Neil McKenzie roped in as South Africa's high performance batting coach
10 Sep 2020
The Trinbago Knight Riders defeated the St Lucia Zouks to clinch their fourth Hero Caribbean Premier League title at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Thursday, 10 September. The meant that the TKR became the first-ever team in the CPL history to finish the season undefeated winning all their matches. And the fact that they achieved this feat without Sunil Narine playing, Dwayne Bravo bowling and Kieron Pollard batting in the finals is just astonishing.
Chasing a modest target of 155, things did not go as planned for the Knight Riders. They lost two of their top-order batsmen within four overs and were put in a spot of bother. However, a record 138-run partnership between Daren Bravo and Lendl Simmons was more than enough to see to the fact that the most successful franchise in the tournament's history one yet another title with five balls to spare. Both the batsmen showed incredible maturity to see through the incredible pressure mounted on them in the initial overs and freed their arms later in the innings.
Both Bravo (58 off 47) and Simmons (84 off 49) took time to adjust to the pitch, but the required rate went to 9.6 in the last 10 overs, the players put on their dancing shoes to dispatch the famed Zouks attack to all parts of the ground.
In particular, they showed no mercy to Kesrick Williams and Zahir Khan and punished them for a combined total of 71 runs from 5.1 overs between them.
With both their in-form bowlers imploding in the final, Zouks and captain Sammy looked at the loss of ideas and saw the game slipping away as the final overs approached. The batsmen took 23 and 18 runs from 17th and 18th over respectively to take the game away from the opposition, finally scoring an unbeaten 138-run partnership off 91 balls between them. Lendl Simmons in the process became the highest scorer of the tournament with 356 runs from 11 matches and was also adjudged the man of the match.
Earlier in the innings sent to bat first, Zouks carried on their momentum from the semifinal. Andre Fletcher and Mark Deyal played their shots all around the park during the powerplay, and within the first 9 overs Zouks were cruising at 78 for the loss of 2 wickets.
But, like it has happened multiple times this tournament, several below-par shot selections meant that Zouks failed to capitalise on the start and were bundled out for just 154 runs without even playing the full quota of 20 overs.
Credit has to be given to Kieron Pollard who chose not to bowl Dwayne Bravo, but took it upon himself to demolish the Zouks middle order. He took the pace off in the initial overs of his spell, and as the overs went by, bowled full and wide to frustrate the players out there in the middle. This resulted in him picking up four wickets, that included the entire middle order of the Zouks in Fletcher, Roston Chase and Najibullah Zadran.
This meant that the Zouks were left short by at least 15-20 runs and ended up losing the game.
Zouks captain Daren Sammy stressed on the same at the end of the game and said, "We thought we were about 15-20 runs short from the start we had. Plus we didn't complete our batting innings and when you play against a side like TKR you have to make sure you at least make full use of your overs."
He congratulated TKR on the win and said that he would like to have experienced campaigners like Simmons and Bravo next year.
"But these guys, Bravo and Simmons, have played so much together, they absorbed the pressure and put it back on us. Of course when you lose a final you think about things you could have done differently. Maybe I should have been more sure about the decision I wanted to take towards the end. But we've been resilient, we showed commitment and we played a brand of cricket that shows you don't need superstars."
Click here for the detailed scorecard of the game.
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