Four wins in their first four matches have been followed by three losses and a washout and now, the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) find themselves in a position where they need to win one of their final two matches to ensure they finish second in the round-robin stage of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League to get two chances at reaching the finals of the tournament.
A crowd of 15,000 showed up at the Queen's Park Oval on a Monday night to lend support to the home franchise but left a disappointed lot as their team was defeated by a marauding Guyana Amazon Warriors by 19 runs. The Warriors have ensured they will finish atop the standings with eight wins on the trot and are now on 16 points.
On Wednesday at 7 pm, the TKR will entertain the Barbados Tridents hoping to get the better of them in an attempt to reach 11 points and finish in the second position. If they can't then they will have to run across to Guyana on Friday and look to get a win in their final preliminary round match to ensure they finish second and meet Guyana in the first playoff on Sunday.
On Monday night, they came up short with Keemo Paul’s 19th over in which only singles came from the last five balls easing the Warriors’ fraying nerves before Tahir bowled Kieron Pollard for a sensational 71 from 38 balls with three balls to go and 21 still needed to at last finish the contest. The final winning margin of 19 runs also highlighted the significance of Romario Shepherd’s late cameo with the bat in the Warriors’ innings – he smashed 32no from 13, with two sixes and a four to finish it off as 25 came from Chris Jordan’s closing over.
Having muscled their way to 185/6 despite a troubling mid-innings wobble, the Warriors then strangled the Knight Riders top order through their battery of spinners.
Chris Green once again led the way, bowling his four overs off the reel at the top of the innings, removing the dangerous Colin Munro and Lendl Simmons, and returning figures of 2/18.
Imran Tahir did for Mark Deyal and Shoaib Malik had Denesh Ramdin caught in the deep off a slog-sweep to leave TKR reeling at 53/4.
Not even Pollard could rescue the Knight Riders from there, although he gave it a real crack. He shared a swashbuckling 125-run stand with Bravo, who himself cleared the ropes six times in a 46-ball 58 not out, but the required rate continued to climb throughout the partnership. Even when 57 runs were plundered in four overs from the 15th to the 18th. Paul’s nerveless 19th over was ultimately key and across the 40 overs, the Warriors were deserving winners.
Looking back at the Guyana game Pollard said: "I thought in the back end of the innings we gave 15-20 runs too much. Although conditions were damp for bowlers, it was the same for both teams. A little more precision in our execution could have got us chasing a lower total."
Looking ahead at Wednesday's game Pollard said: "We have to look at our overall cricket and do some introspection. We have to look at our attitude on the field. The entire tournament the fielding has been atrocious. The catching has been piss poor and we are falling into a trap of dropping a couple of crucial catches, Shepherd and Hemraj got simple chances. We need to bat in partnerships and we need to bowl well. So in all aspects we need to improve as a team."
TKR: Kieron Pollard (capt), Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Chris Jordan, Khary Pierre, Jimmy Neesham, Seekkuge Prasanna, Amir Jangoo, Anderson Phillip, Mark Deyal, Tion Webster, Javon Searles, Akeal Hosein, Ali Khan.
Tridents: Alex Hales, Jason Holder (capt), Asif Ali, Sandeep Lamichhane, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Chemar K Holder, Leniko Boucher, Roshon Primus, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Joshua Bishop, Hayden Walsh.
TKR VS TRIDENTS HEAD TO HEAD
2013 - Tridents won by four wickets.
2014 - TKR by 7 wkts.
2014 - Tridents won by 69 runs.
2015 - Tridents won by 8 wkts.
2015 - TKR won by 72 runs.
2015 - TKR won by 5 wkts.
2016 - TKR won by 11 runs.
2016 - TKR won by 7 wkts.
2017 - TKR won by 2 wkts.
2017 - Tridents won by 16 runs.
2018 - TKR won by 4 wkts.
2018 - TKR won by 9 runs.
2019 - Tridents won by 63 runs.