St Lucia Zouks 165 for 6 (Fletcher 36, Sammy 30, Hafeez 3-22, Joseph 2-20) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 145 for 9 (Hafeez 29, Vijoen 3-14, Williams 3-48) by 20 runs
An all-round show kept St Lucia Zouks’ playoff hopes alive as they defeated St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by 20 runs at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet. The victory also lifted them from the bottom of the point table to the fourth place, and they now have five points from seven games.
After being put in, Zouks moved to 70 for 1 at the end of seven overs before Mohammad Hafeez pegged them back with three quick wickets. Darren Sammy’s 30 off 19 balls though ensured they finished strongly and had a defendable 165 for 6 on the board.
In contrast, Patriots were slow to start and were always lagging behind. While they had wickets in hand, the asking rate had climbed to ten at the halfway stage. Searching for quick runs, they slipped from 80 for 2 to 103 for 7 in the space of 19 balls and there was no coming back. Hardus Viljoen picked up 3 for 14, while Kesrick Williams finished with 3 for 48.
Zouks off to flying start
Andre Fletcher and Rahkeem Cornwall gave Zouks a quick start through a combination of good fortune and attractive strokeplay. The first over of the innings, bowled by Jeremiah Louis, went for 15 with Fletcher getting two lucky fours to fine leg off big inswingers and Cornwall flicking one over deep midwicket for a six.
The duo followed it with a six each in the next two overs before Alzarri Joseph bowled Cornwall off an inside edge. Colin Ingram hit Rayad Emrit for a six and a four off successive balls, and Fletcher lofted Mohammad Hafeez down the ground for another maximum. Fletcher got two more fours to fine leg in Emrit’s next over and the platform was set for a big total.
Hafeez comes to the fore before Sammy show
Hafeez had other plans though. The offspinner brought his experience into play to get both Fletcher and Ingram stumped. After seeing Fletcher come out of his crease, he slipped one down the leg side to give Devon Thomas an easy stumping. Ingram too showed his intentions early and this time Hafeez pushed the ball wide outside off to leave the batsman halfway down the track.
Colin de Grandhomme flicked one lazily to be caught well inside the deep midwicket boundary as Hafeez finished with 3 for 22. In the next over, Keron Cottoy bowled Andre McCarthy to reduce Zouks to 101 for 5 in the 13th over. Sammy and Chris Barnwell revived the innings with a 56-run sixth-wicket stand in just 5.5 overs. In one Emrit over, 17th of the innings, Sammy hit two fours and six, whereas Carlos Brathwaite leaked 14 in the next as Zouks went past 150.
Patriots’ sluggish first half
Helped by a plethora of wides, Patriots reached 28 for no loss at the end of three overs but Viljoen pegged them back by dismissing Evan Lewis and bowling a wicket maiden. Devon Thomas fell in the next over while trying to pull left-arm spinner Jeavor Royal, leaving Patriots on 31 for 2. Laurie Evans tried to break the shackles and hit Royal over deep midwicket and extra cover for a couple of sixes, but despite that Patriots could reach only to 66 for 2 at the midway stage.
Williams dents the chase further
Rain stopped play for ten minutes after 11.4 overs with Patriots 12 runs behind the par score. After play resumed, Williams dented them further with a double-wicket over. First, he had Evans caught-and-bowled with a slower one and then trapped Fabian Allen lbw with the ball thudding into the batsman’s back pad before he could bring his bat down. With the required rate mounting, Brathwaite tried to take on Fawad Ahmed, only to sky a googly towards midwicket where substitute Kavem Hodge took a good catch running in from the deep.
Needing 72 from 36 balls with five wickets down, the incoming batsmen couldn’t cope with the pressure. Shamarh Brooks fell to Viljoen for 7 and on the next ball, Fawad parried one back to himself to send Hafeez back. At 103 for 7 and still requiring 63 from 29 balls, the result was all but decided.