Bravo, McCullum fire Knight Riders to sensational victory
GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC):
Darren Bravo and Brendon McCullum produced one of the greatest displays of power hitting in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to lead the Trinbago Knight Riders to a shocking win over the St Lucia Stars here Thursday night.
Bravo belted an unbeaten 94 from just 36 balls - laced with six boundaries and 10 sixes - and McCullum smashed 68 from 42 balls during a fourth-wicket stand of 137 to help the Knight Riders snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, overhauling the Stars' challenging total of 212 for two, to reach 218 for five in 19.5 overs.
The result left fans at the Darren Sammy Stadium in disbelief, as their team's losing streak increased to 15, dating back to 2017.
After Rahkeem Cornwall had struck twice in successive overs to leave the Knight Riders on 20-2, a Stars victory seemed on the cards.
And even when Bravo joined the hard-hitting McCullum at 71-3, few believed there was any hope for the Knight Riders, including St Lucia's Prime Minister Allan Chastanet, who was in the stands.
Heading into the final five overs they required 85 runs for a seemingly impossible victory.
But in the ensuing over, Bravo took his fellow countryman Pollard to the cleaners, smashing him for five huge sixes in an over which yielded 32 - the most expensive ever in the history of the CPL.
McCullum then joined in on the act, hitting Obed McCoy for two sixes and a four in the next over which went for 21, as the Stars' bowlers suddenly began to lose their composures.
By the time Mitchell McClenaghan returned to account for the wickets of McCullum and Javon Searles within three balls of each other in the 19th over to leave the score on 209-5, the damage had already been done.
Denesh Ramdin hammered the final nail with a six, the 34th of the match, off the penultimate ball that, not only sealed the win but also equalled the record for most sixes in a Twenty20 match.
Earlier, half-centuries by David Warner, Rahkeem Cornwall and Pollard had pushed the Stars to their highest ever total overs and given them a real chance of picking up their first win in the competition in over a year.
It was the first time in CPL history that three batsmen had scored half-centuries.
Following the dismissal of Andre Fletcher for 17, and the score on 49 in the sixth over, Pollard made the bold decision to promote Cornwall.
That immediately paid dividends as he pummelled Fawad Ahmed over midwicket for six and soon after hit fast bowler Shannon Gabriel out of the ground twice.
He quickly raced to the third-fastest 50 in this year's competition, off just 25 balls, before losing his wicket soon after.
That brought Pollard to the crease and together with Warner, belted 80 runs from the last five overs.
Pollard's 50 came from just 18 balls, the joint-fastest ever in the CPL's history, as he finished unbeaten on 64 off 23 balls, inclusive of one boundary and seven sixes.
Warner was much more patient, his unbeaten 72 requiring 55 balls and containing four boundaries and three sixes.
In the end though it wasn't enough, as the Knight Riders claimed their second win of the competition while handing the Stars their fourth loss.