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Trinbago Knight Riders 130 for 6 (McCullum 66, Irfan 2-24) beat Barbados Tridents 128 for 8 (Hope 42, Fawad 2-13, Bravo 2-23, Pierre 2-29) by four wickets
Trinbago Knight Riders joined Jamaica Tallawahs at the top of the table on eight points after a dominant display in a four-wicket win over Barbados Tridents. The final margin painted the Tridents in a flattering light, but they were out of the game by the second over when left-arm spinner Khary Pierre singlehandedly wrecked the Tridents top order with two wickets and a run-out off his own bowling in the space of four balls.
From 3 for 3, Tridents scratched their way to 128 for 8, a total that was easily overhauled by a brisk half-century from Brendon McCullum. Trinbago needed five runs to win off the last 25 balls when Denesh Ramdin and McCullum fell on consecutive deliveries, a minor pair of blemishes in what was a comprehensive team performance.
Oui, Oui Khary!
Tridents' night was virtually over not long after it began, after Pierre struck three times in the space of four balls in the second over of the match. Dwayne Smith was yorked by a quicker, fuller ball from Pierre. Shamar Springer, who took the place of an out of form Martin Guptill in the XI, did little to justify his inclusion ahead of the Tridents $160,000 man after he scampered down the track in search of a non-existent run to short midwicket as Pierre fielded off his own bowling and fired back to Ramdin with Springer four yards short.
The biggest blow by Pierre was struck two balls later to round off the sequence. Steven Smith, who only arrived in the closing overs in Tridents previous match and faced three balls, had plenty of time to get his eye in but lasted one ball fewer than he had 24 hours earlier against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. Steven's charge down the track went awry, fanning on a flick as Ramdin stumped the Aussie with ease for a second-ball duck to leave the Tridents three down just 10 balls into the match.
Nick of Time
Typically best utilized as a finisher, Nicholas Pooran joined Shai Hope at the crease in the second over and did his best to spare the Tridents from total humiliation. Counterattacking from ball one, he drove the first delivery he faced from Pierre through the covers for four to spark a 70-run partnership.
Three boundaries off consecutive deliveries by Hope off Javon Searles in the sixth over stabilized the Tridents further and they ended the Powerplay on 46 for 3 before Pooran unloaded on Pierre again in the seventh over, striking him clean through the line over long-on for a colossal six. Pooran took Dwayne Bravo over the ropes for six more to start the ninth, but Bravo got his revenge to end the stand three balls later, fooling Pooran with a slower ball full toss that dipped late to clean up his Trini compatriot.
Fawad it's worth
Australian legspinner Fawad Ahmed removed Hope off the first ball of the 13th over with a luscious googly to clip the top of off. It was the start of a double-wicket over that may have intensified scrutiny over the Tridents bold selection calls for this match.
The decision to drop Guptill for Springer had already returned zero dividends and Tion Webster's call-up into the XI over Roston Chase was almost as fruitless. Entering at No. 7, Webster lasted just four balls before he sauntered down the pitch and fanned on a regulation legbreak from Fawad to be stumped for 1. At 92 for 6 after 13 overs, a few late swats from Jason Holder in his 30 off 33 balls managed to lift Tridents past 100 but nowhere near a defendable total.
For the second night in a row, Mohammad Irfan's sensational opening spell was wasted on his teammates. Irfan snagged the opening pair of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine inside the first five overs to leave the Knight Riders at 30 for 2, but McCullum entered at No. 4 and ensured that was the last genuine sniff the Tridents had at victory.
McCullum cracked eight fours and three sixes in a typically aggressive knock. More than half the runs in TKR's chase were scored in his 66-run fifth-wicket stand with Ramdin. With 36 to get off the last seven overs, McCullum scorched Wahab Riaz for three consecutive boundaries in the 14th over to bring up his fifty off 32 balls. He reached 66 before trying to end the match by slogging Steven Smith's legspin over the midwicket rope, but a swirling top edge was taken by a backpedalling Smith. Two balls later, Bravo punched a drive through the covers for the winning runs.