Port of Spain, August 24: Brutal death hitting from Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard saw the Trinbago Knight Riders post the highest score of Caribbean Premier League (CPL 2020, and though Johnson Charles gave the Barbados Tridents a chance, once he fell the spinners took firm control and extended the Knight Riders' unbeaten start to this year's tournament. Knight Riders won by 16 runs.
Choosing to bowl, the Tridents started well - the first boundary didn't come until the third over, and Narine didn't get off the mark until the fifth. Simmons hit the next ball for a six and then clubbed Jason Holder to mid-on. It took Colin Munro to kickstart the innings, taking 18 off Kyle Mayers including a glorious flick over mid-on for six, and the Knight Riders ended the Powerplay at 45/1.
Ashley Nurse put the pressure back on, but Munro counter-attacked against Rashid Khan, clobbering a sweep into the stands. Narine at the other end should have fallen to Nurse on 6 but was dropped by Shai Hope. The drop was not costly however, as Reifer dramatically splattered Narine's stumps to end a stuttering innings.
At the drinks break, the Knight Riders were a subdued 63/2. Munro brought up 50 off just 29 balls, then fell to a fantastic Rashid catch to give Nurse a deserved wicket off the last ball of his spell. But that was as good as it got for the Tridents with the ball.
Rashid lost his line to the left-handed Bravo, going for 12 including a set of five wides. Hayden Walsh Jr started with two full tosses, and while Pollard was almost bowled by the first one, he dismissed the second for a six. Bravo punished Rashid for going too full with a slog-swept six.
Mitchell Santner couldn't contain Bravo, who clubbed 10 off the first two balls of the over, or Pollard, who hit an extraordinary one-handed six over the sightscreen. Pollard repeated the trick to end a Reifer over that started with Bravo hammering a full toss for six, and, suddenly the Knight Riders were 155/3 off 18.
Holder proved expensive in the 19th, with 3 wides punctuating Pollard hammering a six and Bravo essaying a classy lofted drive. In the 20th, Bravo found and then cleared the midwicket fence to take himself to 50, and the Knight Riders to an imposing total. The last four overs went at a bruising 17.25 an over, and the Tridents were left wondering if they'd got their bowling strategies right.
The Tridents had to go hard and Johnson Charles did exactly that, targeting Jayden Seales to the tune of 20 runs to start the chase in overdrive. It was a measure of how concerned Pollard was that he went to DJ Bravo in the Powerplay.
It was a dramatic over - elder brother Darren dropped Charles off the first ball, ensuring the wait for a 500th T20 wicket for DJ went on, and the Tridents opener rubbed it in with two boundaries. Hope was very much the support act, ending the Powerplay at 9 off 11 to Charles' 46 off 25. Remarkably, those 46 came entirely between long leg and midwicket.
But Narine, Ali Khan and Fawad Ahmed slowed scoring significantly, and the pressure told as Charles lost his off-stump to Fawad just after reaching his 50. Corey Anderson's horror start to CPL 2020 continued as he was run out by Seales for 2, and after a promising start the Tridents were falling away.
The elder Bravo pulled off a good low catch to dismiss Mayers off Khary Pierre. Hope picked up a four off Pierre and a massive six off Fawad, but the leg-spinner responded well to limit the damage and send the rate above 12.
Though Carter found the fence with a deft reverse scoop off DJ Bravo, it was not enough, with 14.5 an over needed off the last six, he aimed a swipe at Ali Khan and was bowled. The Tridents had lost all momentum, and Hope's sluggish innings finally ended with a top-edged hoick.
Had Rashid been promoted up the order to help out Holder, who struck the ball beautifully, it may have been a closer-run thing. Seales bowled a nervy last over, but by then it was too late, and the Knight Riders had shown their class to go three wins from three.