The Trinbago Knights are into Thursday's title-match of the Hero CPL for the third time in four years, after they whipped the Jamaica Tallawahs by nine wickets at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando on Tuesday.
The difference in the quality of both teams is as great as the difference between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and it showed on the day. a paltry embarrassing 107/7 was all the Tallawahs could have mustered on a pitch that although on the slow side held no demons. A batting blueprint was never produced they fell like a pack of cards.
Akeal Hosein laid the platform for TKR’s 11th straight win when he snatched three wickets for 14 runs with his left-arm spin to restrict Tallawahs to a meagre 107 off their 20 overs.
The unbeaten TKR after 11 matches, made no fuss in getting the runs as they reached the target in just 15 overs with one wicket down.
Lendl Simmons who started the series slowly continues his rise as he struck a masterful 54 not out off 44 balls with two sixes and four fours. After the early fall of Sunil Narine, fellow Parkite Tion Webster came in and continued to advertise his wares as he remained unbeaten on 44 off 43 balls with one six and six fours.
Pollard won the toss and with the pitch being an unknown (used for the first time season) he decided to bowl first. "Let's see how it plays," he said. His decision was vindicated after just four balls as Akeal Hosein sent back inform batsman Jermaine Blackwood. Spin twin Khary Pierre then grabbed the dangerous Glenn Phillips in the next over and it went downhill from there.
The biggest blow to the Tallawahs, however, came from umpire Nigel Duguid who gave the batting superstar Andre Russell out. Russell danced down the track and Sunil Narine cleverly adjusted by dragging the length back fractionally on the middle stump. He pushed forward and the ball ballooned off the top of the pad flap to Bravo at slip. Replays show the ball clearly hit the pad with no bat or glove involved. Nkrummah Bonner batted around the mess and scored a fine 41 as if to suggest what all the fuss was about. He faced 42 balls and struck five fours. Skipper Rovman Powell notched a controlled 33 off 35 balls.
Hosein was the star with the ball taking 3/14 off his four overs, while Pierre had 2/29.
Pollard speaking at the end of the game said: "Getting this far now, there's still a big picture which is on Thursday. We have to keep it level, enjoy our victory as we've been doing all tournament but still come back Thursday and play a better game than we did today."
Pollard said that taking pace off the ball worked fine against the Tallawahs.
"When you look at their lineup, it's all batsmen who like the ball coming onto the bat. The pitches here in the Caribbean these days give natural variations and they have to manufacture shots. Hence the reason why you saw 16 overs of spin bowling today."
He was very happy with the performance of man of the match Akeal Hosein. "Sometimes you need to just sit back and watch these guys. Akeal has been around a very long time. It's good to see these guys using their talent and coming onto the international scene and showing the world what they can do. Coming into this tournament, he didn't start the tournament and he was dejected, but knowing full well what his role was going to be. He has come in and taken his opportunity and continues every game to improve. We haven't seen the other side of him. I think he's a better batsman than a bowler."
SCORES: Jamaica Tallawahs 107/7 (20)(Nkrummah Bonner 41, Rovman Powell 35, Akeal Hosein 3/14, Khary Pierre 2/29) vs 111/1 (15)(Lendl Simmons 54no, Tion Webster 44no) - TKR won by 9 wkts.
Man of the match: Akeal Hosein.