Kieron Pollard believes the Trinbago Knight Riders were destined to win their fourth Hero CPL title this season.
TKR led by Lendl Simmons’ unbeaten 84 and Darren Bravo 58 not out steered their team to an emphatic eight-wicket win over the first-time finalist St Lucia Zouks.
Chasing 155 for victory, TKR lost two early wickets but Simmons and Bravo mounted a match-winning partnership of 138 that propelled the team to their 12th win from 12 matches with 11 balls to spare.
TKR thus became the first team in CPL history to go undefeated for an entire season.
Pollard, who was named Hero of the Tournament, for his 204 runs and eight wickets, said the team used the disappointments of last season as fuel this season’s unprecedented success.
“Great, great feeling. We have worked really, really hard. When we sat in the dressing room last year, you could have seen the disappointment (after losing in the semi-finals),” he said.
“We had rigorous conversations and the mentality the guys came through even before the camp. This was destined to happen. They always wanted to improve every game.”
In the final, TKR was without their main strike bowler Sunil Narine – ruled out because of injury.
However, Pollard led by example, taking 4 for 30, a performance that went a long way in restricting the Zouks to 154 all out off 19.1 overs after they had got off to a strong start reaching 77 for 2 in the ninth over.
However, Pollard believes winning the title was a “total team effort.”
“We knew they (Zouks) were going to come hard, they had a lot of confidence from the semi-final, but that’s where we used our experience. We knew in the team Bravo wasn’t going to bowl but just having him in the field was a boost,” the winning captain said.
Throughout the tournament, pitch conditions were a concern. The surfaces were mostly spinner friendly but they also offered assistance to the faster bowlers. Meanwhile, many batsmen and by extension, teams struggled for runs.
However, Pollard said that they never allowed the conditions to determine how TKR played their cricket.
“We said we’re not going to play the pitch or the conditions, we’re going to play the round, white ball,” he said.
“We knew that each time we set up the game, we will finish well. We had the power in our line-up. Each and everyone who came in did their role. “The guys believed in what we wanted to achieve. It would have been brilliant if the fans were here but we know what’s going on (the pandemic). We hope we entertained each and everyone.” (Sportsmax)