The small islands in the Caribbean are always on the lookout for hurricanes around this time of the year and the St Kitts Nevis Patriots will be aware that one is headed their way in the form of the Trinbago Knight Riders.
There will be no threat to life and limb but there may be one to the infrastructure at the ageing Warner Park, where they will battle with the Patriots in their fifth match of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League on Tuesday night.
The glass windows at the venue will be under serious threat and the fans might even consider wearing helmets in the stands because the balls are expected to blow fiercely in their direction. If Friday night is anything to judge from, the TKR batsmen will be brutal when they make landfall.
Jamaica felt the wrath of the TKR batsmen’s power as they scored the highest ever total in the history of T20 franchise cricket, 267-2, at Sabina Park. Jamaica tried to make a fight of it but ended on 226-5 in their 20 overs.
New Zealander Colin Munro flew in from the East where he was playing for his national team and hammered the Tallawahs bowling in compiling 96 not out in the TKR’s record total.
Prior to him, however, the warning of the TKR’s intent was signalled by Lendl Simmons, who ripped apart the bowling with the aid of opening partner Sunil Narine. The two had the Jamaican fans ducking and running as they put on 55 from five overs. Narine left for 20 and Simmons then joined forces with Munro and that was that.
Simmons smashed 86 and Kieron Pollard 45 not out as fours and sixes flew all around the ground and the Tallawahs paid a heavy price for an error-strewn display full of dropped catches and no balls.
The Tallawahs tried to boss the run chase. The big-hitting pair of Chris Gayle and Glenn Phillips exploded from the blocks. There was no other way for the Tallawahs to go. But their progress was checked in the eighth over by a double strike from Mohammad Hasnain, who bowled Gayle for 39 from 24 balls and then had Chadwick Walton caught behind from a top-edged pull.
Things got tougher when Rovman Powell had to retire hurt with what appeared to be an abdominal injury after smashing his second ball over midwicket for six. He had been in discomfort while bowling in the first innings and didn’t return to the middle. With Andre Russell also sidelined after being hit on the head against the St Lucia Zouks the night before, the sight of Powell in such obvious pain will be a worry for the Tallawahs with three more home games to come over the next week.
Phillips went through to his 50 from just 22 balls, having been dropped twice when on 37, but his luck ran out on 62 as he miscued Pollard to deep midwicket where Munro made no mistake.
Earlier, no-balls and dropped catches cost the Tallawahs dearly, with the tone set in the Powerplay when Simmons was caught at mid-on off a no-ball. The Knight Riders racked up 65-1 in those six overs and only accelerated from there.
Simmons was also dropped in the deep twice in the 10th over as the Tallawahs out-cricket was ragged. He ended up falling in the most farcical manner. He was caught in the deep off a free hit after yet another no-ball, Derval Green celebrating the catch before realising it was a free hit and arrowing a throw into the bowler’s end to run Simmons out as he attempted a third run. He made 86 from 42 in all, with eight fours and five sixes.
But Munro was still here and he continued to plunder the bowling by striking Green for back-to-back sixes as a hundred started to look a real possibility. But it was Taylor’s final over – the 18th of the innings – that ensured the record books would be rewritten again.
Munro’s 96 came off 50 balls with eight sixes and six fours.