Pollard grateful for historic fourth CPL title
TAROUBA, Trinidad (CMC):
Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) clinched a record fourth Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title in imperious fashion when they made light work of St Lucia Zouks by eight wickets in the final to complete a historic unbeaten campaign in the franchise tournament yesterday.
Inspired by captain Kieron Pollard’s four-wicket haul, TKR withstood an early onslaught to restrict Zouks to 154 all out with five balls left in the innings, with Andre Fletcher top-scoring with a classy 39 off 27 deliveries.
And the target proved inadequate for star-studded TKR as opener Lendl Simmons blasted an unbeaten 84 from 49 deliveries with eight fours and four sixes and Darren Bravo, 58 not out off 47 balls with two fours and half-dozen sixes, to fire their side to victory with 11 balls remaining at the Brian Lara Stadium.
Zouks had early momentum when they reduced TKR to 19 for two in the fourth over, but hopes of a maiden CPL title were then dashed as Simmons and Bravo combined in a third-wicket record stand of 138.
The triumph, before empty stands because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, added to previous conquests in 2015, 2017, and 2018, and Pollard said it had atoned for last year’s disappointment of bowing out at the semi-final stage.
“It is a great, great feeling. We have worked really, really hard for this,” the 33-year-old, who was voted Man-of-the-Series, said.
“Last year, when we sat in that dressing room after that semi-final against Barbados, you could have seen the disappointment in the guys. We retained the core of our team and decided to have a different plan, and we had some rigorous conversations.
“Right through the tournament, the guys just stuck to it – each and every time, each and every game, wanting to improve as individuals and wanting to be the best that they can be – and I think this one is really special because it was a total, total team effort.”
A downcast Zouks skipper Darren Sammy, meanwhile, conceded that TKR had been too experienced for his untested unit, especially after they found themselves short of a really competitive total.
“We thought we were about 15 to 20 runs short from the start that we had, plus we didn’t completely [bat out our overs], and when you’re playing a side like TKR, you have to at least make sure you make full use of your overs,” Sammy said.
“But we still felt we had enough when we put that amount of pressure [on] in the first six overs, but these guys have been playing together for a while, and their experience showed.
“Bravo and Simmons have played so much cricket together, and they held their nerve, absorbed some pressure, and then they put it back on us.”
R Cornwall b Ali Khan 8
M Deyal c DJ Bravo b Fawad Ahmed 29
+A Fletcher c DM Bravo b Pollard 39
R Chase c Webster b Pollard 22
Najibullah Zadran c Sikandar Raza b Pollard 24
Mohammad Nabi c DM Bravo b Fawad Ahmed 2
*D Sammy lbw b Hosein 8
J Glen c Simmons b Pollard 9
S Kuggeleijn not out 2
K Williams run out 3
Zahir Khan b Ali Khan 0
Extras: (lb3, w5) 8
TOTAL: (2 wkts, 19.1 overs) 154
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-77, 3-89, 4-115, 5-117, 6-137, 7-148, 8-149, 9-154, 10-154.
Bowling: Hosein 4-0-26-1, Ali Khan 3.1-0-25-2, Sikandar Raza 2-0-38-0, Pierre 3-0-20-0, Pollard 4-0-30-4, Fawad Ahmed 3-0-22-2.
L Simmons not out 84
T Webster c Williams b Chase 5
+T Seifert c wkp Fletcher b Kuggeleijn 4
DM Bravo not out 58
Extras: (b1, lb2, w3) 6
TOTAL: (2 wkts, 18.1 overs) 157
Did not bat: *K Pollard, DJ Bravo, Sikandar Raza, A Hosein, K Pierre, Fawad Ahmed, Ali Khan
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-19.
Bowling: Kuggeleijn 4-0-30-1, Mohammad Nabi 3-0-16-0, Chase 4-0-13-1, Williams 3.1-0-43-0, Zahir Khan 2-0-28-0, Sammy 1-0-9-0, Glen 1-0-15-0.
Result: TKR won by eight wickets.
Series: TKR win 2020 CPL title.
Man-of-the-Match: Lendl Simmons.
Man-of-the-Series: Kieron Pollard.
Umpires: Deighton Butler, Gregory Brathwaite; TV – Joel Wilson.