Barbados Tridents overcome Seekkuge Prasanna assault to make final
The Sri Lankan smashed a 22-ball fifty, but it wasn't enough to take defending champions Knight Riders home in a chase of 161
Barbados Tridents 160 for 6 (Charles 35, Reifer 24*, Nurse 24*, Pierre 2-25) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 148 (Prasanna 51, Nurse 2-14) by 12 runs
The last time Barbados Tridents made the CPL final, in 2015, Kieron Pollard was their captain. Four years later, Tridents, led by Jason Holder, toppled Pollard's Trinbago Knight Riders in front of a raucous Trinidad crowd to set up a final clash with Guyana Amazon Warriors, who have won 11 of their 11 games in CPL 2019 so far.
A torrential downpour had delayed the arrival of Tridents' team bus, a floodlight tower experienced power failure, JP Duminy was forced to retire hurt in the first innings, but Tridents overcame the odds to end Knight Riders' hopes of a three-peat.
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After helping Tridents loot 43 off their last two overs to finish with 160 for 6, Ashley Nurse took 2 for 14 with the ball to send Knight Riders' chase spiraling out of control. When Pollard was run out for 23 off 16 balls, the crowd fell silent and Tridents' owners were celebrating. Knight Riders' Sri Lankan recruit Seekkuge Prasanna, however, threatened a jailbreak with 22-ball half-century and dragged the chase to the last over.
Knight Riders needed 14 off the final over and Prasanna was on a boundary-hitting spree, having launched slower-ball specialist Harry Gurney out of the ground. Left-arm seam-bowling allrounder Raymon Reifer, who had earlier hit an unbeaten 24 off 18 balls, pinned Prasanna in front with a dipping yorker to seal Knight Riders' fate.
Javon Searles drew an outside edge from Johnson Charles with the second ball of the match, but wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin dropped it. Searles then had the opener skying a loft in his second over, but neither Lendl Simmons nor Chris Jordan attempted the catch in the infield and reprieved him again. Charles then managed a mere eight runs off 15 balls from Sunil Narine and Khary Pierre before searching for a release against Ali Khan. Charles ventured another lofted hit, but the USA seamer hit a hard length and had him splicing a catch to mid-off.
Oh hello, Ashley Nurse!
Before this game, Nurse had last bowled on September 22 in Tridents' first home match of the season. He hadn't quite fired with the bat either until Thursday. While other higher-profile names like Alex Hales and Shakib Al Hasan fell cheaply, Nurse punched 24 off nine balls at a strike-rate of 266.66.
When Nurse entered to bat, Tridents were 112 for 6 in the 18th over and their coach Phil Simmons confirmed that Duminy would not return to bat because of a "hamstring twinge".
Nurse was up against the Barbados-born Jordan, who had conjured a double-wicket over earlier in the evening. But the onset of dew meant Jordan couldn't grip the ball and dished out a beamer that was smoked for a six over the bowler's head. Jordan then attempted a slower ball later in the over, but Nurse manufactured pace for himself and slugged it over midwicket for another six.
He cracked another six in the last over of the innings, bowled by Ali Khan, to push Tridents to a competitive total along with Reifer.
Narine kickstarted Knight Riders' chase with four fours off the first over, bowled by Shakib, but was tricked by Gurney's slower cutter in the third. Lendl Simmons, the second-highest run-getter this season, had a rare failure, chipping a similar slower ball from Jason Holder to mid-on. USA's legspin-bowling sensation Hayden Walsh Jr. and Nurse then carved up the middle order, leaving Knight Riders at 81 for 5 in the 12th over.
Pollard briefly gave his side hope by muscling Walsh Jr. for a brace of sixes down the ground, but a mix-up with Prasanna four overs later resulted in his dismissal. At this point, Knight Riders still needed 41 off 25 balls. Prasanna then went cray-cray, as did the Knight Riders fans. Guney was dumped onto the roof, and the ball bounced out of the Brian Lara Stadium. Walsh Jr. wasn't spared either as Prasanna took him for back-to-back sixes. However, Reifer had the final say, ensuring we will have a new champion this season.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo