Trinbago Knight Riders 170 for 7 (Munro 90, Ramdin 39, Tanvir 3-27, Shepherd 3-29) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 103 (Primus 36*, Ali Khan 3-22, Fawad 2-20)
Trinbago Knight Riders erased the bad memories of some early season woes at Queen's Park Oval as they stormed back to the top of the CPL table in an emphatic fashion with a 67-run win over Guyana Amazon Warriors. The hosts staked a claim to be favourites for repeating as CPL champions behind another Colin Munro half-century, the fourth time he passed 50 in six career innings against Amazon Warriors.
Munching for runs
New Zealand's Munro is on the verge of obliterating the single-season scoring record for the CPL, ending Wednesday night just 23 away from surpassing the mark of 458 set last year by Chadwick Walton. Munro cracked his fifth fifty in eight innings in the season, this one the biggest of the lot as part of a 135-run second-wicket partnership with Denesh Ramdin.
After the early loss of Chris Lynn, Munro plundered 10 fours and four sixes in his knock. Imran Tahir has been Amazon Warriors' talisman with the ball, entering the night second on the CPL wickets table with 13 but was smoked into the third tier over long-on by Munro. It set the tone for a night in which the South African legspinner went wicketless for the first time this season.
Munro reached 50 in 39 balls, then kicked his innings into high gear in the 14th over against Rayad Emrit. The Warriors captain was hammered for 19 in the over, including a four slashed over short third man and then a six flicked 25 yards over the square-leg rope. Unlike Tahir, going wicketless has been a regular occurrence for Emrit this season. The 37-year old ended with 0 for 40 in three overs, his fourth straight match without a wicket, and was in a foul mood in the post-match handshake line.
Munro had plenty of time to reach what would have been his second CPL century, but got out just 10 short, skying a catch to long-on in the 17th over. Ramdin had fallen four balls earlier as well to spark a late comeback effort in the field by the visitors.
Not the Brazilian
Making his CPL and T20 debut, 23-year-old Romario Shepherd was the man who eventually claimed Munro. The Guyanese medium-pacer didn't stop there though. Two balls after removing Munro, he dragged one wide of the crease forcing Brendon McCullum into an awkward reach, resulting in a loopy drive taken by a diving Shimron Hetmyer running in from the cover boundary.
Shepherd continued a fine effort in the 19th over, getting Darren Bravo to drag a full delivery onto his stumps to further dent Knight Riders' efforts at a late surge and ended with 3 for 29. Sohail Tanvir followed up his first-over wicket of Lynn by rounding off the Knight Riders innings with two more on the last two balls, of Javon Searles and Sunil Narine. Considering the record-breaking chase by Jamaica Tallawahs on the same ground in the first week of the season, 170 seemed to be well below par at the halfway point but it wound up being plenty.
After modest returns with the ball recently - a total of three wickets in his last four games - USA's Ali Khan stepped up in the battle for first place to wreck the Warriors chase early. Four balls into the chase, Luke Ronchi was beaten for pace attempting to flick and was given lbw, although replays showed the ball appeared to be missing leg stump.
Khary Pierre removed Walton flicking across the line in the third over before Ali Khan struck a much bigger blow in the fourth. Hetmyer failed to get the elevation trying to whip a length ball off his legs only to pick out Munro on the deep-square-leg boundary.
When Narine induced a leading edge for a return catch off Cameron Delport in the sixth, Knight Riders were well on top at 33 for 4. Unlike the record chase by Tallawahs spearheaded by Andre Russell's century when they had been four down in the Powerplay against Knight Riders, there would be no comeback from the Warriors. Dwayne Bravo and Fawad Ahmed claimed two wickets each before Ali Khan came back for the final wicket, Tahir caught at cover in the 18th over to clinch victory.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna