CPL 2020: Knight Riders keep slate clean with win over Zouks

It wasn’t to be four wins in a row for the St.Lucia Zouks as the Trinbago Knight Riders managed a successful chase in a rain-curtailed match of the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League.

Trinbago Knight Riders took to the field without Sunil Narine, Indian veteran Pravin Tambe getting an opportunity to make CPL debut. The absence of the dynamic opener didn’t affect the Knights much.

The Trinbago Knight Riders needed 72 to win off nine overs as per the DLS method, and Darren Bravo and Tim Siefert ensured that they did so and maintained their unbeaten streak in the competition despite a few early hiccups.

The Zouks were asked to bat first after losing the toss, and both Andre Fletcher and Rahkeem Cornwall took their chances with the field restrictions of the powerplay. The openers scored two fours and two sixes amongst them before falling victim to splendid catches by the Trinbago Knight Riders fielders.

Cornwall was dismissed by the veteran Dwayne Bravo, who claimed his 500th wicket in T20 cricket. The all-rounder struck again in his second over, as a well-directed yorker bamboozled the in-form Roston Chase to leave the Zouks in a spot of bother at 43/3 after the bowling powerplay.

Three wickets in the powerplay forced the Zouks to rethink their strategies, as Mark Deyal and Najibullah Zadran had to curb their natural, attacking instincts and rebuild an innings. With the field restrictions lifted, it was difficult to pick the gaps for the two southpaws as the next four overs didn’t yield a single boundary, leaving the Zouks at 58/3 at the midpoint stage of the innings.

Debutant Pravin Tambe bowled the first over post the drinks break, and he was taken to the cleaners by Zadran, who got a four and a six. The Indian leggie however had the last laugh, as Zadran didn’t pick the spin and ended up skying one to the fielder on the off-side.

Mohammad Nabi replaced his countryman in the centre, and got off the mark with a poised, deliberate edge that ran off to the third man boundary. The Afghani all-rounder didn’t take long to get his eye in, as he punished leggie Fawad Ahmed for a six and a four of his last over. Ahmed however picked up the wicket of Deyal of his last ball, to leave the Zouks at 106/5 after 15 overs.

The wicket once again disrupted the scoring rate for the batting team, as they managed to add only five runs off the next two overs. The pressure also led to the downfall of skipper Daren Sammy, who was trapped in front of the wicket by Khary Pierre to leave the Zouks at 111/6 after 17.1 overs.  Following that wicket though, rain interrupted the game for the better part of two hours, leading to the game being truncated. The revised target for the Trinbago Knight Riders was therefore 72 off nine overs.

Defending eight-run an over in the nine-over innings, the Zouks needed an early wicket. Nabi delivered with the ball as well, trapping Lendl Simmon plumb in front of the wicket. New man Colin Munro though got a four and a six to end the over on a high for his team.

Scott Kuggeleijn bowled the second over for the Zouks, conceding 11 runs which included five wides down the leg side. The final over of the powerplay saw both Munro and Tion Webster were out caught in the deep off the bowling of Kesrick Williams.

Chemar Holder bowled the first over post the powerplay and managed to pick the big fish, as captain Kieron Pollard got a faint inside edge which fell kindly to the wicketkeeper. Despite the flurry of wickets, the Trinbago Knight Riders looked in control of the required rate, needing 35 off the last five.

Nabi and Kuggeleijn did well for the Zouks in the two subsequent overs, conceding just 13 while keeping the boundaries in check.  Darren Bravo however took the pressure off for his side in the next over, getting a six of the second ball to reduce the equation to a run a ball. The southpaw added another six soon after, a powerful hit over long-on to put the result beyond control for the Zouks.

Siefert finished things off with a sliced cover drive on the off-side to take the Trinbago Knight Riders home and keep their unbeaten start going in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League.

St. Lucia Zouks play their next game against the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots on August 26.

Scores:  St. Lucia Zouks:111/6, 17.1 overs (Mohammad Nabi 30, Dwayne Bravo 2/7) lost to Trinbago Knight Riders: 72/4, 8 overs (Darren Bravo 23, Kesrick Williams 2/17) (DLS Method).

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