CPL

Pooran's superb unbeaten century propels Knight Riders past Royals

By September 07, 2023
Nicholas Pooran celebrates the milestone. Nicholas Pooran celebrates the milestone. CPL

Trinbago Knight Riders improved their playoff hopes, as they secured a valuable 42-run win over Barbados Royals in the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at Queen’s Park Oval on Wednesday.

After Rovman Powell again won the toss and opted to field first, the Royals bowlers were fairly steady up front, but later found Nicholas Pooran in defiant mode, as the left-hander literally batted them out of the game with a superb unbeaten century.

Pooran’s 53-ball 102, which included 10 sixes and five fours, propelled Knight Riders to a daunting 208-6 from their allotment, before skilled bowling from Waqar Salamkheil (2-18) and Akeal Hosein (2-21), coupled with some poor shot selections from Royals batsmen at times, sealed the deal.

Despite a well-played 45-ball 70 by Kyle Mayers, his best score so far this season, the Royals were restricted to 166. Mayers hammered four sixes and seven fours in his knock.

Scores: Trinbago Knight Riders 208-6 (20 overs); Barbados Royals 166-7 (20 overs)

Sent to bat in front a pack stadium bursting at its seams with a sea of red, the vociferous Knight Riders crowd faced early disappointment when Roelof van der Merwe took a brilliant catch on the boundary ropes to remove Mark Deyal (six) off Mayers bowling.

From 20-1, Pooran and Martin Guptill added 56 for the second wicket, which was inevitably gifted to the Royals, as the New Zealander advanced but failed to get bat on an arm ball from Rahkeem Cornwall and was stumped for 37.

It quickly became 78-3 as a mix-up between Pooran and captain Kieron Pollard resulted in the latter being run out by Mayers.

However, Pooran soldiered on and took the score past the 100-run mark with Lorcan Tucker (eight), before being joined by Andre Russell for an 82-run fifth-wicket partnership.

The two frustrated the Royals bowling with Russell smashing four sixes and two fours in his 22-ball knock, which unfortunately came to an end when he was given out on review for a faint edge.

Pooran eventually pushed past the century milestone, his second in this format, and with it, placed the Knight Riders in the driver’s seat for the two points.

In response, Barbados Royals lost their previous match winner Cornwall (four) cheaply on this occasion, as he went caught by Sunil Narine off Hosein in the third over.

Mayers and Laurie Evans (20) gradually restored the innings, as they added 41 for the second wicket and when the latter fell, it brought captain Powell to the middle.

But Powell’s stay was brief, as he went for nine and Mayers and Alick Athanaze (seven) followed soon after, and from there, the Royals never recovered.

 Jason Holder, who was given a reprieve off a Narine no-ball, failed to capitalise on the second chance and only mustered 19, while Van der Merwe’s quick-fire unbeaten 20 off nine balls, including a massive six and two fours, was not enough.

The win means Trinbago Knight Riders inched up to second on nine points, same as leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors, but the four-time champions have played two games more.

St Lucia Kings (eight points), Barbados Royals (seven points), Jamaica Tallawahs (five points) and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (two points), complete the table.

The battle for the playoff spots will be intensified when action resumes on Saturday. At that time, Patriots will oppose Kings and Knight Riders against Tallawahs, with a contest between Guyana Amazon Warriors women and Trinbago Knight Riders women, smacked in between.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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