Cricket news - Narine, Pollard take Trinbago Knight Riders into Qualifier

Sunil Narine played a key role in Knight Riders' victory

No wonder Trinbago Knight Riders are the reigning CPL champions. They just know how to win big moments. And it was evident again on Sunday (October 6), when they beat St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots by six wickets in the Eliminator to secure a home qualifier.

This was Knight Riders' first win in seven games. Having started the tournament with four wins, they lost the tied fifth match in the super over, had a rained out match and then lost four games on the bounce, just about managing to sneak into the top four. Their losing rut was also due to a finger injury to Sunil Narine, who returned to action against the Patriots in this match and registered figures of 2 for 10. And his finger hasn't even healed completely.

It helped that the pitch in Guyana was sluggish, partly driven by all the rain in the lead up to the match, compounding Narine's strengths.

Asked to bat, Patriots could only muster 30 for 2 in the powerplay - the two wickets being that of out of form Mohammad Hafeez and Shamarh Brooks. Narine, who had bowled one over in the first six for only one run, struck with Evin Lewis's wicket right after the powerplay, denting Patriots further.

Laurie Evans stuck around, getting away with a few streaky shots to end up with 55 off 47 balls. He put on 51 runs for the fourth wicket with Devon Thomas, who was out leg before to become Narine's second wicket. Narine winced after every ball he bowled but kept building the dots and kept reaping rewards.

Meanwhile, Chris Jordan picked three wickets for 30 runs, and even bowled a tight last over conceding just four to keep Patriots to only 125 for 7 in 20 overs.

Lendl Simmons led the way in the chase with a 47-ball 51 at the top. He set the platform for the Knight Riders to chase the target in 18.4 overs but the journey to the win wasn't so easy, and didn't always look certain. Narine, Colin Munro and Darren Bravo all fell inside the powerplay, the score at the end of which read 31 for 3. Sheldon Cottrell and Alzarri Joseph used their cutters well, picking a wicket apiece.

That's when Denesh Ramdin held one end taut, scoring at a below par strike rate to take the game deep. He was once 7 off 21 balls but finished unbeaten on 32 off 38, seeing his team through. In the 17th over of the chase, he hit a six and a four off Cottrell to ease the pressure. 18 runs came off that over, 11 off the next and Knight Riders were on course. Pollard, who was off the field in the first innings after hurting himself while fielding, finished it with a boundary to go along with his three sixes - two coming off Carlos Brathwaite in the penultimate over - during an unbeaten knock of 26 off only nine balls.

Brief scores: St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots 125/7 in 20 overs (Laurie Evans 55, Chris Jordan 3-30) lost to Trinbago Knight Riders 128/4 in 18.4 overs (Lendl Simmons 51; Alzarri Joseph 1-17) by 6 wickets.