CPL 2016: AB de Villiers sparks into life to inspire Barbados Tridents to victory
AB de Villiers joined the party in the Caribbean Premier League on Tuesday night, playing a matchwinning knock which was aggressive from the very onset. Barbados Tridents won by 7 wickets and 1.2 overs remaining on the back of this coming-to-life knock at Warner Park, Basseterre. ABD’s 33-ball 63* was one of the three most blistering knocks of the CPL 2016 season yet, alongwith Chris Gayle’s 108* and Evin Lewis’ 73.
ABD had not scored a half century in his last seven innings, something that has not happened in the last four years. By the inhuman standards set by him, this has been his worst patch of recent times. On Tuesday, however, coming to bat with 118 runs to win off 75 balls, it was clear from the very start that he was in line for a big one.
For the first ball he faced, he stepped forward and played a drive, putting pressure on the fielders to take a double. The second ball was wide outside off, but ABD still stepped towards the ball and slapped it to the fence. The tone had been set and the chase was on. Till that stage in the 8th over, the Tridents had been playing at 6 runs per over, with the asking rate inching up to reach the target of 163.
Shoaib Malik took care to keep the score moving along as well, finishing with 54 off 46 balls. Captain Kieron Pollard came in towards the last phase of the chase and smashed a 13-ball 25* to end the game with 8 balls still left.
The other standout performance on the night came from South African all-rounder Wayne Parnell, who is currently on a comeback trail to international cricket. Operating as strike bowler, he finished with figures of 2/22 in 4 overs. In the batting innings again, he was slotted in at No.3 with the wicket of USA national Steven Taylor to keep the left-right combination. Parnell kept the score moving with Malik at the other end, but it was not until AB de Villiers entered the fray that a Tridents victory looked likely.
Twitter was gushing after the special knock, with players from both Barbados Tridents and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots acknowledging that they had seen something great.