Skipper Carlos Brathwaite played the Hero Caribbean Premier League match of his life to steer the St Kitts Nevis Patriots to a Super Over victory against the previously unbeaten Trinbago Knight Riders at Warner Park in St Kitts on Tuesday night.
Braithwaite first struck a 30-ball 64 as the Patriots, chasing 216 for four, made 216-7. And in the Super Over, he hit pacer Ali Khan for two sixes and a four to set TKR 19 to win before surprisingly taking the ball himself to restrict the visitors to just five runs, sparking wild celebrations well into the night at the stadium.
The victory cemented Patriots’ third spot on the six-team table with six points, while TKR remained in joint first with the Guyana Amazon Warriors, both teams on eight points (8 pts). The Warriors are now the only unbeaten team in the competition and can put some daylight between themselves and TKR heading towards the playoffs if they can maintain that form by beating the Jamaica Tallawahs on Wednesday at Sabina Park, Jamaica.
However, Patriots would not have got into a winning position had all-rounder Rayad Emrit not come good with the bat. Needing 19 runs to win off the last over of their innings, Emrit hit 11 runs, including a four off pacer Jimmy Neesham’s last delivery to level the scores and force the Super Over.
Braithwaite and Evin Lewis then strode to the crease and the former dominated the partnership to set TKR good target. There then seemed to be some cross wires within the Patriots camp as first Alzarri Joseph started limbering up to bowl before Brathwaite took the ball himself. Coach Robin Singh called Joseph to send a signal that he should be bowling the over, but Brathwaite overrode the decision anyway.
Any advantage TKR had seemed negated when they also inexplicably chose to send out Darren Bravo, who was in his first game, alongside skipper Kieron Pollard instead of either Lendl Simmons, who had hit a brilliant 90 in his team's innings, or the usually reliable Colin Munro.
Bravo missed Brathwaite's first ball with a wide swing of his bat and going for a similar shot off the next, got a thick edge and was caught behind by Devon Thomas. Simmons came to the crease but he too could only get one run off the next ball and from the next three deliveries, Pollard could only manage a four.
Earlier, Simmons had continued his fine form by blasting a 45-ball 90, including nine fours and four sixes, as TKR made what they thought was a formidable target.
Simmons brought up his third successive CPL half-century in style, cutting medium pacer Rayad Emrit over the third man boundary for a maximum.
Pacer Sheldon Cottrell finally got the breakthrough for the Patriots in the 12th over. Seeing Simmons charging down at him, Cottrell delivered a bouncer and Simmons could not pull out of his hook shot in time, spooning his effort to Shamarh Brooks at point. But then, however, Simmons had shared in a 90-run stand with Munro and given TKR another platform at 139 for two inside 12 overs.
But the Patriots bowlers did well to keep the TKR scoring down to just 77 runs in the next eight overs.
Lewis then put an early scare within TKR's hearts, belting medium-pacer Neesham for 31 runs in the fourth over and sharing in a 63-run second-wicket partnership with Laurie Evans as the Patriots matched TKR's Powerplay effort. However, with the score on 67 in the sixth over, Anderson Phillip, brought back for a second spell, produced a length ball which Evans placed into the hands of Darren Bravo on the boundary.
In an apparent ploy in his next over, Phillip began bowling wider of the off stump to Lewis. He bowled two wides first up before getting Lewis to sky his second legal ball, a full toss, to Pollard at deep point. Lewis was out for a blistering 45 from 21 balls including three fours and five sixes.
The match was sprung wide open in the next over when Mohammad Hafeez launched spinner Khary Pierre towards the long-on boundary. The ball looked like it had the life to go over the ropes but Pollard brilliantly plucked it out the night sky with one hand and kept his balance on one foot before celebrating in front the Patriots dugout as the home side slumped to 80-4.
On this night, however, Braithwaite had other plans and he shared in an 84-run fifth-wicket partnership with Shamarh Brooks (20) to give Patriots hope. When he was out in the 17th over with the score on 173 for six, TKR felt they had it in the bag only to see late hitting heroics from Fabian Allen (12) and Emrit (21*) pull the two teams level at the end before Brathwaite pulled off hi Super Over heroics.
TRINBAGO KNIGHT RIDERS 216-4 (20) (Lendl Simmons 90, Colin Munro 28, Darren Bravo 24*, Jimmy Neesham 22*, Carlos Brathwaite 2/48) v ST KITTS NEVIS PATRIOTS 216-7 (Carlos Brathwaite 64, Evin Lewis 45, Anderson Phillip 3/38 Ali Khan 2/27)
Result: Patriots won in Super Over.
Man-of-the-Match: Carlos Brathwaite (STKNP)