Trinbago Knight Riders 136 for 7 (Munro 29, Cooper 29*, Hafeez 2-19) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 135 for 6 (Brathwaite 30, Cooper 2-12, Searles 2-29) by three wickets
In a low-scoring thriller, Trinbago Knight Riders tail wagged furiously, spurred on by the home crowd at Brian Lara Stadium, to prevail in a tense chase by three wickets over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
The Patriots were in the driver’s seat at 90 for 7 and Knight Riders still needed 28 needed off 13 balls but Kevon Cooper ambushed Sheldon Cottrell and Ben Hilfenhaus in a dramatic seven-ball sequence to clinch victory with an over to spare. It’s the Knight Riders franchise’s second CPL title, and the first since they changed their name, following their first title as Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in 2015.
Javon Searles was one of the unsung role playing heroes for Knight Riders during their run to the final. In multiple matches this year, he has neither batted nor bowled. But his TKR team-mates should thank him for coming up big early in the final. Given the new ball, he struck in his first two overs, first getting the big scalp of Patriots captain Chris Gayle for 1 slicing a drive to backward point and then Mohammad Hafeez for 5 floating a drive to mid-off to make it 11 for 2 in four overs.
In Lew of Runs, Narine gets big wicket
The low scores kept coming early and often in a final dominated by bowlers. Sunil Narine was near the top of the list. Though his runs have dried up off his bat, he’s more than compensated by keeping it tight with the ball and bowled a masterful spell of 4-1-8-1 in the final. The crowning achievement of his 24 balls came when he pinned Evin Lewis on the crease for 16. His bowling was so intimidating for a spinner on the night that when he started his last over, the 16th, he began with a silly point under the helmet.
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
Kevon Cooper built on the early inroads made by Searles and Narine. As has been the case throughout this tournament, a wicket fell in the first over after the 10-over drinks break. Cooper took advantage of the batting side’s break in concentration, striking on the first ball to get Brandon King playing across the line. In his next over, he claimed Devon Thomas to put Patriots under heavy pressure at 65 for 5.
Ricky-Nabi shake and bake
If the Patriots had won, their championship DVD might have been called “Tarouba Nights”. TKR struggled to full cement their early advantage mainly due to the heroics of Carlos Brathwaite and Mohammad Nabi, who played crucial knocks late in the innings not for the first time this year to boost Patriots with 56 off the last 24 balls of the innings.
Brathwaite, whose shirt reads “Ricky” on the back, struck two fours and a six between the 17th and 18th overs to take Patriots total past 100. Nabi arrived at the start of the final over, but what an entrance it was as he smashed Dwayne Bravo for two sixes and a four in a 21-run over to give Patriots a fighting chance.
more to follow…
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna