Pollard, Simmons power TKR through in final as Zouks end runners up

It was a game that ebbed and flowed in both directions, but ultimately the experience of the Trinbago Knight Riders proved to be the difference,as they picked up an eight-wicket victory against the St.Lucia Zouks in the final of the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League. The win means that TKR have won the CPL title for a record fourth time.

In a cagey opening to the game, spinner Akeal Hosein beat the outside edge of Rahkeem Cornwall’s bat on a couple of occasions, but he was tonked for two fours by the burly batsman when he missed his length. Pacer Ali Khan however didn’t miss his length when he came on to bowl, as he knocked over Cornwall’s middle stump. 

The early wicket didn’t deter the Zouks batsmen, as Mark Deyal picked up back-to-back fours off Hosein’s second over. Andre Fletcher too joined the party, getting two massive sixes off Sikander Raza’s over, getting 18 runs off it to push the score to 43/1 after four. 

The 32-year-old continued to pile on the runs, scoring two photogenic cover drives to end the powerplay with 60 runs on the board- the highest powerplay score of the Zouks in CPL 2020. The game slowed down after the field restrictions were lifted, as the batting side focused on treading the gaps, barring a well timed six on the leg side from Deyal. That six however proved to be the last hurrah for the southpaw, as he was out caught at slip shortly after. 

The wicket slowed down the scoring rate for the Zouks, as they added just 11 runs in the next two overs. Fletcher tried to free his arms against Pollard to release the tension, but picked out the fielder at long-off, as the Trinbago Knight Riders firmly got a foothold back in the contest. 

Despite having two new players in Roston Chase and Najibullah Zadran in the middle, the Zouks added 25 runs in the next three overs, with Chase scoring a six on the leg side and Zadran getting a straight boundary. Chase however was foxed by a slower one from Pollard shortly after, leaving the Zouks at 115/4 after 14 overs. 

Things got worse for the first time finalists, as new man Mohammad Nabi was sent back to the pavilion for single figures. Skipper Daren Sammy walked out to bat next, and started off with a massive six on the leg side. Zadran too supported his captain ably, scoring a flat six on the off side off Hosain’s bowling. The left-arm spinner however had something to celebrate later in the over, as he trapped Sammy leg before wicket with a quicker one. 

It was the Trinbago Knight Riders who finished off strong, as the Zouks lost four wickets in the last two overs, folding for a score of 154. 

Second Innings

It was a cautious start to the chase from TKR, as openers Lendl Simmons and Tion Webster added 13 runs off the first two overs. The next couple of overs brought with it two quick wickets, as Roston Chase dismissed Webster and Scott Kuggeleijn picked up Tim Seifert, to put the Zouks right back in the contest. At the end of the powerplay, the score read 40/2 for TKR, evenly poised. 

With the field restrictions lifted, finding the gaps became more difficult, as the Zouks spinners began to mount the pressure. The next three overs yielded ten runs, as the fielding team began to get a foothold on the game. Simmons lifted the pressure off the chasing side with a big six on the leg side shortly before the drinks game, making for a tantalizing last ten overs. 

TKR started brightly post the drinks break, getting 25 runs off the next two overs, courtesy mainly of two sixes and a four. The chasing side continued to pile on the runs, as new bowler Javelle Glenn went for 15 runs in his first over. The countercharge helped TKR get the team score past 100, and they now needed 54 off the last six overs. 

The next over proved to be expensive as well, as Simmons and Bravo got nine runs off it to further chisel down the target. Kuggeleijn came back into the attack for the Zouks, and gave away just four runs, putting his team back in the contest. TKR however made up in no time, as they took the attack to Zahir Khan, getting three sixes in the overs to reduce the equation to a run a ball. 

Things got worse for the first time finalists, as Simmons got a six and a four in the next over equation down to single figures. Needing just two runs off the last two overs, Bravo got a fortuitous inside edge that ran away to the boundary, to give the Trinbago Knight Riders an eight-wicket victory; and their fourth CPL title.  

Brief Scorecard

St.Lucia Zouks:             154/10, 19.1 overs (Andre Fletcher 39, Kieron Pollard 4/30)

Lost to

Trinbago Knight Riders: 157/2, 18.1 overs (Lendl Simmons 84, Roston Chase 1/13)

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