Barbados Tridents 153 for 9 (Holder 38, Emrit 2-16, Cottrell 2-16) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 147 for 9 (Da Silva 41*, Santner 2-18, Khan 2-27) by six runs

It wasn't pretty, but defending CPL champions the Barbados Tridents got the job done against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, opening up their title defence with a six-run win at Brian Lara Academy despite the Patriots being in front for the majority of the game.

Sheldon Cottrell made a double-strike in the second over as the Tridents lost three wickets in six balls to be 8 for 3. When Mitchell Santner was ninth out they still had 23 more balls to survive, but Rashid Khan and Hayden Walsh Jr deftly scrambled 25 runs to give the Tridents a battling chance in the field.

The legspin pair then made their mark in the field during a momentum shifting 18th over. Khan took the ball with the Patriots needing 31 from 18 but took two wickets in two balls, the first of which was enabled by a spectacular diving catch at deep midwicket from Walsh Jr. When Khan's spell was done, the Patriots needed 28 from 12 with debutant Joshua Da Silva tiring on 37 off 36 balls. Sohail Tanvir struck two boundaries in vain, failing to capitalize on a series of full tosses during the final over from Kyle Mayers, including a chest high no-ball that produced just one off the illegal delivery and another single off the free hit.

Soldiering on

Cottrell produced a superb opening over to give the Patriots the upper hand after winning the toss and electing to field. After mixing up his lengths to Johnson Charles, he went full to beat a flat-footed swipe across the line and sent off stump cartwheeling back. He shook up Corey Anderson first ball with a bouncer into the side of the helmet, then removed him next delivery with a tame poke to point.

Captain Jason Holder justified sending himself in at No. 5 by dominating Ish Sodhi. He clocked the legspinner for a series of sixes during his innings of 38 off 22 balls, top-scoring for the Tridents while adding 61 in tandem with Mayers to rebuild the innings.

Legspinners or allrounders?

Khan and Walsh Jr proved their worth at bat and in the field on the night. Coming in at No. 10, Khan paid homage to MS Dhoni with a new-age helicopter flick over square leg for six first ball on his way to an unbeaten 26 off 20 balls. Walsh Jr.'s 4 not out off 10 balls wasn't glamorous, but was handy in the context to stretch the innings out all 20 overs.

Santner made the initial breakthrough with the ball for the Tridents, inducing a skied cut from an ominous Chris Lynn to Walsh Jr. at backward point in the fifth over. Khan then produced an alert bit of fielding in the seventh off his third delivery. Da Silva smashed a drive back into the non-striker's stumps, but the shot only managed to dislodge one bail. Evin Lewis drifted too far out with Khan scooping to knock off the remaining bail for a sharp run out.

Vital change of ball

Still, the Patriots were in control at the halfway point with Ben Dunk settled in, needing 81 from 60 balls and eight wickets in hand. Santner dislodged the dangerous Dunk with a miscued slog to long-on in the 13th over and the Tridents also caught a break when the umpires changed the ball in the 15th over due to excessive dew.

The dry grip from the replacement aided Khan on his return for his fourth and final over. Denesh Ramdin tried to slog sweep the second ball over deep midwicket, but Walsh Jr ran 20 yards right before flying through the air for an athletic take. Da Silva's failure to cross with the ball in the air exposed Jahmar Hamilton to a Khan googly.

From there it was the Tridents' game to lose. Raymon Reifer conceded just eight in the penultimate over setting up the final over to be bowled by Mayers. Despite a series of full tosses while misfiring attempted yorkers, including the no-ball, Mayers escaped unscathed. Just five runs off the first four legal balls left the Patriots needing 15 off two, making a six off the penultimate ball cosmetic to the final margin.