It was a case of so close yet so far for the Saint Lucia Kings in the final of the 2021 HERO Caribbean Premier League, as the Saint Kitts & Nevis Patriots claimed the title off the very last ball of the competition. It was a spirited performance from all the Kings’ players in the final, but ultimately a Dominic Drakes cameo proved to be the difference in the final at the Warner Park Stadium.
Batting first yet again, the Kings got off to the perfect start as Andre Fletcher struck his trademark no look six in the very first over. The Spiceman however couldn’t carry on and get a big score, as he was out caught in the deep by Sheldon Cottrell the next time he tried a big shot.
Rakheem Cornwall however kept the scoreboard ticking for the Kings, as he welcomed Naseem Khan into the attack with a big six over long-on. The batting side however lost a second wicket within the powerplay, as yesterday’s match-winner Mark Deyal was dismissed cheaply by Dominic Drakes
Cornwall though gave the full treatment to Drakes when offered the strike, hitting him for three consecutive boundaries to end the powerplay with 48 runs on the board. Post that, new batsman Roston Chase began flexing his arms, picking up a couple of boundaries off Fawad Ahmed’s bowling.
The Kings however couldn’t keep that partnership going for too long, as Cornwall was dismissed in the 11th over by Fabian Allen. Jon-Russ Jaggesar added another wicket shortly after, as new man David Wiese fell for single digits, leaving the Kings at 81/4 after 12 overs.
Despite the wickets, the 2020 finalists kept the scoring rate high as new man Tim David and Chase hit a six apiece to reach the triple figure mark after the end of 14 overs. The Patriots though once again found a way back into the game, as a Fawad Ahmed delivery ricocheted off David’s bat and crashed into the stumps.
The wicket prompted a couple of economical overs, before Chase and new man Keemo Paul picked up two sixes in the 17th, pushing the score to 121/5. Chase got another boundary next up against Naseem Shah, but the Pakistani pacer castled the well set batter a couple of balls later.
The Kings though had a mighty weapon up their arsenal, as Keemo Paul dispatched Drakes for three consecutive sixes in the penultimate over of the innings. The all-rounder added another maximum in the final over, as the batting team finished with a strong total of 159/7.
The Saint Lucia Kings got the perfect start with ball in hand, as the dangerous Chris Gayle was knocked over before opening his account by Roston Chase. The Patriots lost their other opener Evin Lewis also a couple of overs later, thanks to a sensational diving catch by Chase at mid-wicket.
The couple of early wickets forced the Patriots to play conservatively in the powerplay, as they got just 40 runs after six overs. Joshua Da Silva and Sherfane Rutherford however went on the counter-attack when Jeavor Royal came into the attack, getting a four and a six against the left-armer.
Da Silva picked up his fifth four of the day when Kesrick Williams came in to bowl, but the seasoned seamer had the last laugh as he dismissed the keeper batsmen in the same over to leave the Patriots at 71/3 at the midway stage.
One wicket followed the other as the well set Rutherford chipped one straight back to bowler Alzarri Joseph, putting the Kings in firm control of the final. The pressure was relentless from the Kings, and a couple of overs later opposition captain Dwayne Bravo was sent packing by Wiese, out caught in the deep.
Despite the wickets, Dominic Drakes kept his team in the hunt as he struck a four off the final ball of the 15th over, leaving the Patriots needing 55 runs to win. That was followed up by another big over, as the chasing side hit a six and a four off Wise to keep the game interesting.
Drakes continued to pull out the big shots, as he hit Wahab Riaz for a six in the 17th over to leave the team needing 31 in the final three. The next over saw Fabian Allen get a four on the leg side, as the Patriots continued to chip away at the total.
The second last over saw Allen dismissed, but the Patriots still managed to pick up 12 runs off it to take the game to the 20th. In the final over, Dominic Drakes proved to be the match-winner as he struck a four and got a single off the final ball of the tournament to lead the Saint Kitts & Nevis Patriots to victory in the 2021 CPL final.
Saint Lucia Kings: 159/ 7 (Rakheem Cornwall 43, Naseem Shah 2/26)
St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots: 160/ 7 (Dominic Drakes 48, Wahab Riaz 2/36)