On a night when Barbados Tridents needed to win by a record-breaking margin in order to make the CPL 2017 playoffs, it was St Kitts & Nevis Patriots who instead created several fresh pages in the CPL record books, in a 10-wicket mauling of the home team at the Kensington Oval. Among the marks set on the night were the fastest fifty of CPL 2017, by Evin Lewis (off 19 balls), and the highest Powerplay score in CPL history (105 for 0 in six overs).
But it may be the one record that wasn't set which ended the game on a sour note. Lewis was on 97 off 31 balls when he took strike at the start of the eighth over with the scores level. Needing a boundary to record the fastest hundred in CPL history and the second fastest in all T20 cricket, he was denied the opportunity to do so. Kieron Pollard reprised the infamous delivery sent down by Suraj Randiv to Virender Sehwag in an ODI between Sri Lanka and India in 2010, bowling a no ball that gave Patriots the winning run.
Patriots displaced Jamaica Tallawahs at second place, ensuring themselves two cracks at making the final. They will now come up against regular season leaders Trinbago Knight Riders in the first qualifier on Tuesday night at the Brian Lara Stadium. Tridents' loss meant Guyana Amazon Warriors booked the final playoff spot, setting up a date on Wednesday night against Tallawahs in the eliminator.
Tri-dented batting order
Barbados had great individual batting highlights during the season - chiefly Dwayne Smith's pair of centuries - but never found consistency through the order. Lack of key contributions did them in again on Sunday. Nicholas Pooran once again failed to convert a strong start, playing over the ball on a pull against Mohammad Hafeez to be bowled for 21. Patriots made it two in two when Dwayne Smith edged Carlos Brathwaite behind for 17 to start the next over.
Like Pooran, high-priced marquee signing Kane Williamson went the entire season without a fifty. On Sunday, he was out for 14, groping a drive off Tabraiz Shamsi to long-on. As bad as Williamson's season was, mid-season signing Eoin Morgan proved even worse, and was bowled by Mohammad Nabi for 2 to make it 76 for 4. It capped a barren four-game stretch for Morgan with Tridents, with a total of nine runs in 17 deliveries.
Only once before had Carlos Brathwaite taken four-for in a T20. On Sunday, he bettered that with his career-best figures, ripping through the Tridents line-up late into their innings. He had Pollard caught on the flick, off the leading edge to short third man in the 16th over. Then, he had Tion Webster, the top-scorer, playing in just his second match of the season, caught at long-on. Ryan Wiggins was caught behind in the 18th as Brathwaite ended with 4 for 15 and Tridents stumbled through the end.
Lewis' half-hour of power
Tridents began the night needing to win by 220 runs to claim the final playoff spot. When the hopeless mission became impossible, the Tridents responded with a lifeless display befitting their position.
Gayle faced the entire first over, striking two boundaries off Wahab Riaz. But he only faced eight balls in the rest of the chase as Lewis took center stage. He slammed his first ball, off Wayne Parnell, over the leg side for six, and hit two more before the over was finished. Thereafter, his strike rate never fell below 200.
He broke Colin Munro and Darren Sammy's jointly held record for fastest fifty of the season - off 23 balls - with a heave over square off the same bowler.
Two fours and a six out of the stadium to end the sixth over made Patriots the first CPL side to score triple-figures in the Powerplay.
The match lasted just six more legal deliveries, with the seventh over, sent down by Damion Jacobs, being clattered for 23 runs. He was on 96 before the last ball of that over, when a diving stop at sweeper cover denied him a boundary but allowed him to keep strike.
The naughty no ball
While Randiv's no-ball seven years ago was a massive overstep that sparked ill-will between Sehwag and Sri Lanka over a century denied, Pollard was slightly less conspicuous in his penalty delivery to Lewis, but was still comfortably beyond the crease when the front foot landed. It was an anticlimactic and unsportsmanlike end to Lewis' whirlwind knock.