PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Captain Kieron Pollard has praised the mentality of his side along with the experienced batting line-up after Trinbago Knight Riders marched to a record fourth Caribbean Premier League title on Thursday.
In the final at the Brian Lara Academy in Tarouba, TKR easily brushed aside first-time finalists, St Lucia Zouks, by eight wickets to also complete an historic unbeaten campaign in the competition.
Pollard said the manner in which TKR’s batsmen had approached the turning pitches even when all other teams had struggled, was proof of his side’s ability to adapt and remain mentally strong.
“I remember one of the first meetings when it was looking a bit dicey in terms of how the other team played on the pitch,” Pollard recounted.
“Straightaway, Dwayne (Bravo) and myself shut that right down. [We said] we’re not going to play the pitch, we’re not going to play the conditions, we’re going to play that round white thing and again we showed the difference with our team and the rest.
“We were able to adapt to different scenarios. We knew each and every time that once we set up the game, we’re going to finish well because we have the power at the back [of the innings].”
Chasing a modest 155 for victory in the final, TKR found themselves slumping on 19 for two in the fourth over after Tion Webster (5) and New Zealander Tim Seifert (4) perished cheaply.
But the experienced duo of Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo came together in a third wicket record stand of 138 to propel TKR to their target with 11 balls to spare.
Simmons punched eight fours and four sixes off 49 deliveries while the left-handed Bravo counted two fours and half-dozen sixes in a 47-ball knock.
Pollard said both performances underscored the value of experience in the unit.
“Having the experience of the guys right through in our batting lineup really helped,” said the West Indies white-ball captain.
“Lendl didn’t score much runs in the first four or five games but we stuck with him because we know what he can do and when you watch in the back end of the tournament, look at what he has achieved.”
While Simmons ended with 356 runs and Bravo, 297 runs, Pollard said even players who had limited involvement in the tournament had played key roles.
“Each and every individual who came in did their part,” the 33-year-old explained.
“This [final] game, we didn’t play (Sunil) Narine, (Dwayne) Bravo didn’t bowl – guys who are integral parts of TKR – and we’re still able to be champions because of the way the guys believed in what we wanted to achieve.” (CMC)