St Lucia Zouks 144 for 7 (Chase 66, Tahir 3-22) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 134 for 8 (Pooran 68, Kuggeleijn 3-24) by 10 runs
After a stirring rally in the field 24 hours earlier helped Guyana Amazon Warriors win with the lowest successfully defended total in CPL history, they were on the wrong side of a similarly resilient second-innings bowling effort as the St Lucia Zouks rallied behind clever medium-pace displays from Chemar Holder and Scott Kuggeleijn to record a 10-run win.
Roston Chase‘s battling half-century in the first innings gave the Zouks a fighting chance with a target set of 145. Kuggeleijn struck twice in his opening over and Ross Taylor’s painful innings of 1 off 12 balls was mercifully ended by Mohammad Nabi to leave the Amazon Warriors at 7 for 3 in the fifth over.
Nicholas Pooran fought back in the middle of the chase with a typically belligerent fifty of his own but was eventually undone by a slower ball from Kesrick Williams. Holder then held his nerve at the death, bowling Sherfane Rutherford with a yorker to start the final over when 13 were required to win, snuffing out the last recognised batting hope for the Amazon Warriors
Tahir dazzles again
Imran Tahir struck twice in the third over to put the Amazon Warriors on top early after the Zouks chose to bat first. Kimani Melius was teased into a slog that turned into a skied chance to mid-off. Three balls later, Mark Deyal sliced to backward point to make it 19 for 2.
It was 42 for 4 before Chase and Mohammad Nabi teamed up for a 57-run stand to steady the innings for the Zouks. But once again Tahir intervened to break the partnership. He tempted Nabi into a slog with a flighted delivery outside off and the legbreak induced a top edge taken on the long-off rope to leave the innings evenly poised at 99 for 5.
Chase drags Zouks through
It wasn’t glamorous but was incredibly efficient. The allrounder known more for his Test exploits built another key 43-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Javelle Glen. Over the course of his innings, Chase reached his half-century off 40 balls. Though he only hit four fours and one six at that stage, he crucially only chewed up 10 dot balls as he regularly negotiated both pace and spin to keep rotating the strike.
Chase opened up to hit one more four and six before he perished on the penultimate ball of the innings to Odean Smith. His 66 off 51 balls might appear modest by 2020 T20 strike-rate standards, but it proved to be a clever knock in the context of what followed in the Amazon Warriors reply.
Canny medium-pace trips up Warriors
The Zouks showed there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Whereas the Amazon Warriors flummoxed the Tallawahs on Saturday with a spin heavy attack in defence, the Zouks captain Daren Sammy achieved similar results both in the Powerplay and in the end result by using his pace bowlers.
Kuggeleijn struck in the second over with the ball of the match, a back-of-a-length delivery that climbed sharply on Brandon King resulting in a glove behind to Andre Fletcher. Three balls later, it was extra bounce once again that accounted for a top-edged pull to deep square leg that sent Shimron Hetmyer back to the dugout. A maiden by Kuggeleijn in the fourth over to Taylor built up enough pressure that resulted in Taylor cracking to Nabi in the fifth, caught trying to reverse paddle the offspinner with a top edge popping off his helmet to Fletcher.
At 32 for 3 after eight overs, the Amazon Warriors were in a massive hole but Pooran did his best to dig them out, beginning with a pair of pulls for four and six off Williams to end the ninth. Two more boundaries through the off side against Nabi in the 13th kept the required run rate in check as Pooran brought his 50 up off 32 balls. Sammy looked like he may have blown the match for the Zouks when he spilled a straightforward chance at mid-off on the next ball to deny Kuggeleijn a wicket and after 17 overs, Pooran had turned the equation into a very manageable 30 off 18 deliveries.
Kuggeleijn struck in the 18th over though, removing Keemo Paul caught at deep midwicket. Williams followed that up on the first ball of the 19th with the wicket of Pooran, inducing a drag on from a clever cutter. With 13 needed off the final over, Holder was brought back into the attack having conceded 30 off his first three. But he bowled a marvelous over, conceding just two runs while taking two wickets. A pinpoint yorker pegged back off stump on the first ball to Rutherford before Green edged behind on the fourth ball. With 12 from two required, Tahir could only manage a limp single on a full toss off the penultimate delivery to clinch an unlikely Zouks win.