An upset Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard said on Thursday night that his team deserved to lose against the Barbados Tridents in the semifinal of the Hero CPL T20 tournament at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, San Fernando.
The TKR's dreams of a three-peat of titles imploded after a 12-run loss to the Barbados Tridents in front of a home crowd of an estimated 9,000. The Tridents will now play the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the championship match today from 5 pm at the same venue.
On Thursday, the Tridents arrived at the ground an hour and 15 minutes late due to traffic congestion caused by the heavy rain that affected the northern part of the country from early afternoon into the late evening.
After winning the toss, Pollard asked the visitors to bat first and they tallied 160-5 after being 109-5 after 17 overs before restricting TKR to 148 all out in the final over.
Speaking afterwards, Pollard dismissed suggestions that the delay in the start time may have led to their defeat.
“We're not going to use that as an excuse. At the end of the day, we came out and we got a full 40 overs of cricket and the Tridents were triumphant and we wish them luck in the final," Pollard said.
"Having said that, when you look at our performance throughout the season, I think we deserved to lose this game tonight. You can't turn up in a semifinal and drop catches like that, simple errors, and not execute in a big game like that. It cost us in the end.”
With Sri Lankan Seekuge Prasanna hitting the ball well at one stage and getting to a half-century (51), the home team was well in the game with Pollard at the crease with him. However, a crucial run out led to a collapse and in the end the eventual defeat.
But Pollard made no excuses for the loss or their performances over the course of this season.
“It was crucial when I got run out but going back to how our tournament has been, we don't deserve to be in the final if we're honest with ourselves," a stern Pollard said.
"A lot of us in the dressing room have to go back and look at our individual performances and see if we have done the team justice. It's a matter of going back to the drawing board and seeing where we need to improve as a team and not just thinking you have the best team on paper."
Meanwhile, man-of-the-match Ashley Nurse’s intervention was crucial in both innings, first when blasting an unbeaten 24 from nine balls to propel a stuttering Tridents innings up to 160-6 and then taking two key wickets to help strangle the Knight Riders’ run-chase.
Having been put in to bat, the Tridents looked set to make an under-par total for the majority of their innings until Nurse and Raymon Reifer – who later also played his part with the ball bowling a nerveless final over that included the vital wicket of Prasanna and the match-clinching one of Khary Pierre – plundered an unbroken 48 runs for the seventh wicket from the final 14 balls.
With the Knight Riders ultimately coming up 12 runs short, the final two overs when the Tridents batted were the difference between going into Saturday’s final and going home.
BARBADOS TRIDENTS 160-6 (20) (Johnson Charles 35, Raymon Reifer 24*, Ashley Nurse 24*, Shai Hope 23, Khary Pierre 2/25, Ali Khan 2/36, Chris Jordan 2/40) v TRINBAGO KNIGHT RIDERS 148 all out (19.3) (Seekkuge Prassana 51, Kieron Pollard 23, Denesh Ramdin 21, Ashley Nurse 2/14, Raymon Reifer 2/13, Hayden Walsh Jr 2/33, Harry Gurney 2/31)
Result: BARBADOS TRIDENTS WON BY 12 RUNS
Man-of-the-match: ASHLEY NURSE (BT)