Sunil Narine. Is he a bowler? A batsman? Or an all-rounder?
Narine proved that he is all of them! It’s not an exaggeration to say that in these parts, he is referred to as the ‘Sobers of the T20 era’.
A bowling spell that pinned back the Tallawahs and a superb 53 – were Narine’s contributions in what proved to be a second consecutive victory for the Trinbago Knight Riders.
TKR always start strongly and yesterday was no exception.
Jamaican opener Chadwick Bolton was the first to depart.
He underestimated American fast bowler Ali Khan’s pace and was too slow to the ball, thus top-edging it to a grateful Fawad Ahmed.
Jayden Seales was inspired by Ali Khan and bowled equally well to ensure that the flow of wickets continued.
Seales’ delivery that caught Nicholas Kirton plumb in front with a wonderful in-swinger was probably the ball of the match.
Sunil Narine and Fawad Ahmed came in next and allowed Jamaica no respite.
But Ali Khan was not done yet.
He came roaring back to dismiss Captain Rovman Powell who holed out to Dwayne Bravo at long on, leaving the Tallawahs tottering at 19-3 in the 3rd over.
Only Glenn Phillips struck a defiant note with a sensible 58.
But when his well-hit leg side stroke went straight to Bravo, with Seales the bowler, Jamaica was in deep trouble at 99 for 6.
When darkness looms, fireworks can provide a flash of light!
It was usual suspect Andre Russell who provided the fireworks with an explosive 25 at less than a run-a-ball but it was too less, too late.
The final score was something that wouldn’t have troubled TKR – 135!
The Sunil Narine factor
Lendl Simmons is an enigma. His talent is not in question but he is prone to inconsistency and rash strokes.
Yesterday was a day when we probably didn’t see the best of Simmons.
He looked out of touch and fell to Fidel Edwards who started with a wicket maiden.
But Narine had other ideas. Undeterred by the early dismissal, he was in imperious form as he blasted his second consecutive fifty.
Narine was aggression personified with 7 fours and 2 sixes, and a strike rate of 139.
He was ably aided by Colin Munro who chipped in with an unbeaten 49.
Finally Narine mistimed a sweep and the top edge off Sandeep Lamichhane flew to Carlos Brathwaite who snagged it. But even Brathwaite knew by then that was well and truly over, which is why he hardly celebrated.
Pollard and Munro were unseparated till the end
Trinbago was well-prepared
The Tallawahs spinners were supposed to have the X factor.
They represented a certain mystery and had a lot riding on them.
But the TKR had a ready game plan to counter them.
The first strategy was to upset their rhythm. The second was to attack them mentally so that they mess up their line and length.
Both objectives were accomplished beautifully when Munro took guard outside the off-stump, off Mujeeb Ur Rehman. And Narine launched into classy off-drives off Lamichhane, but off the back foot!
This onslaught ensured that the spinners had no clue what hit them!
Trinbago Knight Riders 136 for 3 (Narine 53, Munro 49*, Mujeeb 1-13) beat Jamaica Tallawahs135 for 8 (Phillips 58, Seales 2-21, Ali Khan 2-25) by seven wickets
Cover image credit: CPL T20