A match marked by rain and two T20 records for Dwayne Bravo ended with him as “champion” once more and the Trinbago Knight Riders winning for the fourth straight time in this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League.
There was no explosion of noise and music at the Queen’s Park Oval to greet the moment when Colin Munro’s low, diving catch at cover removed Rahkeem Cornwall of the St Lucia Zouks to make Bravo the first man in history to take 500 wickets in T20s. The wicket also took Bravo to 100 CPL dismissals. And that breakthrough plus his clean bowling of Zouks leading scorer Roston Chase in his next over—the last in the powerplay—set up what was eventually a six-wicket victory on the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern method.
Set a revised target of 72 to get in nine overs after morning showers had curtailed the Zouks innings at 11 for six, Bravo’s younger brother Darren made sure the quick loss of Lendl Simmons, Tion Webster, Colin Munro and skipper Kieron Pollard was inconsequential. He hit an authoritative 13-ball 23 to see the game home with wicketkeeper Tim Seifert (15, 16 balls). The rain was threatening again by that time. But not even the weather could take the shine off Bravo’s moment and his Man-of-the-Match impact on this game.
“I thought up front before Bravo came and bowled we had them,” Zouks captain Darren Sammy said in his CPLT20 interview afterwards. “We were going probably at eight, nine runs an over on a difficult pitch. Bravo’s two quick wickets really pegged us back a bit and as soon as it looked like we were going to get a partnership, in comes Pravin Tambe and he got that breakthrough and then the rain came at a crucial time when we were looking to push on.”
Tambe, 48, the first Indian to play in the CPL, went for a six off his first ball but ended his only over on Caribbean soil thus far (1-0-15-1) with Najibullah Zadran (21, 21 balls) top-edging a slog/sweep to Pollard at short cover.
But Pollard’s pleasure at assisting the new recruit settle in was perhaps not quite as great as seeing his good friend DJ Bravo reach his big milestone.
“He has gone where no man has gone before in T20 cricket,” Pollard said. “When T20 cricket started we all thought it was going to be a joke. But when you look around the world now and you see each and every cricketer wanting to play T20... to be the top of the tree in wicket-taking, 500 is a tremendous achievement and we are very, very happy that we have him on our team.”
Sammy also offered his congratulations to Bravo.
“What he’s done in this form of the game is incomparable to the others and he’s really been a pioneer for us in T20 cricket. Although it’s against us, I’m happy for him for his achievement,” he said.
Even with the reportedly unwell all-rounder Sunil Narine missing the match, the Zouks still struggled to come to grips with the varied Knight Riders attack after Pollard chose to insert them after winning the toss on a pitch that again proved a challenge for the batsmen.
With Chase missing out this time, no-one besides the reliable Mohammad Nabi (30 not out) stepped into the vaccum. But Sammy was not too disappointed with his side who were still second ahead of yesterday’s second match between the Jamaica Tallawahs and the Barbados Tridents.
“I thought we took the game really deep chasing down a Duckworth/Lewis,” he said. “We were on the winning side of it the last time so we understand what it is but yeah, we gave it a good shot today.”
Yesterday though, there was only one champion.