Simmons, Pollard star as Trinbago bag fourth CPL title

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10 Sep 2020 | 01:04 PM
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Hardik Worah

Simmons, Pollard star as Trinbago bag fourth CPL title

Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo put on an unbeaten stand of 138 runs to help Trinbago chase down 155 in 18.1 overs

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September 9, 2020

Daren Sammy: "I see TKR as Goliath. They are the Goliath of the tournament, but like I said to my men: 'don't you forget that David defeated Goliath'."

Kieron Pollard: "How long ago was that?"

September 10, 2020

St Lucia Zouks did put up a David-esque performance but it was still not enough as Trinbago 'Goliath' Knight Riders remained unconquered and bagged their fourth Caribbean Premier League title on Thursday (10th September). After Pollard helped Trinbago make a comeback in the first innings, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo demolished St Lucia in the second essay. Trinbago won the encounter by eight wickets and became the first team to win this tournament without losing a single match.    

Asked to bat, Andre Fletcher (27-ball 39) gave St Lucia a blistering start before Pollard and Co. made a stunning comeback in the middle overs and bowled out Sammy and Co. for 154 in 19.1 overs. Pollard picked up 4/30 with his medium-pace as St Lucia lost their last nine wickets for 77 runs. In reply, Simmons (49-ball 84*) and Darren Bravo (47-ball 58) put on an unbeaten stand of 138 runs, studded with 10 maximums, and got Trinbago over the line in 18.1 overs.    

Earlier, Rahkeem Cornwall had an entertaining battle with Akeal Hosein in the very first over. The left-arm spinner bowled with tremendous courage but the giant opener still managed to find a couple of boundaries. Skipper Pollard didn't give the second over to Khary Pierre, who generally bowls with Hosein in tandem, and instead went with paceman Ali Khan. The move turned out to be a masterstroke as the right-arm fast bowler knocked over the dangerous Cornwall (8) with a fiery yorker.

Cornwall's departure made no difference whatsoever as Fletcher wasted no time and straightaway went after the Trinbago bowlers. The wicketkeeper-batsman announced his arrival with a flick through backward square leg and didn't look back thereafter. The two batsmen did well to avoid match-ups, as left-hander Mark Deyal took care of left-arm spinner Hosein, while Fletcher went berserk against offspinner Sikandar Raza, who was brought in the playing XI in place of an unfit Sunil Narine.

Fletcher smoked Raza for two sixes and a four in the space of three deliveries before smashing Ali Khan for a couple of powerful drives to help St Lucia accumulate 60 runs from the first six overs. Just when it looked like the two would take the game away from Trinbago, Pierre bowled a couple of tidy overs before legspinner Fawad Ahmed broke the dangerous-looking 67-run stand by dismissing Deyal for a 27-ball 29 in the ninth over. 

After the end of the powerplay, St Lucia only managed 29 runs in the next five overs and the pressure started to build on Fletcher. The wicketkeeper-batsman tried to go after Pollard but the Trinbago captain gave him no pace whatsoever and had him caught at long-off, but only after he had hit four fours and two sixes. The medium-pacer also didn't allow Roston Chase (11-ball 15) to do a lot of damage and outfoxed him with a change-up delivery. 

Mohammad Nabi (2) couldn't contribute either as St Lucia kept losing wickets at regular intervals and that affected their scoring rate. Najibullah Zadran however kept one side intact and kept finding boundaries at regular intervals. The likes of Sammy (8) and Javelle Glenn (9) chipped in with a few handy runs but it was Najibullah who scored an 18-ball 24 to ensure St Lucia got to a decent total. 

Dwayne Bravo didn't bowl a single over because the likes of Pollard and Ali Khan bowled brilliantly in the final overs. Apart from Pollard, Ali Khan and Fawad picked up two wickets each, while Hosein finished with figures of 1/26. 

St Lucia needed early wickets and they managed to dismiss the in-form Tion Webster (5) and Tim Seifert (4) inside four overs to reduce Trinbago to 19/2. In the process, Scott Kuggeleijn (17), who got rid of Seifert, became this edition's leading wicket-taker. It was Darren Bravo who finally broke the shackles in the fifth over by tonking offspinner Chase for a maximum down the ground. Simmons then crafted three boundaries in the final over of the powerplay to bring some much-required momentum into the innings.

Despite that six, Darren Bravo struggled to get going and it put extra pressure on Simmons who was operating at a strike rate of over 140. Trinbago were 59/2 at the end of 10 overs and needed 96 off 60 deliveries. St Lucia bowlers kept attacking Darren Bravo with short deliveries and wide yorkers and didn't allow him to open his shoulders. The left-hander finally decided to up the ante and along with Simmons accumulated 24 runs in the next two overs. In the process, Simmons completed his fifty and also became this edition's leading run-getter.

Chase finished with figures of 1/13 before Glenn was introduced into the attack and Darren Bravo clobbered him for 15 runs to turn the match in Trinbago's favour. With 45 needed off 30, Kuggeleijn bowled a fantastic over before Sammy took the gamble of giving Zahir Khan the 17th over and it turned out to be a massive mistake. The left-arm spinner was slammed for three sixes and a four as Darren Bravo and Simmons completely killed the match in that over. Darren Bravo also brought up his half-century before he sealed the deal with a boundary in the penultimate over. 

What a dominating campaign!     

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Kieron Adrian PollardScott Christopher KuggeleijnCaribbean Premier League, 2020St Lucia ZouksTrinbago Knight RidersLendl Mark Platter SimmonsDarren Michael Bravo

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