Savage Pollard stuns Tridents to keep TKR unbeaten

first_imgPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Captain Kieron Pollard belted an astonishing half-century as Trinbago Knight Riders pulled off an exhilarating run chase to stun reigning champions Barbados Tridents by two wickets in a last-over thriller here yesterday. Entering the contest in the 13th over with unbeaten TKR floundering on 62 for five in pursuit of 149 for victory, Pollard smashed 72 off just 28 balls to haul his side back into contention at Queen’s Park Oval.He counted two fours and nine giant sixes in a jaw-dropping display of power-hitting to single-handedly take the game away from Tridents, as TKR gathered 70 runs from the last five overs of the innings.When Pollard was run out off the second ball of the final over, TKR still needed a further eight runs but the nerveless Khary Pierre (10 not out) sliced the fourth delivery – a high full toss from left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer – over point for six before thrashing the next ball to the backward point boundary for four to spark celebrations in the hosts camp. The victory extended TKR’s winning streak to six on the trot and put them on 12 points at the top of the six-team standings, all but securing a spot in the semi-finals.In contrast, the defeat for the Tridents was their fourth in six outings and even though they still remain third on four points, they face the possibility of missing out on the final four if their form in remaining matches fails to improve.Sent in, Tridents rallied to 148 for seven off their 20 overs, thanks mainly to opener Johnson Charles’s top score of 47 off 37 balls and the in-form Kyle Mayers’s 42 also off 37 deliveries. Zimbabwean off-spinner Sikandar Raza snatched two for 10 from his only over while fast bowler Jayden Seales (2-21) and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (2-30) chipped in with two wickets apiece.Shai Hope’s wretched form, which has yielded a dreadful 63 runs from six innings, continued when he edged a cut at Hosein off the keeper’s gloves into Lendl Simmons’s hands at first slip to depart for four, after posting 34 with Charles.The innings was then energised by Charles and Mayers who added 51 for the second wicket, as Tridents reached 59 without further loss at the half-way stage. Charles struck four fours and a couple of sixes before steering a Seales full toss to Simmons at point in the 12th over while the left-handed Mayers counted three fours and a six before finding long off with Raza in the 17th over.Ashley Nurse struck a nine-ball 19 towards the end to help Tridents gather 51 from the last five overs.Faced with a hardly imposing required run rate of just under 7-½ per over, TKR found themselves in early trouble thanks to a double strike from fast bowler Holder (2-27) in the second over, and plunged to 36 for four in the eighth. Opener Simmons, whose 32 came from 29 balls and included three sixes, put on 26 with Hosein (12) for the fifth wicket in an attempt to revive the innings but when both fell within the space of 11 balls, TKR were still in deep trouble at 77 for six in the 15th over.Pollard smashed the first ball he faced over mid-wicket for six off leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr and cleared the long off ropes with leg-spinner Rashid Khan in the next over, to reinforce his intentions.Even so, TKR were 79 for six at the end of the 15th over, still requiring 70 from 30 balls, and the pressure increased when Rashid Khan conceded only four runs from the 16th over.Now faced with an asking rate of 16-½ per over, Pollard finally pulled the trigger, smashing 25 runs from the 17th over bowled by Walsh, with four of the last five balls of the over disappearing for sixes. He lost Raza (3) to the first ball of the 18th but leg-side boundaries from the last two balls of the over, took Pollard to his fifty off 22 deliveries and kept TKR in the game.Two back-to-back straight sixes by Pollard in the penultimate over from Holder which leaked 16 runs, left TKR with 15 runs needed from the last over but after blasting Reifer’s first ball over long on for six, the right-hander was run out at the striker’s end attempting a second run.With the result in the balance, Reifer twice missed his lengths and was punished by Pierre.last_img

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