St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 169 for 8 (Allen 64*, Irfan 3-37) beat Barbados Tridents 168 for 5 (Pooran 44, Chase 38*, Shamsi 2-16) by two wickets
A sparkling half-century by Fabian Allen, in his maiden CPL innings, salvaged a floundering St Kitts and Nevis Patriots chase and took them to victory by two wickets over Barbados Tridents at Warner Park on Tuesday night. Allen made an unbeaten 64 off 34 balls to rescue the Patriots from 92 for 6, including 17 runs off the final over, to pull his team through with two balls to spare.
The win puts Patriots temporarily in first place, though their regular season is now finished. Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors are one point behind, but both have three league fixtures remaining, two of which are against each other.
Shamsi leaves his imprint
Patriots' overseas batsman Tom Cooper had a miserable time at CPL 2018. His six innings yielded just 45, and the team management ran out of patience. When he had to head home for the start of Australia's domestic season, the franchise sought a replacement and picked South Africa left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who was actually filling the void left by Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane. In his first outing, Shamsi, who is coming off back spasms, suffered during the tour of India with the South Africa A team, left his imprint.
Coming on at the end of the Powerplay, Shamsi struck with just his second ball, trapping Dwayne Smith lbw to end a 45-run opening stand. Smith's opening partner Sunny Sohal fell leg before as well in the next over to Mahmudullah's offspin, pinned on the back foot after shuffling across his crease too far to flick. A poor call for a run to backward point resulted Hashim Amla's run out to make it 66 for 3 at the halfway mark. When Shai Hope was out slogging to mid-off, Shamsi, who did him in with flight, reinforced the advantage.
Shamsi didn't concede a single boundary in his spell of 4-0-16-2. He could have had a third wicket when he beat Roston Chase sweeping, just as he had Smith earlier in the night. Umpire Nigel Duguid denied a strong lbw shout, though the ball had pitched in line with leg stump and would have gone on to hit it. On 5 then, Chase proceeded to make the most of the let-off, carving an unbeaten 38 off 28, including partnerships of 48 with Nicholas Pooran, and an unbroken 53 with Jason Holder to take the Tridents to a competitive total.
Mo wickets at the top
Mohammad Irfan continued to cement his status as the standout bowler of the last two weeks of CPL 2018 with another brilliant opening spell. The tall fast bowler from Pakistan struck thrice in the Powerplay to rein in a hot Patriots start in pursuit of 168.
Evin Lewis was beaten for pace in the fourth, offering a simple catch to midwicket while attempting a pull. Irfan struck again two balls later, when he got one to keep a touch low and bowled Rassie van der Dussen. Chris Gayle fell in near identical circumstances to Lewis, in the final ball of the Powerplay by sending a catch to mid-on that reducing Patriots to 52 for 3. Three more wickets had fallen by the 12th over, and Patriots were in disarray, still 77 runs adrift of the target, before Allen saved the day.
Allen's biggest claim to fame in the CPL prior to Tuesday night was a one-handed diving catch at the point boundary in Florida last year, one that earned him the top spot on ESPN Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays.
Allen had not batted in his two other CPL outings previously, but had proven earlier in the summer that he was no slouch, striking an unbeaten 75 for West Indies B against Edmonton Royals in the Global T20 Canada. He rescued the Patriots on this occasion with the bat in stunning fashion. With 49 needed off the last five overs, Allen scored the bulk of the 23 runs Patriots made across the next two overs to bring the equation down to a very manageable 26 off 18.
But Ben Cutting's silly swipe to be bowled by Holder off the second ball of the 18th turned things around. The result was Allen being starved of the strike over the rest of the 18th and 19th, as he didn't face another ball until the start of the final over. But Holder may have possibly miscalculated his bowling options, leaving 20-year-old debutant Dominic Drakes to bowl the final six.
Allen pounced on two full deliveries, driving a pair of straight sixes to start the over, then pulled a flat four just short of the midwicket rope to level the scores, before a scampered leg bye secured victory.