An unexpected cloud burst and some sterling off-spin helped the St Lucian Zouks overcome Barbados Tridents in a thrilling game, whose pendulum kept shifting from one side to the other.
Barbados Tridents started brilliantly but started stuttering when the Zouks brought on their battery of off-spinners.
Late in the game, four wickets fell for just 11 runs in 18 just balls and helped the Zouks regain the initiative.
Later, it was the power of Rakheem Cornwall that clinched it for the Zouks.
And not even Rashid Khan could deny the Zouks their first win of Hero Caribbean Premier League 2020.
Cornwall – the powerhouse
With a couple of top edges and a bruising straight hit, Cornwall took 13 off Tridents captain Jason Holder in the first over of the chase.
Later, he was bamboozled by Rashid’s googly and Shai Hope completed an easy stumping.
But the psychological scars of this brutal assault remained.
Jonathan Carter took two smart catches to dismiss Najibullah Zadran and Nabi, who put in a superb all-round performance, backing his superb bowling with a six and a four off his countryman Rashid.
Andre Fletcher wasn’t going to mess up this chance to beat the Tridents, for sure!
He blasted a six off Rashid Khan, and with scores level, he cut Raymon Reifer through point for four to finish the match
Tridents bat first
When Tridents captain Holder chose to bat first after winning the toss, it raised a few eyebrows.
Holder made this decision based on the confidence he had in his spin attack and his reading of the wicket that looked like it would turn, in the second innings.
Zouks captain, Darren Sammy too started with the spin of Saad bin Zafar who bowled tidily for his spell for 2 overs for 10 runs.
The only blemish was a loose ball to Johnson Charles who cut him to the point boundary.
In fact, Johnson Charles looked in good nick and was set for a big score. Obed McCoy looked rusty and gave away too many loose balls which Charles took full advantage of.
This further reduced McCoy’s confidence and Sammy wisely took him off the attack after his 2 overs had gone for 25 runs.
But misfortune was just round the corner.
Charles, had a lapse of concentration and drove uppishly to Sammy who, was alert enough to time his jump to perfection and grab the catch. The bowler was Scott Kuggeleijn, Sammy’s go-to-person for breakthroughs.
Next Nabi came to the attack but got a hostile reception from Shai Hope who smashed him for 2 fours.
At this point, Zouks bagged what was potentially, a match-turning wicket.
Corey Anderson – the destroyer
Corey Anderson is a key player for the Tridents.
With his explosive hitting, he can turn the match around in an instant.
But in an attempt to clear the ropes, he overhit a high Kuggeleijn full toss and the ball went straight to Roston Chase at cover.
The score was 53 for 2.
That’s when Sammy seized the moment and applied the brakes.
He used Roston Chase and Nabi and the Tridents could never recover the free-scoring momentum.
Chase went for 8 runs in 2 overs and bagged 2 wickets, getting Carter and Kyle Mayers in consecutive balls..
Nabi bowled 4 overs for just 19 runs and got a crucial wicket of Shai Hope.
Using a beautiful loop, Nabi lured Hope into a long hit where he caught by Deyal.
This was a ball that would have gladdened the hearts of purists and probably influenced the decision to hand over the Man of the Match award to Nabi as well.
Holder slammed 27 in 12 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes. He was especially brutal on Rakheem Cornwall, hitting him for a four and a six in consecutive balls.
But when William dismissed him, once again off a Darren Sammy catch, it was the final flicker of the Tridents batting flame.
Sammy used 4 spinners, each of whom proved highly effective – Roston Chase, Nabi, Mark Deyal and Roston Chase.
Deyal took the last Tridents wicket to fall, when Reifer nicked a ball to Andre Fletcher.
There were 2 factors that helped the Zouks win this match.
Firstly, it was the performance by the off-spinners.
And secondly, the rain that reduced a potentially troublesome target of 132 to just 50.
Holder must be cursing the rain gods!
St Lucia Zouks 50/3 (Fletcher 16*, Nabi 15, Cornwall 14; Rashid 2/24, Reifer 1/13) beat Barbados Tridents 131/7 (Charles 35, Holder 27, Hope 19; Chase 2/8, Kuggeleijn 2/28, Nabi 1/19, Deyal 1/3) by 7 wickets (DLS target 47 off 5 overs)
Cover image credit: CPL T20