THE St Lucia Zouks continued their winning form at the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as they defeated the Jamaica Tallawahs for the second time in two days last night.
This win was not enough to secure a place in Playoff 1 where a route straight to the final was up for grabs but they will head to their Playoff 2 match against the Trinbago Knight Riders full of confidence and hopeful of victory.
On Saturday when these two teams met at this ground the Zouks batted first and blasted their way to 206-3 on the back of an excellent opening stand from Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles. Yesterday, the Zouks innings was almost a carbon copy as Fletcher and Charles put on 104 runs for the first wicket from 68 balls.
Both men were brutal on everything that the Tallawahs’ bowlers served up, and both of them made half centuries in the process as the Zouks made 194-3 from their 20 overs.
Having made 74 not out in the last game Fletcher carried on that form as he laid the foundation for a match-winning total and set up the fifth win for the Zouks in the last six matches.
Fletcher eventually fell for 70 (54), also caught by Walton who seemed to be everywhere in the field. Shane Watson took up the boundary hitting on his way to a 17-ball 42 that included five Hero Maximums. 64 runs came from the last five overs as the Zouks set a target of 195 to win.
It would take a fine batting performance from the Tallawahs to chase that down and they would need runs from Chris “Universe Boss” Gayle.
When Gayle began his innings looking to blast the ball as far as possible from the very beginning he seemed to think that he needed to go big early on to get up the win. He rode his luck in the PowerPlay with several balls landing just out of the reach of fielders.
That good fortune did not last for Gayle, eventually getting caught on the long-on boundary by Daren Sammy off the bowling of Watson for 30 from 15 balls. Fellow opener Chadwick Walton also went inside the PowerPlay as the Tallawahs reached 51-2 off the first six overs of their chase.
Kumar Sangakkara looked to set a base in order from which to launch the chase but he fell for 24 to the first ball of Gidron Pope’s spell to leave the Tallawahs in real trouble at 75-3 with the Andre Russell and Rovman Powell at the crease.
Anything is possible with Russell in the middle and he immediately looked to up the run rate, particularly off the bowling of Grant Elliott who conceded 27 runs from two overs. But his pyrotechnics did not last long either, falling to the bowling of Delorn Johnson for 21.
The Tallawahs did a decent job at keeping up with the rate but were losing wickets throughout. When Powell fell in the 16th over there was no coming back despite some lusty blows from Alex Ross as the Zouks won by 17 runs.
This match ends the hugely successful Florida leg of the Hero CPL which has seen great cricket and big crowds. Now the tournament moves on to St Kitts & Nevis for the knockout stage.
Upcoming Hero CPL finals week fixtures:
Playoff 1: Wednesday 3 August – Guyana Amazon Warriors v Jamaica Tallawahs, Warner Park, St Kitts (7pm). Winner goes to the final.
Playoff 2: Thursday 4 August – St Lucia Zouks v Trinbago Knight Riders, Warner Park, St Kitts (7pm). Loser eliminated.