likes of Powell, Edwards and Brathwaite were inconsistent and didn't bowl according to the plan. Munro and Pollard added 73 runs in just 34 deliveries and that kind of took the game away from Jamaica, who missed a trick by not playing an extra spinner. They only went with five bowlers, including allrounders Brathwaite and Powell who found it tough against Pollard and Co. in the final few overs.
Unlike Jamaica, Trinbago fielded four frontline spinners. Jamaica didn't have a single left-handed batsman in their playing XI and that allowed Pollard to start with two left-arm spinners. The ploy paid off as Akeal Hosein and Khary Pierre got rid of Chadwick Walton (0) and Jermaine Blackwood (12) respectively inside two overs. They were later joined by Narine as Pollard didn't give Glenn Phillips and Nkrumah Bonner any pace in the first eight overs.
The required run-rate kept getting higher and higher and that's when Phillips started opening up his shoulders. The Kiwi batsman, who has scored the most number of runs in the CPL since 2018, hammered a couple of boundaries but Jamaica still needed 115 off 60 balls. Phillips added 64 runs with Bonner for the second wicket and went after Fawad Ahmed, smashing him for two sixes in his first two overs. The legspinner however bowled with courage and dismissed Bonner (26) and Powell (2) in the space of three overs.
The pressure kept mounting on Jamaica as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Phillips fell to Dwayne Bravo for a 31-ball 41, while Asif Ali became Narine's only victim. With 80 needed off 24 balls, it looked like the game was well and truly over, but Pollard was still worried about the fact that Russell was still at the crease. Having missed the last two games, Russell took a couple of balls to get his eye in. The dasher smoked Narine for a six on the final delivery of his spell and then blasted Jayden Seales for two fours and a six in the 18th over. Brathwaite too managed a six in the same over as they got the equation down to 46 off 12.
Dwayne Bravo however was superb in the penultimate over and ensured Trinbago two more points. Both Russell and Brathwaite (21*) added 68 runs in 5.5 overs but it was still not enough as Trinbago won the match comfortably.