Denesh Ramdin played a remarkably patient, but ultimately match-winning knock alongside Lendl Simmons then Kieron Pollard to take Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to a well-timed victory over the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), booking their place in the semi-final on Thursday 10 October at Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
Having won the toss and bowled it was an ideal start for Kieron Pollard's TKR side. Mohammad Hafeez was well caught by a back-pedalling Akeal Hosein at extra-cover for just 11. Chris Jordan got one straight through Brooks' expansive straight drive in the final over of the fielding restrictions, bringing Laurie Evans to the crease.
Having gone for just 1 off his first over back from injury, Sunil Narine then had Evin Lewis caught and bowled off a leading edge for 9. The Patriots were 30/3 with no runs off the bat and just two wides off Narine's first two overs.
Evans and Devon Thomas attempted to rebuild amidst showers in Guyana but it was anything but easy against the supreme spin of Narine. After a couple overs of simply ticking it over, Pierre was the man targeted, going for 37 off his four, with Evans and Thomas using their feet magnificently.
The 50-partnership was brought up in the 14th off 46 balls, but on the last ball of Narine's miserly spell Thomas was given lbw for 10. Clearly suffering from pain in his finger, Narine astonishingly finished with 2-10 and 19 dot balls from his four overs.
Laurie Evans reached 50 off 44 balls with a boundary off Sussex teammate Chris Jordan in the 18th over. Skipper Carlos Brathwaite struggled to get going, holing out to Colin Munro at long on later in the Jordan over for 3.
Fabian Allen got going with a wristy four first ball, but was deprived of further boundaries by sensational diving stops from Lendl Simmons and Khary Pierre.
Jordan had Allen caught in the final over to finish with 3-30, TKR restricting the Patriots to just 125-7 (with not one six struck) on a slow pitch in Guyana.
Narine started with 8 off 2 in Sheldon Cottrell's first over, but the bowler got his revenge next over, catching him at deep-midwicket off Alzarri Joseph.
Cottrell was soon saluting, bowling Munro in the third over for a fifth ball duck leaving TKR 16/2.
A wicket maiden from Rayad Emrit to finish the PowerPlay saw Darren Bravo's tricky vigil end for 1 off 10, Cottrell again the catcher, 31/3.
This was after Evin Lewis misjudged a catch a few paces inside the rope at deep square, having to go one-handed in the end, Simmons the lucky man to get away with it for 1.
Ramdin played himself in to the tune of 4 off 13 balls at the halfway mark with Simmons 24 off 29 needing 83 off 60 balls, just behind where the Patriots were after 10 overs.
Ramdin was still struggling on 11 off 27 balls in the 15th, whilst Simmons couldn't even score at above a run-a-ball until he reached 50 with a six, before departing for 51 off 47 the very next ball.
Pollard was left with plenty to do, requiring 48 off 27 balls when he entered the fray with a sore quadricep.
Once Pollard struck a six off his third ball, Ramdin at last released the shackles too; on his 31st ball he hit his first boundary- a sis. With a four next ball he was now 23 off 32 balls. This expensive Cottrell over made the equation 27 required off 18 balls.
Pollard took to Braithwaite, smacking his compatriot over the ropes and cover driving him for four to win the game. His 26* off 9 by far and away the highest strike rate of anyone in the game tonight giving his side a chance to make it to the Hero CPL final on 12 October.
Upcoming Fixtures:Sunday 6 October – Qualifier 1: Guyana Amazon Warriors v Barbados Tridents (3.30pm), Providence Stadium; Thursday 10 October – Qualifier 2: Trinbago Knight Riders v Loser Qualifier 1 (7pm), Brian Lara Stadium; Saturday 12 October – Final: Winner Qualifier 1 v Winner Qualifier 2 (5pm), Brian Lara Stadium.