TKR skipper Pollard defends decision to bowl struggling Neesham

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Jimmy Neesham (L) and head coach of Trinbago Knight Riders Brendon McCullum

… says ‘sometimes you have to back your players’ 

TRINBAGO Knight Riders (TKR) captain Kieron Pollard has defended bowling a struggling Jimmy Neesham at death in a thrilling super over loss against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on Tuesday night.

The New Zealand cricketer had a night to forget, his four-over spell going for a record most runs conceded with 68.  On his birthday, the 29-year-old got off to a horrid start after being punished with 31 taken off his first over by top-order batsman Evin Lewis.

Lewis and the Patriots were in pursuit of 216 and got within touching distance of the target, largely in part to 64 runs from a 30-ball cameo from Carlos Brathwaite.

The Patriots needed 19 from the final over and Neesham, who bowled at the death for the Black Caps during the Cricket World Cup earlier this year, bowled it but conceded 18 runs as the home side’s Rayad Emrit (21 off 11 balls) and Alzarri Joseph (7 off 3 balls) forced a Super Over.

Needing five to win from the last ball, Emrit was fortunate with a four that flew to the boundary after a leading edge and the scores were tied after a dramatic final over that featured misfields, overthrows and a no-ball for height from Neesham.

“Obviously in hindsight, I could have bowled that last over, bowling two overs with sweat on my back but couple games before that he had done it for us bowling the last over.  Yes, he wasn’t having a great day but sometimes you have to back your players and I backed him to do it,” Pollard said.

Pollard also had high commendation for man-of-the-match Brathwaite, who scored 17 in the super over, before taking the ball to respect the Knightriders to 5 for 1.

“I could have easily backed myself and taken the initiative like Carlos did but it’s great to see Carlos stepping up and taking that mantle and taking the team on his shoulders.” (Sportsmax)