Mystery spinner Sunil Narine was the man to shine for the Trinbago Knight Riders yesterday as they defeated the St Kitts/Nevis Patriots by six wickets to move into the semifinals of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament.
The off-spinner had been out injured for a while as cartilage damage to the spinning finger on his right hand had prevented him from taking his place on the team.
Yesterday, however, they needed him and he went out there like a true warrior to take two wickets for 10 runs off his four overs to restrict the Patriots to 125-7 in their 20 overs. TKR then found it tough to get the runs but reached home at 128-4 with eight balls to spare.
The victory took TKR to the second qualifier, where they will meet the Barbados Tridents, who lost yesterday’s first qualifier to the Guyana Amazon Warriors by 30 runs, at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba from 7 pm on Thursday. (See page A38)
Speaking after the game, Narine said: “Bowling was a little painful but I must give thanks to God for giving me the courage and motivation. We have a great support staff that has been treating me for the last week and a half, so I must give thanks to them as well.”
He added, “I think the pitch helped the spinners a bit so it helped me in a way so that I didn’t have to put too much pressure on the finger that was giving me problems. I think it was a total team effort. We needed this one.
“We get to play at home now so that’s even more comfortable and we have the fans backing us. I’m leaving it up to the medical staff and the man above to give me the strength and courage to hopefully play one more and if we win, to the finals.”
TKR captain Kieron Pollard, meanwhile, said his side’s attempt at chasing 126 was not the right way to do it. Coming off a string of four losses in the round-robin phase, however, he said he was happy to get over the mark.
“We’ve been striving for this victory for the last two and a half weeks. We thought bowling first and restricting them to 125 should have been an easy walk but they made it difficult,” Pollard said.
“I just want to thank the Guyana crowd for cheering me on. If I’m honest, that was exactly how not to chase 126 runs. Just too many dot balls. If a bowler is hitting a length, you have got to try moving around the crease and throw him off his length. You have to try something and do it differently.
“Having said that, there were experienced batters out there. There are things we need to work on as West Indian batsmen in terms of rotating the strike a lot more and it is something that has kept us back. In this game, people around the Caribbean can see what we need to work on.”