Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) made a fist of it but were ultimately denied a spot in the final of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League after losing a high-scoring semi-final against the St Lucia Kings, by 21 runs, at Warner Park in St Kitts, yesterday.
The Kings, who lost to the Knight Riders in the 2020 final, exacted a measure of revenge, knocking out the four-time champions as they secured a berth in the final, in successive tournaments.
The result means that a new champion will be crowned this season with neither the Kings nor the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots ever having lifted the coveted trophy.
The stunning semi-final win for the Kings came on the back of a bold decision to bat first and a career best of 78 (off 44 balls) from Mark Deyal which laid the foundation for an imposing 205 for four total, from their allotted 20 overs.
David Wiese then followed up his unbeaten 34 with the bat, with five for 39 from his four overs, to break the back of the strong TKR batting line-up as the dethroned champions were dismissed for 184 in 19.3 overs.
TKR skipper Kieron Pollard backed his men to get the runs and said that he was proud of the effort shown by his team despite the result.
“You have to give them (the Kings) credit. They played well and were the better team today. Congratulations to my team. I am very proud of boys and the way we fought today,” Pollard said after the game.
“I thought we gave them too many boundary balls in the middle, but again when you look at our bowling performance in the entire tournament the guys have been fantastic so you can’t fault them.
Everyone was geared up for this game, but it didn’t happen. Well played to the opposition and you know a lot of people in the Caribbean and around the world would love to see the back of us, so there you have it,” he added.
TKR had a brilliant start to the game with left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein removing the dangerous Rahkeem Cornwall off the third ball of the match. However, Deyal stepped up in the next over slapping Ravi Rampaul for 16 runs to force Pollard to switch up his bowlers early.
Deyal continued to pile on the pressure, slapping Hosein for a six, pulling Sunil Narine for four and smacking the first two balls from Ali Khan for a six and a four as the Kings raced to 58 for one after the six-over Powerplay.
Deyal brought up his half-century in style with a six off left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, straight down the ground, and followed up with another six over wide long on. At the other end, Kings skipper Andre Fletcher never got going and held out to a good catch by Colin Munro off Rampaul for just four (14 balls).
But the Kings continued to boss proceedings with Roston Chase smacking Pollard for consecutive sixes. TKR did manage to pull things back briefly with Sunil Narine removing Deyal and Pierre getting rid of Chase (36 off 21 balls). But the Kings displayed depth in their batting to finish off the innings with a bang, with Tim David hitting four sixes and a four in an unbeaten 36 (17 balls) and Wiese smacking fours sixes and a four in his 34 not out (21 balls).
In reply, TKR lost Lendl Simmons early but were kept in the match by cameos from Narine (30 off 17), Colin Munro (28 off 23), Denesh Ramdin (29 off 26), Darren Bravo (25 off 16) and Pollard (26 off 13). But none of the TKR heavy-hitters managed to get a big score, leaving them short of the mark.
Having given their best, Pollard and company will have to watch from the sidelines as a new champion is crowned in today’s final, which bowls off at 10 a.m. at Warner Park.