Barbados Tridents skipper Jason Holder's men put more tears in Trinbago Knight Riders fans' eyes at the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain on Wednesday night, after cruising to a seven-wicket win over the home side in their latest Hero Caribbean Professional League matchup.
In an brilliant all-round performance, Tridents bowlers Harry Gurney (2/14), Shakib Al Hasan (2/24) and Hayden Walsh Jr (2/34) first stifled the TKR batting to just 138-8, before opener Johnson Charles stroked a 47-ball 55 as the Bajan got home with two balls to spare.
The result created yet another upheaval on the six-team round-robin table as the Tridents leapfrogged TKR into joint second place with the St Kitts Nevis Patriots, both teams on 10 points. With the loss, their fourth in the last five matches, the now stuttering TKR (9 pts) dropped to fourth place and must now win their last game against unbeaten leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors (16 pts) on Friday if they want to clinch second spot to earn themselves two chances of making the final via the eliminator playoff matches.
However, judging from Wednesday's result, skipper Kieron Pollard's team have a lot to do to steady the TKR ship ahead of that match, which they must now win if are to rejuvenate their run for a hat-trick of CPL titles.
On Wednesday night, however, it was all about the Tridents' supremacy over the TKR, whom they beat twice in a single season for the first time in the history of the tournament.
Charles ensured this by holding the top half of the batting together as he hit five fours and two sixes in his innings. He was finally yorked by TKR medium-pacer Chris Jordan off the fifth ball of the 16th over with Tridents at 110-3, but by that time the home side could not prevent a second consecutive loss at the Oval.
Charles and opening partner Alex Hales had merely continued the Tridents dominance, silencing the home fans as they raced to a 54-run opening partnership before Mark Deyal finally got the breakthrough. Deyal eventually got Hales to try an expansive extra cover drive which he could not keep down as Javon Searles took the catch at cover.
South African JP Duminy had the honour of hitting the winning two runs off Pollard in the final over.
Earlier, Simmons' half-century was the only highlight of the TKR innings as the home side struggled to get runs on a two-paced pitch as the visitors also made things tough with tight bowling and good fielding in between.
Shakib Al-Hasan signalled their intention by string in the very first over after Jimmy Neesham, elevated to open the batting, went for a big drive off only the second ball he saw from the left-arm orthodox spinner and skied the delivery high into the air where Al-Hasan himself took the catch as TKR fell behind early at 4-1.
Colin Munro joined Simmons and they shared in a 52-run partnership before US-based leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr struck a vital blow. Munro was just beginning to hit his stride when Walsh delivered a googly which Munro played tentatively forward to and got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Johnson Charles. Munro made 23 and the TKR were now 56-2.
Bravo and Simmons negotiated them to 65-2 at the 10-over break but the impetus they were hoping for on the restart never materialised. Bravo (6), after getting a life the over before, chopped Walsh's flipper onto his middle stump going for a cut as TKR slumped to 74-3 in the 11 over. And after three tight overs in between this, Simmons, whose 50 came off 37 balls and included three fours and three sixes, was bowled between his legs by Al Hasan as he went for a slog sweep and missed as TKR slid to 104-4 after 15 overs.
It got no better either, as the Tridents continued to apply the pressure thanks to Gurney. He got the big wicket of TKR skipper Kieron Pollard, caught at long-on for 20 as he tried to pump the medium-pacer out the Oval off the first ball of the 18th over. Walsh then ran out Javon Scantlebury-Searles with a direct throw from point after he was called through for a suicide single by Denesh Ramdin.
However, TKR's night was summed up in the penultimate over when Mark Deyal flicked medium-pacer Raymon Reifer towards the deep midwicket boundary and Duminy ran in, misjudged the ball and could only parry it as it passed by him. However, teammate Jonathan Carter, who was also chasing after the ball, was on spot to catch the rebound just before it hit the turf.
TRINBAGO KNIGHT RIDERS 134-8 (20) (Lendl Simmons 60, Colin Munro 23, Kieron Pollard 20, Harry Gurney 2/24, Shakib Al Hasan 2/25, Hayden Walsh 2/34) v BARBADOS TRIDENTS 135-3 (19.4) (Johnson Charles 55, Alex Hales 33, JP Duminy 18*, Mark Deyal 1/17, Jimmy Neesham 1/26)
Result: BARBADOS TRIDENTS WON BY 7 WICKETS
Man-of-the-match: Harry Gurney (Barbados Tridents)