THE venue was Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad. It was a carnival atmosphere. The Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) did everything right till this day to enter the Qualifier 1 as the number one side in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2017. And then they faltered to clear this hurdle as the Chris Gayle-led St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SKNP) triumphed by 38 runs in a low-scoring game to enter the final of the tournament.
TKN elected to field and got off to a good start. They managed to contain the dangerous duo of Gayle and Evin Lewis. Then Dan Christian caught Lewis in sensational fashion. Christian had already played a massive role in Nottinghamshire’s title triumph in NatWest Blast T20. Fresh off the flight from England, Christian, stepping into the giant shoes of Brendon McCullum, pulled off a running screamer to send Lewis back.
On a track that assisted pacers, Gayle altered his approach and guided his side to 149 for 7. He remained unbeaten on 54 from 51 balls, an innings that saw him strike 3 fours and 3 sixes (this meant that the other 45 balls he faced fetched him a mere 24). Mohammad Hafeez slammed a 13-ball 21 while Brandon King got a 26-ball 30. TKR skipper Dwayne Bravo picked up 4 wickets but gave away 17 runs from his final over, including a leg-bye. He finished with 4 for 38 while Ronsford Beaton impressed with 2 for 22.
The Knight Riders got off to a horrendous start with Sunil Narine being run out in the first over for nought. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The Bravo (half) brothers raised some hopes with Darren getting 29 and Dwayne slamming 3 sixes enroute to a 13-ball 24, but the target turned out to be too steep.
Cottrell led the Patriot’s attack with 3 for 17 from 4 overs. The final wicket was scaled by skipper Gayle, who dismissed Kevon Cooper to guide SKNP to the grand finale.