Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) champions Trinbago Knight Riders made it three wins from three in their season-opening home stint after cruising past St Lucia Zouks’ by seven wickets at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain on Sunday.
Contrasting yet equally impressive half-centuries from the explosive Lendl Simmons and ice-cool Denesh Ramdin ensured Zouks total of 167/5 was always within reach, TKR getting home with 13 balls to spare.
Simmons set the tone with a six straight back over Thisara Perera’s head from just the second ball of the innings, with Sunil Narine adding another Hero Maximum as 14 came from the opening over.
With boundaries coming regularly, even the loss of Narine and Tion Webster in the space of nine balls, the latter caught at point from Fawad Ahmed’s first ball of the day, did nothing to staunch the flow. Simmons ended that Fawad over with another huge six over long-on and on to the roof before smoking back-to-back Hero Maximums in the champion leg-spinner’s next over. His half-century came up with his fourth four to go with four sixes in just 32 balls, by which time the Knight Riders’ overall target was already down to double-figures.
Ramdin had been understandably content to play second fiddle to Simmons for the most part but he too cut loose once the partnership reached 50, taking Fawad for 10 in two balls as 17 runs came from the 11th over of the innings.
Simmons continued the boundary spree with his fifth Hero Maximum, powered down the ground off Kavem Hodge, but the bowler had instant revenge as Simmons ran past a wide to be comprehensively stumped by Andre Fletcher.
With the fall of Simmons' wicket, TKR's captain Kieron Pollard joined Ramdin in the middle and with 62 required from 52 balls, the pair continued to put Zouks' bowlers to the sword.
Pollard’s first six, smeared high and handsome over long-on, and a four slapped through cover by Ramdin off Perera’s second over – the 15th of the innings – brought the required rate down to a run a ball and made the result a formality.
Ramdin then upped the tempo in search of his half century, stroking three consecutive boundaries - two through midwicket and one through point-off the final three deliveries of the 17th over to race to 47, with seven required for victory.
He duly got to the landmark with a clip for two that brought the scores level, and Zouks’ day to forget ended with a wide outside off to hand TKR the winning run.
Earlier when Zouks batted, they were as given a stunning start by Rahkeem Cornwall. He followed up his 14-ball 36 against Guyana Amazon Warriors with 33 from 12 here. However, when he was trapped plumb in front attempting to sweep, it brought an inevitable slowing of the rate.
Fletcher struggled to cut loose in a frustrating 32-ball stay that brought him 26 runs while Najibullah Zadran’s promising cameo was ended at 26 from 17 balls when he picked out Javon Searles on the long-off boundary from a Mohammad Hasnain slower ball.
Daren Sammy smashed back-to-back sixes in his 16 from 13, while John Campbell began to find the boundary towards the back end of the innings, but once again Zouks failed to take full advantage of the early momentum Cornwall had provided at the top of the innings.
Trinbago Knight Riders 168/3 off 17.5 overs (Simmons 63, Ramdin 50*, Pollard 26*, Hodge 1/30) vs St Lucia Zouks 167/5 off 20 overs (Campbell 43, Cornwall 33, Zadran 26, Fletcher 26, Neesham 2/33) - TKR won by 7 wickets.
Upcoming Fixtures: Sunday 8 September – Guyana Amazon Warriors v Barbados Tridents (10pm), Providence Stadium; Tuesday 10 September – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Jamaica Tallawahs (11pm), Warner Park.