Cricket

Champions Knight Riders strangle Patriots to seal final spot

Sunday, September 16, 2018

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TAROUBA, Trinidad (CMC) — Reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) will meet Guyana Amazon Warriors in today's final of the Caribbean Premier League, after easily disposing of a timid St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by 20 runs in the semi-final here Friday night.

New Zealander Brendon McCullum top-scored with 43 from 26 balls as TKR, sent in on a slow pitch at Brian Lara stadium, reached 165 for six off their 20 overs.

Patriots then lost their talisman Chris Gayle without scoring in the first over of their run chase and never recovered, stumbling to 145 for eight of their allotted overs with Devon Thomas stroking 35, Brandon King, 33, and Fabian Allen, an explosive unbeaten 32 off 19 balls towards the end.

Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed made the most of friendly conditions to claim three for 13 in an excellent four-over spell that earned him Man of the Match honours, while off-spinner Sunil Narine picked up two for 21.

Today's championship game will be the third match-up between the two teams in eight days, following meetings in Georgetown in the preliminaries and play-offs last week — both of which were won by Amazon Warriors.

TKR stuttered at the start, losing Colin Ingram for five after the South African edged an ill-timed charge at left-arm speedster Sheldon Cottrell (2-24) and was taken by King at third man.

McCullum then anchored the best stand of the innings, adding an important 71 for the second wicket with Colin Munro who made 29.

With the pair at the wicket TKR scored freely, with McCullum striking two fours and three sixes in a 26-ball knock and the left-handed Munro slamming a pair of fours and sixes off 31 deliveries.

Gayle got the breakthrough with his now rarely used off spin, earning an lbw decision against McCullum with a full-length delivery in the 11th over. Seamer Ben Cutting followed up in the next over, getting Munro to drive head high to Gayle at cover.

Denesh Ramdin, who struggled to get the ball away in an unbeaten 27 from 25 balls, anchored two stands to help propel TKR to a competitive total. Firstly, he put on 35 for the fourth wicket with Darren Bravo (20) and then added a further 37 with captain Dwayne Bravo (24).

Patriots were set back early when the left-handed Gayle flirted with one from fast bowler Ali Khan and nicked a catch through to wicketkeeper Ramdin, with a single run on the board.

Thomas counter-attacked, however, hitting four fours and a six in a 26-ball innings as he put on 43 for the second wicket with South African Rassie van der Dussen (14).

With the run chase finding momentum, Thomas and van der Dussen perished in successive overs, triggering a slide which saw Patriots lose six wickets for 54 runs to tumble to 98 for seven in the 16th over.

Thomas inside-edged a drive at Ingram onto his stumps in the seventh over, while van der Dussen got a leading edge back to Narine.

With the required run rate having risen to just over 16 per over, Allen and Carlos Brathwaite (14) attempted a rescue mission but their 43-run, eighth-wicket stand required 26 balls, leaving Patriots well short of their total.

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