Sport-Filler

TRINBAGO KNIGHT Riders (TKR) continued their excellent start to the 2020 Caribbean Premier League season with a 19-run victory over defending champions Barbados Tridents, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, yesterday, to remain unbeaten after three matches.

TKR started slowly in posting 185 for three, amassing only 27 off the first five overs. But their innings received a timely boost via a late flourish from Darren Bravo and captain Kieron Pollard, who came together with the fall of Colin Munro’s wicket in the 13th over with the score at 87 for three.

The pair shared an unbeaten stand of 98, with Bravo scoring 54 off 36 balls (four fours, four sixes), while Pollard contributed 41 off just 17 balls, striking one boundary and four maximums.

They were particularly severe on Mitchell Santner, stroking two maximums and a boundary in taking 19 off his sole over, the 17th, before repeating their onslaught against Raymon Reifer the very next over, picking up two more maximums and a boundary.

Earlier, Munro set the tone, scoring 50 off 30 balls (seven fours, two sixes). His innings laid the foundation for TKR’s score after opener Lendl Simmons fell for 21 off 21 balls, and the usually explosive Sunil Narine eventually departed for an uncharacteristic eight off 16, having suffered a torturous time at the wicket.

Munro went into overdrive immediately upon coming to the middle after TKR lost Simmons in the fifth over. Stepping down the pitch, he launched Kyle Mayers over midwicket before drilling three boundaries—one an exquisite cover drive—in milking 21 off the sixth over.

But he would fall just two balls after bringing up his half century, holing out to Rashid Khan at deep midwicket off Ashley Nurse. Nurse, who had a tight spell, ended with one wicket in his four overs at the cost of 20 runs.

The Tridents began their run chase positively, scoring 59 in the powerplay (five) overs as Johnson Charles punished anything short or loose. He blazed a blistering 52 (four fours, three sixes) in a first wicket partnership of 68 with Shai Hope before he was bowled by Fawad Ahmed in the eighth over attempting to sweep.

He should have been dismissed in the third over when on 19, but his hit to deep square leg went straight at Munro, bounced off his hands and over the rope. Grateful for the life, Charles struck rookie Jayden Seales for a boundary the very next ball.

The Tridents lost their second wicket in the 10th over with the score on 73. Corey Anderson was run out via a direct hit from Seales after he was found just short of his ground having backed up too far. And five balls later, they were 75 for three as Mayers was brilliantly caught by Bravo (Darren), running in at deep midwicket to snatch the ball inches off the ground.

They never recovered after losing their third wicket as Jonathan Carter would perish for eight in the 15th over, comprehensively bowled by pacer Ali Khan, and Hope departed the next over, caught by Seales off Narine. His 38-ball 36 contained two boundaries and a six.

And despite Tridents captain Jason Holder smashing Dwayne Bravo for two straight sixes and a streaky boundary through the vacant slip region in the penultimate over, and Nurse taking a boundary and a maximum off Seales in the final over before being caught by Khary Pierre, their innings folded at 166 for six. Narine was again very economical, finishing with one for 17 off his four overs.

Commenting on his team’s victory, Pollard said their challenge is coming out and trying to play a consistent game of cricket day in day out.

Noting that the team did not get off to a good start, Pollard said: “We had that impetus in the sixth over of the powerplay and then we were able to manoeuvre the bowlers after that.”

He said that the explosive start from Tridents’ opener Charles was typical of the role he normally played so it was just a matter of TKR keeping as calm as possible.

Meanwhile, Munro, who earned the Man-of-the-Match award, said TKR did not know what to expect of the wicket in light of Saturday’s two matches, with one producing a score of 170-odd in the first innings and then 115 in the second game.

“I thought they bowled really, really well upfront, Jason (Holder) and Mayers (Kyle). It took just one over in the powerplay to try and make something go our way and from then on it was pretty good, good batting all the way through.”

Munro also said he hoped he was rediscovering his form of 2018. “I’m always looking for that form. Doesn’t help when you throw your wicket away when you get a good start. I though today that I played really, really well. It helped getting a few balls in the middle the last game.

“To give it away on Ashley’s (Nurse) last ball of his spell and to expose the middle to late order...but I thought Polly (Pollard) and Bravo did extremely well just to get an above par score.”

Commenting on Pollard’s innings of 41 off 17 balls, Munro said, “He’s a bit of a freak, I always have that fear when he comes out to bat. He’s so big and strong he can mis-hit one-hand sixes 20 rows back. He’s the leader and he’s leading by example on and off the field, so it good to see that he got some runs.”

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