Trinbago Knight Riders outclassed the in-form St Lucia Zouks in the Eliminator of CPL 2016 at the Warner Park Stadium in Basseterre, St Kitts on Thursday. The Dwayne Bravo-led Knight Riders came up with a powerful performance against the Zouks and showed why they are the defending champions.
Knight Riders won the toss and asked Zouks to bat first. It was a brave decision by Bravo as the wicket looked good and considering the firepower Zouks had in their lineup, it was indeed a risky call.
As expected, Johnson Charles (41, 43b, 3x4, 1x6) and Andre Fletcher (31, 22b, 3x4, 2x6) got Zouks off to a very good start. Charles, who was looking dangerous, was dismissed by Kevon Cooper.
Shane Watson, Michael Hussey and David Miller also got out in quick succession, leaving the Zouks in all sorts of trouble.
Skipper Darren Sammy (40, 22b, 1x4, 3x6) came to their rescue yet again with a fiery innings towards the end to help the Zouks reach a respectable total of 164 for the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs.
Ronsford Beaton was the pick of the bowlers for the Knight Riders.
After Brendon McCullum's dip in form, he was pushed down the order for the last couple of matches and Umar Akmal was asked to open with Hashim Amla. This move by the Knight Riders paid off in the last couple of games as McCullum looked much better than before.
Akmal (30, 15b, 5x4, 1x6) got them off to a brisk start with a quickfire innings. The intentions from all the batsmen were clear, apart from McCullum, that they are not going to hold themselves back.
McCullum (49 n.o., 41b, 5x4, 1x6) played the role of the anchor and held the innings together. The former New Zealand captain remained unbeaten till the end and made sure that his side went over the line. He was also adjudged the man of the match for his match-winning performance.
Sunil Narine (22*, 14b, 1x4, 2x6) struck a few meaty blows towards the end and finished things off in style with nine balls to spare and five wickets in hand.
Knight Riders will now face Jamaica Tallawahs in their next playoff game in order to fight for a place in the CPL 2016 final.