Incredible Pollard wins the un-winnable in CPL
Kieron Pollard of Trinbago Knight Riders hits a six during the Caribbean Premier League match against Barbados Tridents. CPL T20 via Getty Images
A Kieron Pollard heist for the ages Saturday saw the Trinbago Knight Riders rescue a seemingly impossible win against the Barbados Tridents, showing the rest of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 that not only can they win without Sunil Narine, they can do it without DJ Bravo.
Pollard smashed nine sixes in his 72 off 28 balls, and though Khary Pierre still had work to do to finish the job, it was the Knight Riders captain who made the game his own.
Johnson Charles started aggressively, cutting Akeal Hosein and whipping Pierre for four then lofting Hosein for six. But Hosein struck in his second over, Shai Hope caught at slip trying to cut a quicker ball, just before rain briefly held things up.
Charles took another boundary off Hosein, taking the Tridents to 37/1 off the Powerplay. Fawad Ahmed and Pollard kept Kyle Mayers quiet, but Charles swept well off Fawad, paddling for four and lofting for six. At halfway, Charles had 44 of the Tridents’ 59/1.
Pollard gave Tion Webster his first T20 over, and while Webster started well it eventually went for nine. Mayers sent a Seales full toss for six, but Charles then steered another full toss straight to point
Pierre could have dismissed Tridents captain Jason Holder but Webster dropped a low chance at long-off. Mayers finally got hold of Fawad for a pulled four, and after 14 overs the Tridents were 92/2. Hosein though recovered from Sikandar Raza dropping a simple catch off Mayers to bowl Holder as he tried to launch him over midwicket.
Mayers and Corey Anderson scrambled eight off Pollard, but Raza deceived both with drift and turn. Mayers was caught at long-off and Anderson stumped to leave the Tridents on 107/5 in the 17th over.
Ashley Nurse and Rashid Khan responded emphatically. Nurse swept then cut Raza for four to get off the mark, and Rashid smacked Fawad for four then pulled him for a Hero Maximum. Fawad though recovered to dismiss Rashid, Raza taking a diving catch at cover. Nurse brilliantly manoeuvred a Seales yorker over point for six, but then a pull went high rather than long and Seifer held the skier.
Pollard gave himself the 20th, and Mitchell Santner pulled him for a wonderful Hero Maximum. The captain recovered to go for just singles off the rest, but the Tridents had a what looked a good score on the board.
At the start of the Knight Riders chase Webster drilled Santner for four to get off the mark, but Holder’s extra bounce did for both him, splicing a pull to mid-on, and the dangerous Colin Munro, edging a cut to Ashley Nurse at slip. At 6/2, the Knight Riders were in danger of feeding after just two overs.
The Tridents went to the off-spin of Nurse to target the left-handed Darren Bravo, but the right-handed Lendl Simmons got himself on strike and hammered two contrasting Hero Maximums - the first got barely head high, the second almost cleared the stand.
Holder called on Rashid, and the Afghan answered with a wicket-maiden. Bravo survived an LBW shout playing forward but then fell in that manner playing back. The Knight Riders had stumbled to 27/3 off the Powerplay.
Hayden Walsh Jr started nicely, and Raymon Reifer struck with a cutter that Seifert edged to the keeper. Hosein guided a four past third man, but at 48/4, the Knight Riders were well behind the game at halfway.
Santner conceded just two, nearly having Hosein stumped twice. Off the returning Rashid, Simmons barely cleared deep midwicket with a sweep and Hosein was lucky his loft didn’t carry to long-on. But the luck did not last, as Hosein sliced a Walsh Jr googly far enough for Holder to take low at long-off. Thus, when Pollard strode to the middle, his team needed 87 off 39 balls.
The captain served notice of what was to come, launching Walsh into the scoreboard first ball. Holder brought back Rashid, but Pollard attacked him too, hammering a flat Hero Maximum over long-off. Simmons then ran past one to give Hope an easy stumping off Santner. Rashid gave away only four off his last over, and with four overs left the Knight Riders needed 66.
Amid sending Walsh Jr to all parts of the Queen’s Park Oval for four sixes in one game-turning over, Pollard turned down a single, and next over Raza sacrificed himself to ensure he was run out and Pollard regained strike. Reifer started the 18th well, but Pollard somehow managed two fours.
The Knight Riders still needed 31 off 12, but Pollard punished Holder for missing his yorker with two brutal Hero Maximums. Reifer got the nod for the 20th, with 15 to defend, and Pollard again started with a six. Holder appeared to have swung the game back the Tridents’ way, running out Pollard as he desperately sought a second, but Reifer’s length deserted him and Pierre kept his cool, levering a full toss over point for a score-levelling Hero Maximum.
The Tridents were done, and the winning runs came next ball with a slice past third man. The Knight Riders surely cannot afford to be without players of the class of Narine and DJ Bravo for long, but they still had someone capable of winning the un-winnable.
Trinbago Knight Riders 149/8 (Pollard 72, Simmons 32, Pierre 10*; J Holder 2/27, Santner 1/13, Rashid 1/21) beat Barbados Tridents 148/7 (Charles 47, Mayers 42, Nurse 19, Rashid 12; Raza 2/11, Seales 2/21 Hosein 2/30) by 2 wickets