Trinbago Knight Riders 267 for 2 (Munro 96*, Simmons 86, Pollard 45*) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 226 for 5 (Phillips 62, Hasnain 2-51) by 41 runs
There was plenty of sympathy for the bowlers at Sabina Park on Friday, as the tenth match of CPL 2019 witnessed the highest team total in T20 franchise cricket being scored - the third highest overall - and the second-highest match aggregate in all T20 cricket recorded. By the end of the carnage, Trinbago Knight Riders' 267 for 2 was 41 runs too many for Jamaica Tallawahs, who put up a brave fight but fell short. The result meant Knight Riders made it four wins in a row, while Tallawahs suffered their fourth straight defeat.
Better fielding, however, might have helped the bowlers a bit. A total of 12 catches went down in the 40 overs of play, with Knight Riders benefitting much more than Tallawahs. Colin Munro struck a 50-ball 96 and Lendl Simmons hit a 42-ball 86 not out for Knight Riders, adding 124 for the second wicket, and they both cashed in on the multiple lapses on the part of the Tallawahs fielders.
Glenn Phillips gave the Jamaican home crowd some hope when he blazed to a 32-ball 62 at the top, but Mohammad Hasnain's double-wicket burst and an injury to Rovman Powell put paid to that. While Tallawahs continued finding the boundaries - they equalled Knight Riders' tally of 17 sixes - they had much fewer fours, but entertained the crowd till the final ball.
Simmons, Munro cash in on error-prone Tallawahs
All it took was two balls for Simmons to make his intentions clear. The way he rose to pull Derval Green showed the pitch offered next to nothing for the pacers. Then, three balls later, when Green bowled so short that the ball flew over the wicketkeeper, the tone of the day - a Tallawahs performance peppered with errors - was set.
Jerome Taylor shared the new ball, and he started off with a front-foot no-ball. In all, he bowled four no-balls (that's four free-hits, too) and three wides on the night. That first no-ball was punished by Simmons, and as the Powerplay progressed, Knight Riders found a minimum of one boundary every over. The first double-boundary over was the third, when Sunil Narine - at that point on zero off seven balls - struck ten off three balls to bump his strike rate up to 100.
Simmons, like Narine, was living dangerously, unafraid to go the see-ball-hit-ball way. That led to him edging an attempted loft to wicketkeeper Phillips, but he failed to hold on. Three balls later, Simmons mistimed a slog straight into midwicket's hands. He slapped his pads with the bat in disgust, but looked up to find the umpire call another front-foot no-ball for Taylor.
At 55 for no loss after five overs, spin was introduced in the form of Zahir Khan. The let-arm wristspinner from Afghanistan struck immediately, trapping Narine lbw for an 18-ball 20. But in walked Munro, the highest run-scorer of CPL 2018, and he took Zahir on from the first ball.
Munro, playing his first match of the season, approached Zahir with a stance that exposed leg (and part of middle) stump to negate the spinner's googly, and found success cutting the 20-year old through the covers and following it up with a reverse sweep over point. Simmons and Munro then creamed Zahir for a further 11 next over.
Simmons entered the 40s in the tenth over by opening his stance and pulling Ramaa Lewis over deep midwicket. Next ball, he drilled a flat shot to Taylor at long-on, but the fielder dropped it after running in. That ball was struck hard, but there were no excuses when Simmons was reprieved three balls later after slicing a full delivery. Deep cover ran in, but he fluffed another chance, and that error ended the halfway stage of the first innings. The score at that stage read 98 for 1.
Knight Riders smash CPL records
Powell - who had a quiet first spell - was welcomed into his second spell by two boundaries that took Knight Riders past hundred. Simmons then cut Oshane Thomas to bring up his half-century in 32 balls to close a quiet 12th over. But then began the carnage. Munro smashed Powell for two sixes next over and Simmons added another to gather 23 off the 13th. They did the same to Zahir in the 14th to take 22 off it. Those two overs lifted Munro past his fifty, the partnership past hundred and Knight Riders past 150. The 15th began with Simmons smashing Thomas for three fours and a six. The last of those fours was off a no-ball, so Simmons, on 86, shaped up to maximise the free-hit.
But what followed was straight out of a Chaplin classic. Simmons mistimed the free-hit in the air, and straight into deep midwicket's hands. The fielder, Javelle Glen, began celebrating, forgetting that it was a free hit. Simmons spotted it and asked Munro to scamper across for a third run, but by then Glen had realised what was going on, and drilled in a throw that saw Simmons well short of the crease. There was also reasonable doubt whether Thomas had removed the bails cleanly with his hands, but Simmons was eventually declared run-out, one of only three ways - stumpings and hit-wicket are the other two - where a wicket is allowed off a free-hit.
In walked No. 4 Kieron Pollard, and he clobbered them to all parts too. While Munro hammered Green for two sixes in the 17th over, Pollard helped Knight Riders smash 30 runs off Taylor's final over, including a maximum off a front-foot no-ball. Taylor's four-over spell went for 55, and Thomas followed suit by conceding 21 off his final over to finish his wicketless spell for 63 runs.
Knight Riders finished on 267 for 2, only 11 short of the highest-ever T20 total. But the innings of 21 fours, 17 sixes, seven no-balls, and 12 wides had set a record for the highest total in franchise cricket, beating Royal Challengers Bangalore's 263 for 5. Munro was unbeaten on 96 off just50 balls, while Pollard made a 17-ball 45. In all, Knight Riders scored 171 runs in the final ten overs. Tallawahs didn't help by dropping seven chances off Simmons, Munro and Pollard.
Phillips gives Sabina Park hope
Tallawahs had few options but to attack. Chris Gayle and Phillips got going, and Hasnain, the Pakistan fast bowler, leaked 20 in the second over as Phillips struck two fours and two sixes. Gayle backed that up with two sixes off Narine to complete the Powerplay. Phillips then smashed Jimmy Neesham for a six and a four in a 17-run over to lift Tallawahs to 84 for no loss after seven overs.
Phillips rode on some luck of his own to reach his fifty in 22 balls in the ninth over. While he was around, Tallawahs could still believe, especially since his innings thus far had included being dropped twice on 37 and given not-out - on 29 - despite edging one to the keeper. He tore into Khary Pierre for a 17-run over but then fell to a cutter from Pollard in the 12th over, holing out in the deep for 62.
An eight-ball spell that turned the momentum
Searching for a way to get the breakthrough, Knight Riders captain Pollard turned to Hasnain again, and the captain's trust paid off as Hasnain hit Gayle's stumps with a quick delivery that crashed through the batsman's leg-side swipe. Chadwick Walton followed Gayle to the dugout four balls later after a short ball from Hasnain cramped the No. 3 for space, eventually splicing a catch to the keeper. That double-wicket over was followed by No. 4 Powell retiring with a side strain. Powell's departure, only two balls after Walton's dismissal, meant Tallawahs lost three big-hitters in the space of eight deliveries.
The required run-rate had crept past 22 by the end of the 15th over courtesy a tidy spell from Neesham and Narine. But the latter couldn't finish his night well as Lewis and Glen struck three sixes and a four to take 23 off his final over. Ali Khan and Hasnain, though, bore the brunt of the pair's big shots, as the two added 63 in 28 balls, but it was too little too late as Knight Riders won the match with plenty in the bag.