Zouks top Tallawahs in Florida
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida:
AGAIN, THE Jamaica Tallawahs found it tough to separate Johnson Charles and André Fletcher early at the top of the innings.
And for the second day running, the St Lucia Zouks’ opening partnership batted their counterparts out of the match with a rollicking partnership that yielded 104 runs and set the top for a 17-run victory in their HERO Motorcorp Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket match at Central Broward Regional Park here.
Charles, who smashed nine fours and two sixes while racing to 64 off 44 balls, dominated the early action on a good pitch against the Jamaican franchise.
However, Charles perished going for another big hit, as Chadwick Walton dived forward to complete one of his three catches and end the first-wicket union with the scoreboard reading 104, in only the 10th over.
Fletcher, who contentedly laid anchor as Charles wreaked carnage, sprung to life after his partner’s dismissal. Mixing power with some classy hits, he clobbered four fours and five sixes and jetted the score along to motor the Zouks to 153, before he, too, went to another well-judged Walton catch near the boundary ropes.
Shane Watson, dropped by Rovman Powell and then controversially reprieved for a catch before he had scored seven, rode his luck to smash five sixes in a whirlwind 42 off just 17 balls.
Timroy Allen went for 19 in his only over, while Garey Mathurin got one for 40 and Powell, two for 45.
The Zouks win was not easily foreseeable when Chris Gayle was pummelling boundaries in a fiery opening stand with Walton, and Jamaicans, including former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and former tourism minister Aloun Assamba, cheering wildly.
The big left-hander crunched two sixes and three fours in racing to 30 off 15 balls. However, when Darren Sammy caught him on the ropes with barely 40 on the board there were fears that the Tallawahs would not match up.
Those fears were realised as the Jamaica outfit lost wickets at key intervals, which prevented them from building any momentum in the big chase.
Rovman Powell struck 28 off 23, Kumar Sangakkara´24 off 17, Al Ross, 23 from 15, and Andre Russell, 21 off 13, but none stayed at the crease long enough to give Tallawahs the required push.
Shane Shillingford took two for 30 while Gideon Pope was most economical with one for eight off two overs.
Still yet, the Tallawahs finished second in the standings on 13 points, one behind Guyana Amazon Warriors and one ahead of the Zouks. Trinbago Knight Riders, who ended on 10 points, complete the play-off quarters.
The Tallawahs will square off against the Warriors in the first eliminator on Wednesday, with the winners advancing to Sunday’s final and the losers getting another chance.
The second play-off takes place on Thursday, with the Zouks battling the Knight Riders. The winners will play the losers of Wednesday’s match, and the winner of that contest moving on to the final.