It was as close as it could get with hosts St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots claiming their first ever Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title off the last ball in front of their home fans as they defeated Saint Lucia Kings by three wickets in a closely contested encounter at Warner Park.
St. Kitts were taken to the shore by Dominic Drakes, who smashed 48 not out in 24 balls with three fours and three sixes. It also fetched him the Man of the Final award.
A year ago, St. Lucia Kings, who were called St. Lucia Zouks a year ago, had lost the 2020 final to Trinbago Knight Riders. So, they had to be runner-up for the second year in a row.
The Saint Lucia Kings won the toss and chose to bat once again, just as in their semi-final match. Despite losing wickets and at crucial junctures, they built an innings around the efforts of the likes of Rahkeem Cornwall (43), Roston Chase (43) and Keemo Paul (39) as they reached 159 for seven in 20 overs.
Saint Lucia lost captain Andre Fletcher and Mark Deyal in the Powerplay before Cornwall put them back on track with some power hitting.
As Patriots used their spinners Fabian Allen, Jon-Russ Jaggesar and Fawad Ahmed, they picked up three wickets in the middle overs. Then Roston Chase anchored the innings and a late burst from Paul, who hit three consecutive sixes in an over as he scored 39 runs off just 21 balls. That gave Saint Lucia a challenging total. Keemo Paul had five sixes and no fours.
As St. Kitts began the chase, Chris Gayle was bowled by a Chase delivery very early for a great breakthrough. Then Evin Lewis was caught out, with Chase being the fielder.
Joshua da Silva and Sherfane Rutherford began the rebuilding process but quick wickets, including that of captain DJ Bravo, saw the Patriots in trouble at 95 for five.
The match took another twist when Drakes recorded his highest ever score in cricket, firing six boundaries. Along with Fabian Allen (20) he managed to take the Patriots close. Yet, when Allen left, Patriots still needed 21 runs in 11 deliveries. Drakes ensured that and his team won in a dramatic fashion with a single off the last ball.
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.
MoM: Dominic Drakes (SKN)