By Peter Della Penna
Trinbago Knight Riders 160 for 4 (Munro 57*, Darren Bravo 43) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 159 for 6 (Gajanand Singh 39, Primus 35*, Narine 2-21) by six wickets
(ESPNcricinfo) Trinbago Knight Riders rode on Colin Munro’s charmed innings to march into the final of CPL 2017, beating Guyana Amazon Warriors by six wickets on Thursday night at the Brian Lara Stadium. Munro survived two early chances to anchor the Knight Riders chase, ending unbeaten on 57, as they clinched a chase of 160 with 12 balls to spare. It sets up a rematch of the first Qualifier, which was won by St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at the same ground on Tuesday.
The first ten overs were evenly balanced between the two sides. Amazon Warriors ended the first quarter of the match just two wickets down. Seven different bowlers bowled the first eight overs and though Chadwick Walton and Luke Ronchi both got starts, neither went on to make a big score, as Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo struck to negate any momentum the Amazon Warriors were on the cusp of building.
Prime first-innings finish
Knight Riders continued to keep the Amazon Warriors batting lineup in check despite wickets in hand. With the score at 124 for 4 after 18 overs, Roshan Primus finally unleashed himself in the 19th on Dan Christian, hitting three fours and a six in a 21-run over. Gajanand Singh followed suit with 12 runs off the first three balls of the 20th over before Ronsford Beaton fought back with two wickets in two balls.
The strategy to use Sunil Narine as an opener worked early in the season for Knight Riders. In his last seven innings however, Narine has produced just 20 runs, including ducks in two of his last three innings heading into Thursday night. McCullum’s season-ending injury didn’t give them too many options either.
Against the Amazon Warriors, Narine was dismissed for a golden duck to start the chase, playing around an inswinging yorker from Sohail Tanvir to be trapped leg before. Replays indicated the ball may have been tailing past leg stump, but that doesn’t change Narine’s woeful form heading into Saturday night’s final.
As valuable as Primus’ unbeaten 35 off 18 balls had been, he gave it all back in the field with a drop that may have cost Amazon Warriors a spot in the final. Colin Munro, promoted to open, was on 13 when he miscued a swipe to Primus at mid-off. Primus jogged in for a simple chance at waist height but shelled it, summing up the parlous state of fielding in a tournament which has logged a century of dropped chances.
Two overs later, Rashid Khan induced a false drive to Rayad Emrit at extra cover, but the Warriors captain couldn’t clasp on to the chance reaching over his head.
Hamza Tariq had spent the last two years on the Knight Riders bench as an understudy to Denesh Ramdin and McCullum. After William Perkins failed on Tuesday as McCullum’s replacement, the Calgary resident was given his CPL debut.
Batting at No. 3, Tariq made 10 before he was given out caught behind off Rayad Emrit in the fifth over. He soaked up enough pressure to allow Munro some freedom during a 33-run stand.
Before the second qualifier, Darren Bravo’s best score was an unbeaten 38 off 10 he scored against Patriots. He surpassed it in the must-win match, making 43 off 27 balls as part of an 85-run stand with Munro for the third wicket.
When Rashid was brought back in the 13th over with 60 needed off 48 balls, Darren walloped Rashid over the leg side for six. He creamed another six off Permaul in the next over before falling to the left-arm spinner, but Dwayne smacked his first two balls for four and six to bring the required run-rate under a run-a-ball.