Defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders rode on Colin Munro and Dinesh Ramdin fifties to script a massive win over St. Lucia Stars in the season opener of Caribbean Premier League 2018.
Munro, who started last season with an unbeaten 66 against the same opponents, this time smashed 68 from 48 balls. The Knight Riders had slipped to 89/4 before Ramdin (50* off 27) joined the New Zealander in a 50 partnership to help their side post a record-breaking CPL total at the Queen’s Park Oval of 195/6.
The Stars failed to win a single match last season and any hope that they might pull off a record chase here were ended within the first eight overs of their reply amid a collapse from 35/0 to 53/6.
Andre Fletcher was undone by an Ali Khan knuckle-ball on 19, while Australia superstar David Warner was bowled by Javon Searles for 9 before Rahkeem Cornwall picked out Brendon McCullum at mid-wicket off Dwayne Bravo.
Then the spinners took over.
Narine himself then got in on the act, pinning Darren Sammy plumb in front to leave the Stars reeling at 53/6. Fawad removed Qais Ahmad for 14 to finish his match-sealing four-over spell with 3/16.
There weren’t any fireworks from new Stars captain Kieron Pollard, who slapped a full-toss from opposite number Dwayne Bravo to Searles at long-off to be eighth man out for just 12 with the score on 81.
Bravo added the wicket of Mitchell McClenaghan with a delicious slower ball before Gabriel took the final wicket, hauling his figures back to 3.3-0-34-1 having conceded 26 runs from his first over. While the batting collapse was certainly dramatic, the seeds of the Stars’ defeat were sown in a sloppy fielding display.
Earlier, put into bat first, Trinbago Knight Riders' new boy Chris Lynn, dropped at slip by Sammy from the second ball, Lynn blasted the very next ball over the ropes at square-leg, but fell two balls later.
Moments later, Kesrick Williams dropped Narine at midwicket from Mohammad Sami’s first delivery. Narine gave the Knight Riders early impetus with a huge six down the ground but was bowled by Williams, who made amends for his early drop and also removed Darren Bravo for a duck.
With Brendon McCullum also failing to get going before being bowled by Stars captain Pollard on 13, it was left to Munro to keep the Knight Riders on track.
Munro duly went through to a 33-ball half century including eight fours and that huge six. By now he had been joined by Ramdin, who initially looked to put the Stars fielders under pressure with hard running before starting to clear the boundary himself.
When Munro fell in the 16th over, Ramdin took over in a devastating final four overs that brought the Knight Riders 54 runs.
Knight Riders face Jamaica Tallawahs in their next game on August 10 while Stars will look to reboot against Guyana Amazon Warriors on August 12.