Skipper Keiron Pollard 72 played one of the greatest innings in the history of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to give his team an amazing come from behind victory against defending champions the Barbados Tridents in their clash at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain on Saturday.
SCORES: Tridents 148/7 (20) versus TKR 149/8 (19.5). TKR won by two wickets.
Chasing 149 runs to win TKR looked dead and buried midway through their run chase as big Keiron Pollard strode to the crease with their score at 62/5 off 12.4 overs. What was witnessed after that was one of the greatest innings in the history of the tournament, as Pollard hammered the Tridents bowling to not only all parts of the Oval but also Port-of-Spain because balls went flying clean out the grounds and are probably still going.
All of a sudden the pitch which was looking difficult to bat on was a belter and Pollard was hitting balls at ease. He took the bowling by the scruff of the neck and made every bowler look ordinary. There was a period during his 72-run blast where he struck six sixes and two fours in the space of 14 balls. His final 72 came off 28 balls with nine sixes and two fours.
The Tridents were well in the game with 31 runs required off two overs but Pollard slammed 16 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Tridents skipper Jason Holder to leave 15 required off the final over. Before that the 33-year-old right-hand batting all-rounder, at one stage blasted six sixes and two fours in the space of 14 balls. He took 24 runs off the 17th over bowled by Hayden Walsh Jr, the tournament’s 2019 Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The task was left to Raymond Reifer and Pollard slammed the first ball of the over for six. He was then run out coming back for two runs off the next ball. The equation was down to eight runs off four balls when Jayden Seales walked in to join Khary Pierre. Seales got a single and the next ball Pierre played an uppercut over backward point for six. And with just one run needed off two balls, he sliced a four down to third to rush off to his incoming teammates who swarmed the field in celebration.
With the win, the TKR now has six victories and are into the semi-finals of the tournament.
Earlier, the Tridents enjoyed a much better pitch than we have seen here at the Queen’s Park Oval this tournament to rally up to 148/7. Johnson Charles who got 47 and the consistent Kyle Mayers 42 had battled well against the TKR bowling line-up missing Dwayne Bravo and Ali Khan (rested), and Sunil Narine slight finger injury.
With the day off on Friday, the ground staff worked feverishly on the pitch doing a lot of cross rolling which improved the density of the track and led to less traction, hence the ball turned less. There was also a lot of rolling with the heavy roller which led to more compaction and hence the ball came much better unto the bat, which made strokeplay a lot easier.
Johnson Charles was quick out the blocks and gave them a good start scoring 47 off 34 balls two sixes and four fours. The consistent Kyle Mayers was again pleasant to watch as he recorded 42 off 37 balls which included one six and three fours. Mayers has been the Tridents best batsman and earlier on in the tournament recorded a fine 85 against the Jamaica Tallawahs.
Akeal Hosein playing in his first game took 2/30, while pacer Jayden Seales continued to impress taking 2/21.
Pollard speaking after the win said: “I thought we left it too late but I knew we had a couple of overs to make up.” The West Indies captain said it was all about keeping his head in the right position and adopting a strong base. “Kept that head position and a strong base. Targetted the Hayden Walsh over and that’s where the momentum turned for us. We lost early wickets and were four down so it was a matter of consolidating. We had a plan, and sometimes we leave it too late, but all things being equal, we can get the sixes.”
Asked whether this is his best-ever T20 innings he said: “ It’s up there. Today my striking ability came into play.”
Holder although losing the match admired Pollard’s display: “It was a really good knock, we must give him credit. Took the game away from us at the very end. We had to keep wickets in hand, we did it in the last game as well. It’s really important to have a set batter at the end. The seamers are easier to hit at the back end. We did really well to get to 148, probably didn’t execute well with the ball, but credit to Pollard. We tried to get him out early but he played out Rashid. And he didn’t miss anything.”
SCORES: Barbados Tridents 148/7 (20) (Johnson Charles 47, Kyle Mayers 42, Jayden Seales 2/21, Akeal Hosein 2/30) vs TKR 149/8 (19.5) (Keiron Pollard 72, Lendl Simmons 32, Jason Holder 2/27) - TKR won by 2 wkts.