Akmal, Delport power Red Steel to maiden CPL title
Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel 178 for 5 (Akmal 60, Delport 50) beat Barbados Tridents 158 for 4 (Smith 49) by 20 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Fifties from Kamran Akmal and Cameron Delport helped Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel claim their maiden Caribbean Premier League title, after they beat defending champions Barbados Tridents by 20 runs in the final in Port-of-Spain on Sunday.
Delport and Akmal came together at the fall of Jacques Kallis' wicket in the third over after Red Steel had opted to bat. Delport had played a few shots in the early overs but the Tridents bowlers managed to restrain Red Steel to 32 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay. Delport and Akmal, however, pushed the scoring rate along swiftly after that.
Akmal, whose Man-of-the-Match winning 49 against Guyana Amazon Warriors had set up the chase, opened up with a six and a four off Ashley Nurse in the eighth over. The pair relied as much on turning the strike around as they did on boundaries and soon stretched their partnership to 102 off 76 deliveries.
Both batsmen enjoyed reprieves. Akmal was dropped off Kieron Pollard's bowling for 44 in the 12th over while Delport was given a life on 31 when Ravi Rampaul failed to hold on to a return chance. The pair ensured the opportunities were not wasted. Akmal brought up his first fifty of the tournament off 41 balls with a six over deep midwicket. Delport, who had played a foil to Akmal in the partnership until then then caught up with successive sixes off Robin Peterson before getting to his fifty in the 16th over with a four down the ground.
Pollard, however, brought Tridents back into the game, right after Delport reached the landmark. He dismissed the opener and Akmal off successive deliveries but the rest of the Tridents bowlers failed to maintain the pressure on Red Steel. Rampaul conceded nine runs in extras in a 24-run over that boosted Red Steel's finish and Dwayne Bravo helped things along, slamming 29 off 15 deliveries with four fours and a six, to help the side accumulate 62 off the last five overs.
Tridents brought in USA batsman Steven Taylor for his second game of the season and he, along with Dwayne Smith, powered the side to a rapid start. Together, they took 11, 13 and 17 runs off the first three overs and by the time Taylor was dismissed - for a 10-ball 20 that included three fours and a six - Tridents had moved along to 47 in four overs.
Taylor was followed by another few face in the Tridents side, as batsman Kyle Corbin turned out for his first game of the season. The break in run-scoring allowed Red Steel's bowlers to come back. With Corbin struggling to score boundaries, the onus of helping Tridents keep pace with the required rate fell solely on Smith, who found the boundary on a couple of occasions before his departure for 49, the top-score in an innings in which no other batsman managed more than 21.
Like their semi-final match against Amazon Warriors, it was the Red Steel spinners who kept the pressure on the batsmen. Sulieman Benn got rid off Corbin for 20 and three balls later, Derone Davis had Misbah-ul-Haq caught at cover for 21, to leave Tridents with an equation of 61 to win off 33 deliveries. That proved too much for Tridents even with Pollard and Jason Holder at the crease, and they eventually ended 20 runs short.