St Lucia Zouks (202-5) beat Barbados Tridents (172-7) by 30 runs
Friday 3rd July – Basseterre, St Kitts – After losing to the Barbados Tridents in their last match the St Lucia Zouks got their revenge with a comprehensive victory over the same opposition in the Hero Caribbean Premier League. Andre Fletcher extended his lead as the top run scorer in the tournament and Kevin Pietersen made his first CPL half century as the Zouks scored 202-5 off their 20 overs, the largest total that the St Lucian side have made in their history. The Tridents could never get the required rate under control as they fell to just their second defeat of this year's event.
Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher of the Zouks have been the in-form partnership of this year's CPL and it looked like we were in for more of the same when Charles blasted the third ball of the match for six. Unfortunately for the Zouks there was not another significant opening stand as Charles was dismissed when a delivery from Ravi Rampaul caught a leading edge for the ball to dolly up to Dilshan Munaweera.
The wicket did not slow things down as Kevin Pietersen made his highest ever CPL score – finishing with 73 off 39 balls. For once this year it was Fletcher that was playing second fiddle as the Warner Park crowd were treated to some vintage Pietersen.
At the halfway stage of their innings the Zouks had reached 91-1 and were well set to make a very large total. Both Pietersen and Fletcher kept the rate up as they put together a partnership of 138 off 75 balls. The shot of the innings came from Fletcher when he smashed a 109 metre six that went all the way out of Warner Park. The very next ball Fletcher hit a Hero Maximum that was nearly as big as Robin Peterson struggled to find a way to control the Zouks.
Both men seemed to be hitting sixes at will and it came as a surprise when KP didn't get all of a big shot off Jeevan Mendis, departing to a great catch from Jonathan Carter.
The Tridents were celebrating again one ball later when Mendis dismissed Henry Davids with a brilliant googly that bowled the South African for a golden duck. While those two wickets would have been pleasing for the Tridents their inability to hit the stumps with the numerous run out chances that were on offer was disappointing.
Fletcher was adjudged LBW when on 77 off 50 deliveries to yet another Mendis googly. The Sri Lankan was the pick of the Tridents bowlers picking up 3-33 off his four overs.
The Tridents had a mountain to climb in pursuit of 203 to win and they began well enough by reaching 47-1 off their Powerplay overs but it was always going to be a tough ask to keep going at the required rate. Munaweera was the man to go inside the first six overs when he tried to clear the big boundary off Shane Shillingford and failed to do so.
Dwayne Smith fell in the very next over when Darren Sammy took a brilliant catch over his shoulder to dismiss the Tridents opener caught and bowled. As has so often been the case it was Shoaib Malik that looked the most likely to get the Barbados team home as the leading run scorer in CPL history look instantly at ease at the crease.
At the other end wickets continued to fall as Carter attempted a pull shot off Nathan McCullum that went straight up in the air and was caught by the keeper.
Kieron Pollard should have been dismissed on two when he gloved a ball through to the keeper off an excellent Shannon Gabriel slower ball but the umpire gave him not out. Malik was not as fortunate when he drove the ball down the ground off Sammy to be caught on the boundary for 31 off 19.
When Mendis fell in almost identical fashion to Malik the outlook was bleak for the Tridents. Pollard was still there but there was too much for him to do that even with Pollard's immense talent he couldn't get his side home. Pollard was brilliantly run out by Fletcher for 31 as the Tridents lost by 30 runs.
This win reaffirms the Zouks as one of the frontrunners for qualification for the latter stages of the tournament sitting in second place just one point behind the Tridents. More exciting for the Zouks than their position in the table is the complete nature of this performance with both batsmen and bowlers performing brilliantly which bodes well for the rest matches to come.