Trinbago Knight Riders maintained their fearsome unbeaten run in the CPL, riding powerful Kieron Pollard performances with bat and ball to a 23-run victory over the St. Lucia Zouks, after making 175 for 5. This game meant almost nothing to the Knight Riders – their place atop the table already guaranteed – but a ninth straight win was yet another iteration of their dominance.

Zouks, who are third on the table with 10 points, have already made it to the semi-finals also, but a loss of this magnitude has dented their chances of finishing second, ahead of Guyana Amazon Warriors who are on 12 points. Zouks have one more match – against Jamaica Tallawahs. If they win that by a big margin, there is still a chance they could finish second, on net run-rate.

Pollard’s batting barrage

Pollard did not score a run from the first four balls he faced, but it didn’t take long before he began looking like the batsman who had plundered 33* off 16 balls and 72 off 28 balls in his last two games. His first boundary was a top-edged four to third man, but next ball, when he made room and launched Daren Sammy over cover for six, you knew you were in for some finishing fireworks. He hit two more sixes – another back-away-and-smoke-it-over-cover shot off Kesrick Williams, before sending Scott Kuggeleijn over the deep midwicket boundary. He hit three fours (including that top-edged one) besides in his 21-ball 42.

Pollard strikes through the middle overs

As with the bat, Pollard’s start with the ball was inauspicious – he was banged over cow corner for six by Andre Fletcher, first ball. Two balls later, though, Pollard had made amends – his off cutter to Mark Deyal prompting the batsman to hole out at wide long-on, as two fielders collided but one of them – Jayden Seales – held on. In the 14th over of Zouks’ innings, Pollard took an even bigger wicket. Fletcher had blasted him over long-on off the first ball of that over, but Pollard had him mis-hit one down the ground off his fourth delivery, to claim his 50th CPL wicket. He even escorted Fletcher halfway off the field, as part of his celebration.

Pollard would also dismiss Mohammad Nabi, off this last delivery, to finish with figures of 3 for 35. Nabi was also caught mis-hitting a cutter.

Zouks leave it too late

Zouks did have a good partnership in their innings, as Fletcher and Deyal put on 59 for the second wicket. But although Zouks were 84 for 1 at one stage, they had allowed the required run rate to climb to 11 by the end of the 11th over, and had no middle-order firepower to satisfy this requirement. Fletcher’s 42 off 27 was the best of Zouks’ innings. Deyal made 40 off 33. No one else crossed 20.

Bravo brothers shine again

Not for the first time in this tournament, Darren and Dwayne Bravo each played vital hands in a Knight Riders victory. Darren’s 50 off 42 balls provided the backbone to the innings, and was the only half-century of the game. Dwayne’s 2 for 26 with the ball then helped keep the Zouks’ innings in check.

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