CPL 2020: All-round Pollard extends Knight Riders unbeaten run
SUMMARY: Trinbago Knight Riders 175-5 (DM Bravo 50, Pollard 42, Seifert 33, Webster 20; Kuggeleijn 2-35, Sammy 1-19, Zahir 1-24) beat St Lucia Zouks 152-7 (Fletcher 42, Deyal 40, Nabi 17; Pollard 3-35, Seales 2-21, DJ Bravo 2-26) by 23 runs
Another death-hitting masterclass from Kieron Pollard, well-supported by Darren Bravo, took the Trinbago Knight Riders to their third 170+ score in a row.
Darren’s elder brother Dwayne combined with his captain to follow an excellent Powerplay bowling performance and keep the St Lucia Zouks at arm’s length throughout the chase, and seal a ninth Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 win in nine for the Knight Riders.
Sunil Narine was rested again, and openers Lendl Simmons and Tion Webster started slowly, with a pull for six off Scott Kuggeleijn the only boundary Simmons managed before bottom-edging to the keeper. Mohammad Nabi’s second over was expensive, Webster powering him for a Hero Maximum over extra-cover in an over that went for 13.
Kesrick Williams followed a no-ball with a free hit which Tim Seifert powered for six. Seifert, batting at three because of Colin Munro’s hand fracture, followed up with the first four of the innings, then showed off his reverse and orthodox sweep off the returning Roston Chase. Thus the Knight Riders reached 47/1 off the GuardianLife Powerplay.
Webster cleared the long-on fence off Zahir Khan, but the Afghan got his revenge with a quicker ball to end a good cameo. Chase gave away five wides in an over that went for 10, but Zahir kept things tight going for just five and Mark Deyal closed the first half of the inning with an over of four. At halfway, the Knight Riders were 74/2.
Darren Bravo launched a Hero Maximum over Zahir’s head. Deyal was accurate again, and Zouks captain Daren Sammy brought himself on to bowl for the first time in Hero CPL 2020 and marked the occasion with a wicket as Seifert sliced to Najibullah Zadran at deep point. Pollard, back captaining after a rest, came to the middle with the Knight Riders 94/3 after 13.
Nabi returned to go for just one, but Williams was again loose, going for 13 including six wides. Sammy gave himself a second over, but he too went for 13 thanks to Pollard top-edging a four then lofting a Hero Maximum over extra-cover. With four overs to go, the Knight Riders were 121/3.
Good running and a Pollard edge meant Kuggeleijn’s third over went for 11, but Pollard’s Hero Maximum over extra-cover off Williams came squarely out of the middle, as did Darren Bravo’s over long-on. 18 runs came off the 18th, and in the 19th Pollard smashed Kuggeleijn for a four and a Hero Maximum. The Knight Riders captain did however lose his wicket, swinging so hard the bat flew to square leg even as he edged behind.
DJ Bravo hit his first ball for four to end an expensive Kuggeleijn over, and Darren Bravo hammered Williams for a Hero Maximum over long-on. A wicket fell last ball of the innings, but with the Knight Riders managing 80/2 off the last 36 balls, the damage was done.
With Rakheem Cornwall rested, Kimani Melius and Mark Deyal got a chance at the top of the order but only managed 13 off the first four overs, Akeal Hosein and Sikandar Raza proving hard to hit. While Khary Pierre conceded a boundary to each opener, Melius gloved a DJ Bravo slower ball down the leg-side where Seifert took a good diving catch. The Zouks managed just 26/1 off the GuardianLife Powerplay.
Andre Fletcher hit the innings’ first Hero Maximum off Fawad Ahmed, who also conceded a four to Deyal, but Raza and DJ Bravo kept things tight. When a shower briefly interrupted proceedings in the tenth over the Zouks were 63/1 and needed almost 11 an over.
Hosein returned but went for 10, and Fletcher meted out some Pollard-like treatment to the Knight Riders’ captain’s first ball. Deyal though didn’t make such a good connection and was caught at long-on, Seales somehow hanging on despite DJ Bravo colliding with him.
Bravo returned, but Nabi sent him over the midwicket boundary. Fletcher and Nabi inexplicably found themselves running to the same end, but the throw missed the stumps. Fletcher again started a Pollard over with a leg-side Hero Maximum, but Pollard got his revenge as Fletcher picked out Webster at deep midwicket. After 14 overs, the Zouks were 104/3 and needed 12 an over.
Hosein finished with a boundary-less over, and though Nabi muscled Pollard over his head for a Hero Maximum he fell attempting another, DJ Bravo holding on to a skier off the toe-end. Bravo turned wicket-taker himself to dismiss Nabi’s countryman Najibullah Zadran who dragged a sweep onto the stumps. After 17 overs, the Zouks were down to Sammy and Kuggeleijn and needed 15 an over.
Just 12 runs, none in boundaries, came off Pollard or DJ Bravo’s final overs, and though in the 20th Seales started nervily conceded a six to Sammy and a wide, he responded with a good straight ball which Sammy hit high rather than long, his opposite number Pollard taking the catch despite Darren Bravo running too close for comfort to him.
The elder Bravo got a catch of his own, Kuggeleijn picking him out to give Seales a second, and in truth, this was the Knight Riders’ game from some way out, as even without Narine, Munro and the still-hamstrung Ali Khan they had far too much for the Zouks. (CPL)