Patriots seal playoffs spot with thrilling last-ball win
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 149 for 7 (Brooks 53, Gurney 2-23, Walsh Jr 2-37) beat Barbados Tridents 148 (Shakib 38, Reifer 34, Cottrell 3-27, Brathwaite 3-30, Emrit 2-24) by 1 run
A match that was a slow burn for most of the first 30 overs came alive in the last quarter of play with a series of dramatic twists and turns that ended with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots booking their place in the CPL 2019 playoffs with a one-run last-ball win over Barbados Tridents at Kensington Oval. A first-innings fifty by Shamarh Brooks set up a fighting total of 149 for 7 after Patriots had opted to bat. Tridents' steady reply then went haywire after Patriots captain Carlos Brathwaite sparked a collapse with the key scalp of Shakib Al Hasan.
With 12 to get off the final over and two wickets in hand, Raymon Reifer looked like he would take Tridents across the line after striking an audacious six over extra cover off the first legal ball - the first ball of the over had been a wide - to bring the equation to five off five. But Reifer inexplicably ran himself out coming back for a non-existent two on the next ball. The last-wicket pair of Chemar Holder and Harry Gurney then took it down to two off the final ball to win, or a single to force a Super Over, before Dominic Drakes beat Gurney for pace with a length ball that pegged back off stump.
Brooks' home-ground heroics for Patriots
Two days short of his 31st birthday, Brooks produced a career-best maiden half-century in T20 cricket on his return home to his native island. Brooks came in to bat after Mohammad Hafeez had struggled through four overs to make 6, and fired from early in his knock, with back-to-back fours in the fifth over off Chemar Holder.
He survived a massive lbw appeal from Hayden Walsh Jr on 28 after going deep in his crease missing a flick to midwicket. Brooks then rubbed salt into the wound by smashing the legspinner for four and six in the 14th just a few days after Walsh had taken the season's best figures with 5 for 19 against Trinbago Knight Riders. Walsh eventually got Brooks out bowled slog sweeping off the final ball of his spell in the 16th. Brathwaite then fell at the start of the 17th to an arm ball from Shakib to leave Patriots struggling again at 114 for 6 but a late burst from Fabian Allen and Keron Cottoy gave the visitors life heading into the break.
Shakib's impact with bat and ball
The Bangladesh star had started off the match with a maiden, finished with returns of 1 for 14 in four overs, and was no less a menace with the bat after arriving in the third over of Tridents' chase. Regularly using his feet to the spinners, Shakib played some gloriously elegant drives through extra cover for four and over long-on for six off Hafeez in the fourth over.
He was undeterred when Alex Hales fell to a brilliant catch by Sheldon Cottrell in the eighth over, and continued to steer the innings in tandem with JP Duminy. After 11 overs, Tridents were 83 for 2 and needed just 67 off 54 balls, seemingly well on course for a stress-free conclusion.
Brathwaite's rescue act
The Patriots captain resuscitated his side's chances with a game-changing 12th over that claimed both Shakib and Jonathan Carter. Shakib found Brooks with a miscued drive to long-on off the third ball for 38. Carter then helped the pendulum swing back closer to the Patriots when his misguided attempt to open the face for a single to third man instead produced an edge dragged on to the stumps.
Rayad Emrit, who had taken Hales' wicket, then induced a slap to mid-on by Jason Holder in the 14th over. Cottrell trapped Ashley Nurse with an inswinger in the next over before another ill-fated steer by Duminy resulted in Brathwaite's third wicket, edged behind to Devon Thomas, completing a slide of five for 14 to make it 99 for 7 from 85 for 2.
With 37 needed off three overs, Reifer battled back fiercely, striking sixes in consecutive overs off Brathwaite and Cottrell to keep Tridents in the hunt. Then came his six off Drakes to start the final over to bring the equation down to a run a ball before madness set in. Tridents must now come back on Sunday for a do-or-die clash against St Lucia Zouks. Only one point separates Tridents and Zouks and the winner will claim the final playoff spot in CPL 2019, regardless of the result of Tridents' last league stage match at Queen's Park Oval against Knight Riders.