TAROUBA, Trinidad – Not even rain could prevent Trinbago Knight Riders from successfully defending their Caribbean Premier League crown as they trounced Guyana Amazon Warriors by eight wickets in last night’s final, to clinch their third title in four years.
Asked to chase a paltry 148 at the Brian Lara Stadium, TKR overcame a lengthy rain break near the half-way stage of their innings to overhaul their target with 15 balls remaining, and establish themselves as the most successful side in the six-year-old Twenty20 tournament.
Colin Munro top-scored with an unbeaten 68 from 39 balls to pass 500 runs for the series and clinch the Man-of-the-Series honour while fellow New Zealander Brendon McCullum chipped in with 39 and Denesh Ramdin, 24.
The odds were always in the hosts’ favour once they won the toss, opted to bowl and restricted Amazon Warriors to an inadequate 147 for nine from their 20 overs.
Kiwi opener Luke Ronchi struck 44 and Jason Mohammed 24 but the visitors’ much-vaunted batting suffered a meltdown, with exciting 20-year-olds Shimron Hetmyer (15) and Sherfane Rutherford (12) failing to get going when most needed.
Man-of-the-Match left-arm spinner Khary Pierre snatched three for 29 after being handed the new ball while captain Dwayne Bravo provided support with two for 30 with his medium pace.
Hoping to finally strike success in their fourth trip to the final, Amazon Warriors stumbled at the start, recovered well before declining badly over the latter half of the innings.
South African Cameron Delport lost his off-stump to the first ball of the match from speedster Ali Khan but Ronchi and Hetmyer repaired the damage in a 52-run second wicket stand off 37 deliveries.
The right-handed Ronchi stroked six fours and a six off 35 balls while Hetmyer hinted at another special innings with a four and a six in an 11-ball knock.
There was no sign of what was to come even when Hetmyer edged a googly from leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed to Dwayne Bravo at slip in the seventh over, as Ronchi and Mohammed added a further 27 runs for the third wicket.
However, when Ronchi picked out Darren Bravo at deep extra cover with Pierre in the 11th over, things quickly fell apart as Amazon Warriors lost their next seven wickets for 55 runs, allowing TKR to assert control.
Chadwick Walton, who has had a poor tournament, also perished in the 11th over, edging to Sunil Narine at slip and Rutherford’s demise in the 13th over, brilliantly caught by Pierre off a stinging, head-high return catch, left TKR in a hole out of which they were never really able to climb.
In reply, TKR got exactly the start they wished for as McCullum and the promoted Ramdin put on 52 off 40 balls for the first wicket.
McCullum belted six fours and a pair of sixes before holing out to cover off captain Chris Green’s off-spin in the seventh over and following the break for rain, Ramdin’s boundary-less, 30-ball labour ended when he fell hit wicket to fast bowler Romario Shepherd, after adding a further 35 for the second wicket with Munro.
Darren Bravo retired hurt in the 14th over with the score on 103 but Munro controlled the innings expertly, striking six fours and three sixes as he partnered with Colin Ingram (seven not out) in extending the third wicket stand to 63.
Munro took TKR home in style. He pummeled all three of his sixes in the 17th over from seamer Rayad Emrit which leaked 27 runs, with the second six – smashed over long on – taking him to his half-century.
He fittingly ended the contest in the next over when he cut left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir to the point boundary. (CMC)