Khary Pierre, Colin Munro lift Trinbago Knight Riders to top of table


The defending champions show their quality in a low-scoring match

Trinbago Knight Riders 99 for 4 (Munro 41*, Amir 2-19) beat Barbados Royals 93 for 9 (Mayers 24, Pierre 3-16) by six wickets

A comprehensive bowling performance from Trinbago Knight Riders routed Barbados Royals by six wickets, chasing down 94 with more than three overs to spare. Knight Riders’ spinners did enough to stifle Royals throughout the first innings, with Akeal Hosein, Khary Pierre and Sunil Narine responsible for seven of the nine wickets that fell, conceding just 59 runs in their combined 12 overs. In response, Knight Riders chose to coast rather than blast their way to victory, with the asking rate not a concern for them. Colin Munro’s unbeaten 41 shepherded them through the chase, with Hosein’s two sixes finishing the game off with a flourish and putting Royals on the brink of elimination.
Royals got off to a flyer thanks to Kyle Mayers, whose 12-ball 24 was as good as things got for his side. At that stage, the pitch looked like it had little for bowlers and a big total was seemingly on the cards. But once Mayers fell, no batter could build on the mini-platform he had set, and as the spinners took over, Royals began to crumble.

A disastrous middle-order collapse saw Knight Riders pick up five Royals wickets for 18 runs, with all three spinners making hay. Azam Khan hung around with the tail without really having much of an impact, and the innings spluttered along to the end, by which time the Royals had limped to 93.

Despite a brilliant first couple of overs from Mohammad Amir, including a first-ball wicket, the chase never really threatened to unravel. Knight Riders understood all they need to do was keep wickets in hand and the win was all but assured, and unlike the Royals, negotiated the middle overs expertly. Royals’ spinners had few runs to play with, and thus struggled to build any real pressure, and even though Lendl Simmons and Tion Webster departed early and Darren Bravo struggled for runs, Knight Riders were always in control.

Both sides were going through the motions at the end, with the game drifting and the result not in doubt. The win took Knight Riders to the top of the table, with the defending champions assured a spot in the playoffs. Royals, meanwhile, are staring elimination in the face.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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