Some prudent captaincy coupled with masterful spin bowling helped St. Lucia Zouks defend the lowest ever total in the history of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, as they edged the champions Barbados Tridents by three runs. In a game dominated by the bowlers, the part-timers of St. Lucia Zouks had the final laugh at the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba, as they managed to defend a paltry score of 92.
Having won the toss, it was the Barbados Tridents who started the game brightly as both Zouks openers, Rahkeem Cornwall and Andre Fletcher, were sent packing within the first couple of overs. With both openers back in the hut, debutant Leniko Boucher was tasked with getting the boundaries; and the youngster duly obliged.
However, the sluggish outfield meant that the Zouks could only manage 35 runs after the end of the powerplay. Post that, Boucher once again tried to free his arms on the off-side, but dragged the ball back onto his stumps off Hayden Walsh Jr’s bowling. Walsh Jr. struck again in his second over, knocking over the in-form Roston Chase to leave the batting side in a spot of bother at 52/4 after nine.
Things got worse for the Zouks shortly after, as Walsh Jr. picked up his third for the night, enticing Mohammad Nabi into a rash shot which found the fielder at long-off. The spinners continued to pull the strings for the reigning champions, as Rashid Khan and Joshua Bishop kept the pressure on the batting side with their economical bowling.
Zouks’ misery was further compounded by a mix-up between Daren Sammy and Najibullah Zadran, who resulted in the skipper being run-out for single figures, leaving the score at 65/6. New man Javelle Glenn got a six off the very first ball of his innings, reigniting the scorecard for the batting side.
Glenn’s cameo however didn’t last long, as he tried to play a big shot yet again a couple of overs later, but only found the boundary rider at deep mid-wicket. Zadran was the last recognised batter still out there for the Zouks, and did well to get the odd boundary to counterattack the spin.
The southpaw too, however, was dismissed shortly after, caught by Bishop off Raymon Reifer’s bowling in what was a slightly contentious decision. Zadran’s wicket was the last bastion for the Zouks batting card, as the tailenders didn’t last too long, folding for a sub-par score of 92 all-out after 18 overs.
Needing less than a run a ball to win this game, Barbados Tridents openers Shai Hope and Johnson Charles started off cautiously, piercing the gaps and picking the singles. The latter did well to get a couple of boundaries as well in the powerplay, punishing the loose balls.
The sixth over however brought with it the first casualty for the Tridents, as Hope was trapped in front of the wicket by a ball that kept low from Kesrick Williams. Mystery spinner Zahir Khan put a further dent in the Tridents scorecard, as his spin completely deceived Kyle Mayers and found the top of the off-stump.
Jason Holder joined Charles in the middle, and the duo added 11 runs in the next two overs, which included back-to-back boundaries from the opener, to leave the score at 48/2 after eight. Holder too tried to join the action next up off Williams’ bowling, but missed his shot and was trapped leg before wicket.
However, it was going to be a big ask for the Zouks bowlers given the Tridents still needed less than a run a ball to win. They didn’t get a single boundary in the three overs to post the drinks break, but nevertheless stayed ahead of the game by not losing any further wickets.
Part-timer Javelle Glenn did well next to pick up the wicket of top scorer Charles, giving the Zouks just an outside chance of victory. Ashley Nurse replaced Charles in the middle, and did well to find the gaps and rotate the strike, leaving his team needing 19 off the last four overs.
With three overs to go, Tridents lost another wicket, as the off-spin of Nabi outfoxed Corey Anderson and hit the stumps, to make for a nervy finish. Daren Sammy made a leftfield choice by giving Javelle Glenn the penultimate over, and the leggie paid dividends, conceding just four runs while picking the wicket of Rashid Khan.
With nine needed off the last over being bowled by Chase, Ashley Nurse was forced to go for a big shot but miscued it to find Najibullah Zadran in the deep, miraculously putting the Zouks in pole position now to win the game. Chase managed to deliver two dot balls in that pressure situation, leaving the equation at seven needed off the last two.
The penultimate ball went away for a bye, as the champions unbelievably needed a six off the final delivery of the match. Chase kept his calm under pressure, bowling it full outside off-stump to ensure St. Lucia Zouks defended the lowest ever score in CPL history.
St.Lucia Zouks play their next match against the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Wednesday, September 2.
Scores: St.Lucia Zouks: 92/10, 18 overs (Najibullah Zadran 22, Hayden Walsh Jr. 3 for 19) beat Barbados Tridents: 89 for 7, 20 overs (Johnson Charles 39, Javelle Glenn 2 for 11)