Trinbago Knight Riders 115 for 3 (Seifert 39*) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 112 for 7 (Pierre 3-18) by 7 wickets
In another bareknuckle, knock-down, drag-out grind on a difficult batting wicket at Queen's Park Oval, the de facto tournament hosts outlasted the Amazon Warriors as Trinbago Knight Riders made it five for five with a seven-wicket win on Thursday night. The five-time tournament runners-up Amazon Warriors continued their batting woes after being sent in, losing three wickets in the first 16 balls as Sikandar Raza and player-of-the-match Khary Pierre repeatedly hit the stumps to expose some loose techniques.
Facing a modest target, the Knight Riders completed their fourth successful chase with a measured approach after an early scare from Imran Tahir. Darren Bravo survived a hat-trick ball from the leggie and went on to finish unbeaten on 26 off 28 balls, taking a measured approach to secure the two points that create further separation between the Knight Riders and the rest of the CPL field.
King turning into pauper
Last year's leading run-scorer at the CPL, Brandon King parlayed his 496 runs into debuts in the West Indies ODI and T20I squads. Based on his current form, he looks unlikely to be in either squad when limited-overs international cricket resumes for them. The opener continued his dreadful form in Trinidad by falling for 6 at the end of the second over, failing to adequately cover his stumps when prodding forward to defend against Raza as the ball spun past the edge to graze off stump. King now has just 46 runs in six innings in CPL 2020 and has yet to make it out of the Powerplay.
Oui oui Pierre
King's wicket opened the floodgates for Pierre to burrow even deeper into the Amazon Warriors' batting order. One ball later, Pierre began the third by ripping one from over the wicket that beat Chandrapaul Hemraj through the gate playing back in defence. Pierre then made it three wickets in five balls for the Knight Riders bowling unit when he drew Nicholas Pooran forward with a lovely flighted ball that ripped past an attempted drive and crashed into leg stump to make it 12 for 3 after just 16 balls.
Shining Knights in the field
Tim Seifert then got in on the act with a bit of brilliance, charging from behind the stumps. With Kieron Pollard bowling medium pace to Ross Taylor, the New Zealand batsman tried to dab a tight single to short third man, but Seifert anticipated the shot and sprinted forward to deny a single. Shimron Hetmyer wanted no part of a run after seeing Seifert spring into gear, and as Taylor turned back to try to make his ground, the wicketkeeper scooped and fired from close range to rattle the stumps making it 44 for 4 in the eighth.
Tion Webster then tried to one-up Seifert a short time later in the 13th. Pierre induced a slog from Rutherford targeting the cow-corner rope, but Webster tracked back and caught it before flicking in the air as he was falling over the rope. He had enough energy under the ball to keep it airborne before re-establishing himself back in the field of play to complete the catch. Efforts like Webster's may now be standard fare in T20 cricket, but both he and Seifert showed no mercy in pulling off sensational efforts with a high degree of difficulty to keep the Amazon Warriors deflated as they struggled to get past the 100 mark once again.
Tahir nearly pulls a magic trick out of the bag
Mystery spin has been the name of the game throughout CPL 2020 and Imran Tahir was the last line of defence on the night for the Amazon Warriors. He nearly turned the match on its head in the sixth over of the chase. Just when it looked like there may be a rare wicketless Powerplay, Tahir came up with a googly-legbreak one-two punch to temporarily leave the Knight Riders top order stunned on the ropes.
Lendl Simmons fell to the former delivery. After Simmons had cracked him for six in his previous over, Tahir tossed up a similar delivery to entice the batsman into another slog, but this time it spun in to beat the shot and hit the stumps. Colin Munro arrived at No. 3 but was out first ball as Tahir floated up another full delivery to encourage a big shot, only for it to turn in and beat Munro through the gate.
At 34 for 2, and with low targets proving tricky to chase at times in this tournament, Tahir looked like he had dragged Amazon Warriors back into the game. But the decision to leave out the most economical bowler in the tournament at the toss, left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd, may be one that captain Chris Green regretted.
Green ended with 1 for 15 in his four overs after having Webster caught at long-on, but he turned to the medium-pace-heavy bowling attack the rest of the way and they were unable to dislodge Bravo or Seifert, who calmly added 63 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand to end the match with 10 balls to spare.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna