Dwayne Bravo said boosting Dominic Drake’s confidence at the start of the season and his own commitment to creating a championship team paid off with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots winning their first-ever Hero CPL title on Wednesday (September 15) in a thrilling victory off the very last ball at Warner Park in St Kitts.
The S Lucia Kings won the toss and chose to bat, as they did in their semi-final match. Despite losing wickets at key stages of the game, they built a total around the batting of Roston Chase, who stabilised the innings, allowing the likes of Rahkeem Cornwall and Keemo Paul to play with attacking intent and guide them to 159-7.
In what was a dramatic final, the Patriots managed to successfully chase their target with Dominic Drakes the hero with the bat, scoring 48 off 24 balls and securing a remarkable victory with the last ball of the match.
“In my first session I had with Drakes, I told him he’s not an emerging player, you’re my main player,” said Bravo, who joined the Patriots from Trinbago Knight Riders, with the objective of building the St Kitts-based franchise.
“All the guys who came in, whether they play or not, the energy was there. I challenged myself to come here and see if I could do anything. It was a new franchise, out of my comfort zone, coming here not knowing what to expect – I think this is in the top three for me. The Universe Boss [Chris Gayle] and The Champion [Bravo] in one team – one thing can happen.”
St Lucia Kings started their innings with the loss of both captain Andre Fletcher and Mark Deyal in the Powerplay.
Cornwall got the innings back on track with some power hitting but the Patriots utilised spin to great effect; Fabian Allen, Jon-Russ Jaggesar and Fawad Ahmed working in unison to pick up three wickets in the middle overs and leave the Kings in peril.
Roston Chase anchored the innings and a late burst from Paul, which saw him hit three consecutive sixes in an over as he scored 39 runs off just 21 balls, took the Kings to a challenging total.
It was a dream start for the Kings with the ball, as Chris Gayle was bowled by a Chase delivery and, not long after, Evin Lewis was caught out with Chase being the fielder.
Joshua da Silva and Sherfane Rutherford began to rebuild, but quick wickets, including that of captain DJ Bravo, saw the Patriots in trouble at 95-5. However, things would take a dramatic turn as Drakes recorded his highest ever score in cricket, firing six boundaries to take the Patriots over the line in dramatic fashion with a single off the last ball.
In a contest worthy of any final, the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots prevailed and lifted their maiden Hero CPL title in front of a joyous home crowd.
Andre Fletcher, the Kings’ captain was distraught after coming so close to winning the title.
“It’s a bit hurtful but the guys played well, I cannot fault the way we played. We fought right till the end,” he said while lavishing praise on the young match-winner.
“Drakes played exceptionally well. I guess we weren’t destined today. I think it came to execution – that 19th over if we had executed well, maybe tried to tuck him up, it might have been different. But that happens. To be honest, for me, it’s never over – no matter what position we’re in.
“The two things I told the guys today was stay calm and show humility. We did that today but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
With the Patriots needing nine runs from the last over bowled by Kesrick Williams, Fletcher said he still believed the Kings could have won.
“I’ll be honest, I was really confident we would defend it. That four Drakes hit, Kesrick didn’t miss the length by a lot. I know (the fans) are disappointed, we are all disappointed. Keep the faith. We’re improving every season. Everyone had us as the punching bags, I’d say. But we’ve improved and trust me, we’ll be back.”
Scores: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 160-7 (Drakes 48*, Da Silva 37; Riaz 2-36, Chase 1-17) beat Saint Lucia Kings 159-7 (Cornwall 43, Chase 43; Naseem 2-26, Fawad 2-32) by three wickets.