Eight is great for Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR)!
The local franchise easily recorded their eighth straight victory at this year's Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) by humbling the St Kitts/Nevis Patriots by 49 runs at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando, on Wednesday.
SCORES: TKR 174/4 (20) versus St Kitts/Nevis Patriots 115/7 (20) - TKR won by 49 runs. The Patriots are now firmly out of the tournament winning just one of their eight matches.
Even making four changes to the line-up from the last game, the TKR proved too powerful as the Patriots just were no match. Skipper Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Fawad Ahmed, and Jayden Seales sat out to give Amir Jangoo, Pravin Tambe, Anderson Phillip and Sikanda Raza a game and the three-time winners showed their bench strength.
Lendl Simmons led the way with a superb 96 and his second-wicket partnership of 130 with Darren Bravo, who cracked 36, was the cornerstone of the TKR effort in getting 174/4.
Chasing 8.75 runs per over to win the match the Patriots needed Evin Lewis but spinner Khary Pierre took care of him early to set the tone for the failed run chase.
All the TKR bowlers did well but 48-year-old Pravin Tambe caught the eye. The Indian import bowled 4-1-12-1 and created many problems for Joshua Da Silva and Chris Lynn, the only two Patriots batsmen to make an impression. Da Silva made 29 off 27 balls while the Australian Lynn counted 34 off 46 balls. Towards the back end of the game, Zimbabwe spinner Sikandar Raza grabbed three wickets for good measure.
Earlier, TKR decided to rest skipper Pollard and Dwayne Bravo took over the helm. Left-handed batsman Amir Jangoo finally made his debut for the TKR after being with the franchise for three years. He didn't make it count as he fell via the run out the route for six.
The consistent Colin Munro then had to retire, struck on the fingers by Alzarri Joseph. After four overs, the rain came and when play resumed at 11 am it was decided that Munro would not risk further damage so he was replaced by Darren Bravo in the middle.
Simmons looked his best in the tournament thus far and the idea was for Bravo and him to keep the scoreboard ticking while preserving wickets for the big onslaught at the end.
It was a calculated assault that started in over number 12 which leaked 10 runs, the next over 15 runs came, followed by 15 in the 14th. The 15th over of the innings was even more prolific as 17 runs came and 16 runs followed in the 16th. That was a span of five overs in which 73 runs came.
Rayad Emrit pulled it back a bit giving away only four runs in the 17th over and from this point his team held their own towards the end. The last four overs cost only 33 runs and three wickets fell.
Simmons fell four runs short of his second T20 century, getting his 96 off 63 balls with six sixes and seven fours. Bravo played a run-a-ball hand in getting to 36 as TKR held control.
Simmons speaking after the win said: "I've been struggling for the past couple of games. I didn't get the start to the tournament I wanted but the team was winning."
TKR 174/4 (20) (Lendl Simmons 96, Darren Bravo 36; Dominic Drakes 2/35) vs St Kitts/Nevis Patriots 115/7 (20) (Chris Lynn 34, Joshua Da Silva 29; Sikandar Raza 3/16, Pravin Tambe 1/12) - TKR won by 59 runs.
Man of the match: Lendl Simmons.