Trinbago Knight Riders 152 for 7 (Pollard 47, Neesham 33, Cottrell 3-13, Emrit 3-39) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 153 (Lewis 36, Neesham 3-18, Hasnain 3-36) by 11 runs
No Bravo brothers (injured). No Colin Munro (international duty). No Ali Khan (injured). No problem for defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders. New Zealand allrounder James Neesham, teenaged Pakistan tearaway Mohammad Hasnain and new captain Kieron Pollard all sparkled on their TKR debuts to overcome dew and St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the CPL 2019 opener at the Queen's Park Oval.
Pollard isn't too far away from playing his 500th T20, but he had never turned out for his home franchise in Trinidad before Thursday. He made it a memorable occasion, smashing a boundary-laden 47 off 32 balls, to haul TKR past 150.
Patriots went through the Powerplay unscathed, but they lost 4 for 6 in a collapse that was set in motion by spin on a dew-slicked pitch. Fabian Allen and Usama Mir created some late excitement with a barrage of sixes, but Neesham and Hasnain closed the game out for the hosts.
Cottrell found enough seam movement with the new ball and removed TKR opener Sunil Narine and No. 3 Tion Webster in successive overs, kicking off the league with his trademark salutes. When Lendl Simmons was bowled by a fit-again Alzarri Joseph, TKR were 20 for 3 in four overs. Then, it was time for the home side to #UnleashtheNeesh.
Neesham glanced his first ball away for four and then hit two more fours, off Joseph in the last over of the Powerplay, to steady a flailing innings. Neesham was handed two lives - on 19 and 31 - and he took advantage of it along with Denesh Ramdin, who was more sedate at the other end. The highlight of Neesham's innings was a shovelled six over midwicket off Carlos Brathwaite.
Neesham wasn't done yet. He snapped a 47-run opening stand in the chase and then ended it two wickets off the last over. He also plucked three catches in a Man-of-the-Match performance.
The Pollard bash
Patriots had held back Pakistani legspinner Usama Mir for Pollard, but the TKR captain smartly saw him off and tore up medium-pacers Rayad Emrit and Brathwaite. Pollard nailed three sixes - all over his favourite long-on region - to give the innings the finishing kick along with Javon Searles.
Patriots fall in a heap
Evin Lewis and T20 debutant Kjorn Ottley, who hails from Trinidad, didn't over-hit the ball in the early exchanges and instead looked to protect their wickets. However, from 47 for 0 and later 70 for 1, Patriots were reduced to 76 for 5.
Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, the Player of the Match of the 2018 CPL final, bowled constricting lines and found turn to dismiss the dangerous Lewis and wicketkeeper-batsman Devon Thomas in successive overs. Sri Lanka legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna, meanwhile, got rid of Jason Mohammed for a duck before Allen took him to the cleaners with four sixes in the 16th over. At this point Patriots needed 42 off 24 balls and, although Mir cracked two sixes of his own, there would be no way past Hasnain and Neesham.