Tarouba: Skipper Kieron Pollard produced a magical spell before Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo went on a six-hitting spree to take Trinbago Knight Riders to a deserving Caribbean Premier League title with an eight-wicket victory over St Lucia Zouks in the final.
Chasing a target of 155 on Thursday, TKR finished it with 11 balls to spare as Simmons (84 off 49 balls) and Bravo (58 off 47 balls) added 138 runs for the unbroken third wicket stand. Such was TKR’s dominance that they became first team in the history of CPL to win all matches en route to the title.
The final victory was achieved without one of their premier players Sunil Narine, who was dropped from the playing XI.
The turning point certainly was the 17th over bowled by inexperienced Afghan left-arm wrist spinner Zahir Khan, which went for 23 runs. From 41 required off 24 balls, it came down to run a ball as Simmons hit a six and Bravo hit a couple of biggies.
Down to run-a-ball, Scott Kuggeleijn, Zouks’ most effective fast bowler, lost his length against a rampaging Simmons, who hit a six and a four to effectively finish the contest as 16 came from the over.
In all, Simmons (4 sixes, 8 fours) and Bravo (2 fours and six sixes) hit 10 sixes between them apart from 10 boundaries.
Earlier, TKR skipper Pollard marshalled his resources brilliantly while showing the way with figures of 4 for 30 which restricted Zouks to 154 after racing away to 77 for one at one stage.
Pollard bowled his variation of slower deliveries on a pitch where the ball gripped and came late.
Mark Deyal (29 off 27 balls), Andre Fletcher (39 off 27 balls), Roston Chase (22 off 14 balls) got starts but couldn’t convert.
The last six wickets fell in six overs for 39 runs as Darren Sammy’s side missed out on crossing the 175-run mark.
Save Pollard, pacer Ali Khan (2 for 25 in 3.1 overs) and leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed (2/22 in 3 overs) rose to the occasion on a day when TKR missed Narine and also Dwayne Bravo didn’t bowl a single over out of the 19.1 they sent down.
Brief scores: Trinbago Knight Riders 157/2 (Simmons 84*, DM Bravo 58*; Chase 1/13, Kuggeleijn 1/30) beat St Lucia Zouks 154 all out (Fletcher 39, Deyal 29, Najibullah 24, Chase 22; Pollard 4/30, Fawad 2/22, Ali Khan 2/25, Hosein 1/26) by 8 wickets.