PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Their bowlers set it up and their batsmen led by Johnson Charles’ steady half-century formalised a crucial, seven-wicket victory for Barbados Tridents over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League last night.
Charles struck five fours and two sixes in a top score of 55 from 47 balls and shared a vital opening stand of 54 with England opener Alex Hales, as the Tridents successfully chased a modest target of 135 in the contest at the Queen’s Park Oval to keep their hopes of a top-two finish in the round-robin stage alive.
Hales made 33 – his best score of the season – to give the innings early momentum before Charles took charge to keep Tridents on track for their fifth win, and former South Africa left-hander J.P. Duminy and Ashley Nurse kept their nerve to collect the seven runs needed from the final over, bowled by TKR and new West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard, without much alarm.
Duminy formalised the result with two balls remaining, when he drove Pollard to long-off for two to give Tridents their first win ever at the Oval and vault the visitors from fifth into the provisional No.2 spot in the table on 10 points, having completed their full schedule of matches.
The Knight Riders are now without a win in their last five matches, after starting the season with four straight victories. They now need to beat runaway leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final match of the round-robin phase on Friday at the Guyana National Stadium, to edge back above the Tridents and reclaim second place.
Though both teams are safely through to the playoffs, second place is still a big prize. It brings a place in Qualifier 1 against the Warriors and two shots at a place in next weekend’s final. The team that misses out faces going straight in an elimination playoff match against St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots and no second chances.
Earlier, the Tridents bowled impressively, as they restricted TKR to 134 for eight off 20 overs, after they chose to bat on a sluggish pitch.
Ireland’s Harry Gurney returned the flattering figures of 2-14 from his allotted four overs to be the pick of the Tridents bowlers and earn the Player-of-the-Match award.
Star Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan supported with 2-25 from his four overs of left-arm spin and the tournament’s most successful bowler, leg-spinner Hayden Walsh, Jr, snapped up 2-34 from his four overs.
Shakib, bowling the first over of the match, removed New Zealander Jimmy Neesham for one, but a stand of 55 between Lendl Simmons, whose 60 from 45 balls that included three fours and four sixes was the top score, and Colin Munro got TKR moving.
Walsh struck in successive overs to have Munro caught behind for 23 and Windies left-hander Darren Bravo bowled for six to leave TKR 74 for three in the 11th over.
Shakib bowled Simmons in the 15th over just when it looked like he was looking to explode and the remaining batsmen offered token resistance, as Gurney, using subtle changes of pace and bowling with impeccable control, and the rest of the bowlers made scoring difficult in the closing overs.