Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) skipper Kieron Pollard indicated every game here on in is like a final for his charges as they continued unbeaten with their ninth consecutive victory yesterday.
Pollard, back from a one-game break, engineered the latest TKR romp, a 23-run win based on his Man-of-the Match performance: 42 from 21 balls and 3-35 with the ball.
But the final margin of victory belied the effort needed to record the triumph against the St Lucia Zouks at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA).
“I think they had us under pressure but the way that our guys stood up to that pressure and Bravo wanting the ball in the end, we just wanted to execute our plan,” Pollard said, adding that TKR batted conservatively in the first half before capitalising in the final 10 overs.
Besides the team goal of continuing a winning run, Pollard achieved another individual milestone, posting his 50th T20 victory as a captain out of 100 T20 matches he has skippered in his career.
“Hopefully, I can continue to lead and continue to lead well. But you can’t lead by yourself. You need your teammates, support staff, you need the support of each and everyone,” Pollard, who featured in an important 66-run partnership with Darren Bravo ( 50 from 42 balls), explained.
Pollard described yesterday’s pitch as one of the best wickets he had played on during the tournament.
With the semifinals scheduled to bowl off Tuesday, he said his team is taking it one game at a time.
“We want to play each game as the last game and play the ball and not play the wicket. I think we came out and posted a very, very good total,” Pollard said, adding everyone except Colin Munro (wrist injury) will be available for the rest of the tournament, “...So there is a little anticipation of who the Knight Riders are going to put out in the park, but we have a combination that we look at going into the final stage. So let’s see what happens next game, then straight into semifinal Tuesday.”
Darem Sammy, Zouks captain, said while his team was able to apply some pressure to TKR, they faltered at a crucial stage.
“I think they (TKR) assessed the conditions quite well but from the bowling point, they never took the game away from us,” Sammy explained. “I thought today was the best wicket we had. Probably at the back end, we did not execute to both batters as well as we could with their bowlers.”
He added his bowlers failed to make the TKR batters play to the big side of the field, allowing them to hit straighter boundary shots.
“All in all, we keep getting close to TKR. Yes, they’re the team to beat and anybody who wants to win the tournament has to go through them,” Sammy, whose Zouks have also already qualified for the semifinal stage, assessed.