Persistent rainfall handed the St Lucia Zouks a 17-run victory over the home side Antigua Hawksbills, ultimately keeping their Limacol Caribbean Premier League campaign alive.
Had the last ten overs of the match been played out though, the Zouks looked firm favourites to record a victory. The night started out with the visitors needing nothing short of a win to stay alive. They did themselves a big favour by posting the highest score of the tournament, getting to 179 for four from their 20 overs. The Zouks’ main contributor was Andre Fletcher, who struck 76 runs from 53 balls.
The Zouks then proceeded to put the Hawkbills on the back foot early on with the ball. It didn’t look like that after Johnson Charles pummelled Garey Mathurin for three consecutive boundaries in the first over. But then Mathurin struck back with his wicket the next ball.
Again Charles had been a victim of over aggression. Two overs later Mathurin would remove fellow opener, Kieran Powell. Bizarrely, Mathurin had been struck for two boundaries before Powell offered up a simple catch back to him. The dismissal echoed that of Charles’. The Hawkbills were off to a flier, scoring 30 runs in less than three overs, but had lost both their openers.
Hawksbills captain, Marlon Samuels, came together with wicket-keeper Jahmar Hamilton and both batsmen repaired the early damage while also keeping the scoreboard ticking. Hamilton played some good shots, though he did have patches of luck through inside-edges that just missed the stumps.
Together with Samuels, they took the Hawksbills to the halfway stage on 74 for two. The game was nicely poised, but still the Zouks had their noses in front.
The Hawksbills needed 106 runs from the last ten overs. That’s when Mother Nature decided to intervene. A light drizzle quickly turned into a heavy downpour that would see the players off the field for just over 30 minutes. The Hawksbills then, were 11 runs off the Duckworth/Lewis. On the resumption, Tino Best bowled Hamilton with a yorker after four deliveries. And as Hamilton left the field, the rains came back. That would effectively end the game.
The Zouks had secured victory by the cut-off time of 12:10am by 17 runs on Duckworth/Lewis.
Earlier, the St Lucia Zouks’ opening partnership of Tamim Iqbal and Andre Fletcher seemed to be coming into its own. At the start of the tournament, Tamim rarely got going, but as of the last two matches he has been able to get starts.
In usual style, he didn’t wait on bad balls to go after the Hawksbills bowling. He took the attack to the opening bowlers giving the Zouks a very good start in the Power play. He struck a quick 20 runs from 19 balls, hammering four fours before he was caught at point.
But even after the Power play, the Zouks continued batting aggressively. They needed a win, and a very big target was on their radar.
There weren’t any middle overs in this innings. Fletcher and Devon Smith combined in another good partnership for the Zouks. Together, they put on 46 runs.
For a while, Fletcher anchored the innings, as Smith tore into the Hawksbills. He smashed two fours and two sixes in a 29-run cameo from 20 balls. He had taken the score to 92 before he was caught at long-on.
Misbah-ul-Haq didn’t last long, but Zouks captain, Darren Sammy, provided the late blast at the end the visitors needed. Together with Fletcher, they hit the ball to all parts of the ground. As Fletcher went past 50, the batsmen began
opening up even more. Together, they put on 59 runs from 34 balls. As Fletcher approached the highest score of the tournament, he was bowled off the first ball of the last over for 76.
He had aggressively anchored the Zouks innings right through, striking four
fours and three sixes. He had scored 76 from just 53 balls. Sammy smashed Samuels for a six and four in the last over as the Zouks closed on 179 for four – effectively setting the new highest score of the tournament. The skipper had finished on 35 runs from just 20 balls.
Sammy picked up both the Limacol Super Six award for smashing a 96-metre blow while also picking up the Digicel 4G Fastest Scorer Award. For his 76 runs, Andre Fletcher was named Man of the Match.