CPL: Bravo, McCullum’s carnage overshadows Gayle’s 93
SUMMARY: Trinbago Knight Riders 88-2 (McCullum 40, Darren Bravo 38, Hilfenhaus 17-1) beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 162-3 (Gayle 93, Lewis 39, Narine 36-1) by 8 wickets with 4 balls remaining (DLS method).
The Trinbago Knight Riders extended their lead at the top of the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League table, after a rain affected victory over second place St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
Despite both teams having already qualified for the next stage, there was no shortage of spice in this encounter between Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo’s assembled teams. Some astonishing late-hitting from Darren Bravo saw the Knight Riders across the line, despite a magnificent 93 from Patriots captain Gayle, Trinbago stretching the gap to their rivals in second place to 3 points.
After Dwayne Bravo won the toss and elected to bowl, the Patriots openers started brightly. Evin Lewis set off particularly sharply, blasting both Ronsford Beaton and Sunil Narine over the rope in the opening overs. Debuting spinner Ashley Nurse escaped Lewis’ power, but the same could certainly not be said for fellow spinner Narine, who conceded 27 in his two powerplay overs.
Young quick Beaton conceded 19 in one over, Gayle hitting him cleanly down the ground, whilst Lewis pulled Beaton over mid-wicket for a typically powerful maximum, then followed it up with an elegant cover drive. Narine’s second over then saw two consecutive Gayle fours, and a Lewis maximum before the latter fell caught behind to a quicker one from the Knight Riders off-spinner, for 39, with one ball left in the PowerPlay.
An issue with the stadium lights and heavy showers brought the game to a halt. Once the game restarted, adjusted to 18 overs a side, Shamarh Brooks and his captain went about regaining their lost momentum. Nurse dropped a tough caught-and-bowled chance off Gayle, and the Patriots captain punished him with successive sixes over cow corner. Frustratingly, only one over later, another rain break intervened again, further reducing the game to 13 overs.
When the game got underway again the Patriots batsmen went hard. Brooks cleared the rope off Narine, while Gayle reached his 50 with a six off Dwayne Bravo, a shot which also brought up the 50 partnership between the two. Anderson Philip bowled a chest high full toss to Brooks, Gayle hitting the resulting free hit out of the ground. Gayle lifted the Patriots to 162-3 off their 13 overs. Gayle eventually holed out to Beaton on 93, with three balls remaining and trying to hit his third consecutive maximum.
Trinbago Knight Riders set about chasing down the DLS adjusted target of 169, initially rather haphazardly. Australian Ben Hilfenhaus swung the ball prodigiously, opening the bowling to Brendon McCullum and Narine, a shaping slower ball enough to get through the defence of Narine.
Carlos Brathwaite was deposited back over his head by McCullum for six, who then top edged in an uncontrolled manner that just fell out of the reach of the chasing Hilfenhaus in the deep. Colin Munro was bowled by Samuel Badree from the first ball of the spinner’s spell, before rain intervened once more.
After another delay, McCullum and Darren Bravo returned to the field, with a new target of 86 in 6 overs. This was to be the defining moment of the match however, as Bravo immediately dispatched Badree for three successive sixes over mid-wicket.
Gayle then turned to Mohammad Nabi to bowl the penultimate over, but he cost 23 runs, with Bravo able to loft him over long-on for his fourth maximum in 7 balls, and McCullum blasting two of his own. Jonathan Carter was given the difficult task of defending 10 off the final over, but Bravo returned to strike two more enormous sixes to finish the match with four balls to spare.
Both teams will be looking ahead to their next match against Jamaica Tallawahs as a chance to dig in at the top of the table, but the Knight Riders will be over the moon with their efforts against their closest challengers tonight. (CPLT20)