Knight Riders thrash Stars in opening fixture

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A fantastic bowling performance by the Trinbago Knight Riders set up a convincing nine wicket victory over St Lucia Stars in the opening match of the 2017 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at the Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia. 

After winning the toss and electing to field first the Knight Riders restricted the Stars to 132 for 9 before chasing the runs in 10.4 overs for the loss of the just one wicket.

The St Lucia innings was given a good start by Andre Fletcher who cut Khary Pierre for three consecutive fours in the second over, but the opening partnership was broken in that same over when Fletcher’s partner Johnson Charles was caught at backward point looking to hit a fourth boundary off the left arm spinner.

Neither Kamran Akmal—run out for 5 by a direct hit from Sunil Narine, or Marlon Samuels—caught on the off side boundary for 13, could inject the St Lucia Stars innings with impetus. After seven overs they were 56 for 3.

Things only got worse for St Lucia from there as the Knight Riders squeezed them in the middle overs with the spin of Sunil Narine and Shadab Khan and the variations of Dwayne Bravo.

On Hero CPL debut the 18-year old Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab took 2 for 15 in an assured performance. Shadab dismissed Fletcher—who got bogged down—for 27, and Jesse Ryder—who struggled to get going—for 18. When Dwayne Bravo bowled Rakheem Cornwall with a magical slower ball, the Stars hopes of making a competitive total went with him.

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Although some powerful late hitting from Kyle Mayers and Jerome Taylor lifted the Stars to 132 for 9, only one score lower than that had ever been defended in the Hero CPL.

The Stars were given hope that they could pull off an improbable win when Sunil Narine was bowled for a golden duck by Taylor with the sixth ball of the innings but Brendon McCullum and Colin Munro doused the flames of a fiery opening spell.

After a tight first three overs the Knight Riders broke free in the fourth over, bowled by debutant Obed McCoy and hardly looked back. Munro in particular quickly sussed the pace of the pitch and propelled the Knight Riders to 57 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay.

Once the field had dropped back McCullum matched Munro blow-for-blow. Munro reached his fifty off 25 balls and McCullum reached his off 24, hitting boundaries on both sides of the ground. Munro sealed the victory with his third six. TKR’s innings run rate of 12.84 runs per over is a record in the CPL.

These two teams next play on Monday when they face each other again, this time at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.