Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
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St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 175 for 5 (Rutherford 53, Bravo 47*, Thomas 3-22) beat Barbados Royals 154 for 7 (Hope 44) by 21 runs
Rutherford and Bravo came together at 39 for 4 in the eighth over after Oshane Thomas had delivered a devastating spell of pace bowling to rip through Patriots' top order. Thomas took 3 for 22 from his four overs extracting swing and extra bounce at 140kph to knock over Devon Thomas and Chris Gayle before Asif Ali holed out.
Rutherford and Bravo took some time to get settled on a sporting new-ball surface scoring just 11 runs off the bat in their first four overs at the crease. But Royals' wayward bowling helped their cause no end with Hayden Walsh delivering a wide and a no-ball in consecutive deliveries allowing Rutherford to launch the free hit over the rope to start the charge in the final 10 overs.
Rutherford and Bravo clubbed eight sixes between them with Walsh, Jason Holder, and Thisara Perera copping the brunt of the punishment. Strangely, Ashley Nurse did not bowl in the innings.
Rutherford fell for 53 off 43 balls with just eight deliveries left but Fabian Allen was able to add 19 off seven of them to ensure to Patriots scored 121 runs off the final 10 overs of the innings. Bravo finished 47 not out from 35 balls. Royals delivered 23 extras in total including 16 wides.
Royals' chase never really threatened. Johnson Charles struck three boundaries in the first over but was needlessly run out in the second. He failed to respond to Glenn Phillips' call for two and both men ended up at the same end despite Phillips beating the initial throw comfortably.
Phillips fell in slightly unusual circumstances. Patriots keeper Thomas bobbled a difficult low catch to his right with replays inconclusive as to whether it touched the ground as he rolled over the ball. The third umpire upheld the on-field soft signal of out.
Dominic Drakes then put the brakes on Royals' chase with a superb spell alongside the spin twins of Allen and Fawad Ahmed. Drakes controlled his lengths and his lines with aplomb to strangle Shai Hope, Holder, and Kyle Mayers. The left-armer bowled 16 dot balls and conceded just one boundary finishing with figures of 2 for 13 from four overs. Hope made 44 from 38 and Azam Khan struck some hefty blows in his 28 from 16 but the chase was always out of reach for Royals.