The first-ever T20 league amid the Coronavirus pandemic ended on the perfect note for Trinbago Knight Riders, as they clinched their 12th successive win on the trot en route their fourth Caribbean Premier League title. Skipper Keiron Pollard led the charge with the ball in the finals against St Lucia Zouks, after which batters Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo helped the team recover from the fall of early wickets to help the side over the line.
However, unlike their previous matches, TKR were not unchallenged in the finals, with the Zouks starting off well with both bat and ball. Early in the run chase, TKR lost two wickets, and they seemed to be struggling even at the half-way stage as they looked to chase down 155 runs for the win, with the asking run-rate at more than nine runs an over.
However, in-form Simmons, who came into the finals with two fifties in his last three matches, batted with intent, and took on experienced Kesrick Williams for a four and a six off consecutive balls before bringing up another half-century. The Knights got going after Simmons’ onslaught and the side launched a greater attack against Zahir Khan in the 17th over, taking the young Afghan spinner for 23 runs, which shifted the momentum in the Riders’ favour.
New Zealand’s Scott Kuggeleijn, one of the most successful bowlers for the Zouks this year, went on to concede 16 in the 18th over, leaving TKR with just two runs to win in the last two overs.
Along with Simmons, Darren Bravo deserves credit as well as got over an iffy start to play the perfect partner to the former. After scoring just 23 runs off 32 balls, Bravo got going with two sixes off the bowling of Javelle Green in the 14th over, which played a part in shifting the gears from the Zouks. He was eventually unbeaten on 57 off 48 balls – his 18th T20 half-century.
Earlier in the day, the Knights, who were playing the finals without their injured players Sunil Narine and Colin Munro, were unable to stall the run-flow in the first 15 overs, as they allowed the rivals to pile on 115 for 3 with six overs left. Mark Deyal, Andre Fletcher, Roston Chase and Najibullah Zadran all pitched in with vital contributions, and the Zouks were well on course for a score of over 170.
However, that was not the case as the rest of the batters failed to capitalize, with none of the seven bowlers able to get to double digits. They were all out in just 19.1 overs, with Pollard leading the charge, finishing with figures of 4 for 30 as Zouks ended at 154 all out.
It was just the second time in the history of any T20 league that a team was undefeated in any competition – with Karnataka being the first team to win the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2019 without losing any game.
Brief scores: St Lucia Zouks 154 in 19.1 overs (Andre Fletcher 39, Mark Deyal 29; Kieron Pollard 4-30, Fawad Ahmed 2-22) lost to Trinbago Knight Riders 157/2 in 18.1 overs (Lendl Simmons 84*, Darren Bravo 58*) by 8 wickets.