Wednesday 26 September, 2018

St Lucia Stars beat Guyana Amazon Warriors to keep CPL hopes alive

Andre Fletcher (left) attempts a stumping during St Lucia Stars's victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors (Photo courtesy CPL T20 Ltd.2018)

Andre Fletcher (left) attempts a stumping during St Lucia Stars's victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors (Photo courtesy CPL T20 Ltd.2018)

St Lucia Stars scored a six-wicket victory over table-toppers Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia on Friday night to keep their Hero Caibbean Premier League (CPL) season alive.

Batting first Guyana Amazon Warriors were restricted to 140 for nine off their allotted 20 overs and St Lucia Stars replied with 141 for four to win with 11 balls remaining.

Captain Kieron Pollard proved the difference in a cagey, low-scoring game. The Stars had bowled superbly to restrict the Warriors to under 150 runs, but had found run-scoring just as tough themselves.  The game was firmly in the balance when Devendra Bishoo stepped up to bowl the 18th over of the run-chase with the Stars still needing 31 to record their second victory of the season.

Six balls later, the scores were level after an astonishing assault from Pollard, who launched the first two balls for six before crunching the third for four. The fourth ball produced another six as Pollard hit it out of the ground. Two more fours were smashed back past the hapless Bishoo – struggling to grip a damp ball after an earlier rain delay – and the game was all but done.

Andre Fletcher, who had anchored the run-chase with a mature unbeaten 45 – completed the formalities at the start of the 19th over. Pollard, meanwhile, had catapulted from 11 from 12 balls to end on 41 not out from 18.

The Stars moved David Warner down to number four in the run-chase, but he was still at the crease pretty swiftly as early wickets left the Stars in a bit of early trouble. Warner walked to the middle after Lendl Simmons and pinch-hitter Rahkeem Cornwall had fallen in identical fashion to Veerasammy Permaul attempting big slog-sweeps and getting their stumps rearranged.

With Fletcher struggling for rhythm at the other end, the Stars needed to regain the momentum. Warner did so with a couple of early boundaries and some scampering between the wickets to turn singles into twos.

Warner’s busyness at the crease rubbed off on Fletcher, who began to find his range as the score moved on to 71 for two after 11 overs when a heavy downpour forced the players from the field.

The delay came at a bad time for the Stars, who were just beginning to take a firm grip on the chase. And when play resumed Warner was soon on his way for 23 from 16 after he got a healthy edge on an Imran Tahir googly and was smartly caught by keeper Luke Ronchi.

Responsibility for the chase now fell on the shoulders of Fletcher who put Rayad Emrit over the ropes at square-leg for just the third six of the night.

Qais Ahmad couldn’t help him, bowled by Bishoo for just six, but in walked the Stars skipper to take charge.

It had looked like being another difficult night for the Stars when Ronchi (24 from nine) got the Warriors off to a flying start, hitting four fours and a six as the visitors raced to 30 without loss from two overs.

The Stars hit back impressively, though, to turn things round and leave the Warriors 41 for three after five overs with Ronchi, Chadwick Walton and key man Shimron Hetmyer all dismissed.

From there the Stars squeezed the innings impressively, with spinners Cornwall and Ahmad rattling through their four overs for one for 19 and one for 23 respectively. The pressure brought wickets with it, and after smashing 30 from the first two overs the Warriors made just 67 – at a cost of six wickets – from the next 14.

Sohail Tanvir injected much-needed life into the innings with four fours off Kesrick Williams - who picked up the big wickets of Hetmyer and Cameron Delport – before being bowled off the inside edge by an Obed McCoy slower ball.

Emrit managed to find a six off McCoy but tellingly it was the first since Ronchi departed in the third over of the innings.

McCoy did an outstanding job at the death, bowling his four overs off the reel for two for 23 and while a final total of 140 for nine represented a recovery of sorts for the Warriors from 95 for six, it wasn’t enough once Pollard entered the fray.

With the defeat Guyana Amazon Warriors slipped to second place in the six-team competition. The Warriors, Trinbago Knight Riders and Jamaica Tallawahs, playing a game more, are all locked on six points. However, the Knight Riders are leading courtesy of net run rate over the Warriors and Tallawahs.

The top three are two points ahead of St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Barbados Tridents and St Lucia Stars, all on four points but separated by run net rate.

Summarized scores: St Lucia Stars 141/4 (Fletcher 45*, Pollard 41* Permaul 2/20) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 140/9 (Delport 25, Williams 2/23, McCoy 2/23) by six wickets with 11 balls remaining

UPCOMING FIXTURES

Saturday August 25
Barbados Tridents v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots (4pm), Kensington Oval
St Lucia Stars v Jamaica Tallawahs (8pm), Daren Sammy National Cricket Ground

Sunday, August 26
Barbados Tridents v Trinbago Knight Riders (6pm), Kensington Oval

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