Darren Bravo, McCullum turn tables on Stars in breathtaking chase

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After a dim start to the season, marked by three winless matches on the road, St Lucia Stars’ season had begun to look brighter on Thursday night, after a trio of half-centurions boosted them to a franchise record total. But in the end, history repeated itself, as Trinbago Knight Riders maintained their impressive record over the Stars, who crashed to a stunning five-wicket defeat at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet.
David Warner, Rahkeem Cornwall and Kieron Pollard all crossed 50, each in contrasting styles, to take the home side to 212 for 2. And yet, it was far from enough, as Darren Bravo and Brendon McCullum launched a stunning late onslaught with a 137-run fourth-wicket stand. Requiring 85 runs off the last five overs, Knight Riders crossed the line with a ball to spare. The result also meant a 14th successive defeat for the Stars.
The end of Warner’s horrid run with the bat coincided with the arrival of his wife and younger daughter at St Lucia. With his two favourite girls watching from the stands, Warner looked at ease while compiling an unbeaten 72 off 55 balls. Most of his damage was done in the first 10 overs, beginning with an uppercut off Ali Khan in the third over for the first of his three sixes. Once Andre Fletcher got out in the sixth over, caught at backward point to a mistimed cut off Shannon Gabriel, Warner was content to ride in the slipstream of his subsequent partners.
After sitting out the previous match, Cornwall made an imperious return to the Stars lineup at No. 3. In the very first match of the season, Fawad Ahmed had struck on his first ball after entering in the seventh over. On this occasion, however, he was swatted with disdain over midwicket for six by Cornwall. The big man began the eighth over in the same fashion against Gabriel, swatting him back over his head for a maximum, before dragging him flat through the wind for six over square leg a few balls later.
Cornwall clattered his fifth six over long-on to start the 12th over against Dwayne Bravo, at which stage he overtook Warner on the scorecard, and simultaneously brought up the fifty of their partnership, as well as the Stars 100. Cornwall eventually brought up his half-century off 25 balls, before running out of steam in the 15th over, edging behind as he tried to swing a wide delivery from Javon Searles to the leg side. That ended the partnership at 79 but the innings was hardly about to lose any steam.
Pollard goes wild
At 130 for 2 in 15 overs, Tom Moody called out on the TV commentary that Stars should target 12 an over for the rest of the way to get to 190. For a team that has struggled to score runs and was bowled out for just 95 when these two sides met in the opening match of the season, the suggestion may have seemed optimistic. But by the end of the innings, hindsight showed Moody’s prediction was actually quite conservative.