Cooper assault takes Knight Riders to second CPL title

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on Cooper assault takes Knight Riders to second CPL title
Sep
10

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


Javon Searles had Chris Gayle caught with his first ball © Getty Images

In a low-scoring thriller, the 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 with their opponents at 90 for 7 and Knight Riders still needed 28 off 13 balls when 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.

Searles strikes

Javon Searles was one of the unsung heroes for Knight Riders during their run to the final. In multiple matches this year, he has neither batted nor bowled. But his 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 the runs off his bat have dried up, he more than compensated by bowling 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 he started his last over 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 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”. Knight Riders struggled to fully cement their early advantage courtesy heroics from Carlos Brathwaite and Mohammad Nabi. Both played crucial knocks late in the innings – and not for the first time this year – to boost Patriots with 56 runs 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 and 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.

Military discipline

Sheldon Cottrell’s miserly start put the hosts under immense pressure at the start with two wickets in three balls taking the new ball. He claimed Narine with a skied chance over the wicket for a return catch. When Dwayne Bravo decided to promote himself to No. 3, Cottrell greeted him with an almighty salute, sending him off for a first-ball duck after a full delivery beat Bravo for pace.

Munro on the money

Brendon McCullum may have left a gaping hole in his absence during the playoffs, but Colin Munro did his best to plug it. Munro unselfishly moved up to open the batting in the last two games and on this night provided a valuable 29, which wound up as the joint top-score in the chase.

Momentum see-sawed back to Knight Riders – after Cottrell’s early wickets – thanks to Munro’s refusal to back down. With the score 29 for 2 after five, Munro tucked into Nabi’s offspin, smashing him for two sixes over midwicket and a third straight down the ground all in the space of five balls as Knight Riders’ title prospects looked much rosier by the end of the Powerplay at 48 for 2. Munro ended the season as the Knight Riders leading scorer with 366 runs, none more important than what he delivered on this night.

How bout that Canadian, eh?

While more heralded colleagues such as the Bravo brothers came and went cheaply – Darren followed Dwayne’s duck by falling for 1 playing back to Mohammad Hafeez – Hamza Tariq provided an assured 18 that was vital in the final’s context. Other than Munro’s three sixes off Nabi in the sixth, the only boundary struck by Knight Riders in the first ten overs came from Tariq. The rest of his knock comprised mainly of shuffles to the back foot to shovel to the leg side. Nothing glamorous, but it did the job.

Flying the Coop

Knight Riders lost three more wickets in the first five overs after drinks, culminating in Tabraiz Shamsi’s dismissal of Searles for 2 to make it 90 for 7. Depending on your video-game cartoon of choice, Shamsi looked like he celebrated by doing a Sub-Zero freeze from Mortal Kombat and Patriots appeared to have thrown ice on the Knight Riders chase.

But Cooper provided the initial thaw, before his hot bat totally melted the Patriots bowling away. It began in earnest when he smashed Cottrell for six over extra cover to end the 18th, bringing the equation down to 22 off 12. After a single from Ramdin put him back on strike, Hilfenhaus bowled two costly wides outside off. Nabi turned a four into two with a diving stop at midwicket off the next ball, but there was no saving the following delivery: a full toss smashed over cover that was signaled as a no-ball to boot.

A slash over backward-point off the free hit brought another four and Cooper made it three boundary balls in a row when he smoked Hilfenhaus again over the leg side. Two singles later, a hard-fought victory was theirs.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna

Comments are closed.

Unlock Any iPhones including iPhone 6S Plus,6S,6,5S,5C 5 4s 4 3gs 3g 2g

Permanent unlock any iphone with any IOS very Fast and Cheap Visit HERE
Share |

eXTReMe Tracker