St. Lucia Zouks came off second best on opening day at the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League, losing out against the Jamaica Tallawahs at the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba. Roston Chase’s maiden T20 fifty ended up being in a losing cause as late cameos from Asif Ali and Carlos Braithwaite ensured that the Tallawahs took the points on opening day.
After being asked to bat, St. Lucia Zouks got off to a flyer as all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall plundered the off-side with two powerful boundaries. Jimbo however could not keep that aggression going against spin, falling victim to Veerasammy Permaul. The 31-year-old struck again in his second over, ending Mark Deyal’s cameo of 17.
Despite losing two quick wickets to spin, the Zouks stayed ahead of the curve as Roston Chase and Andre Fletcher consolidated their innings. They managed to get the score to 52 after the powerplay, taking calculated risks and punishing the bad balls. Fletcher fell shortly after the powerplay, as he miscued a pull shot off Andre Russell’s bowling and ended up being caught at deep mid-wicket.
New batsman Najibullah Zadran carried on from where Fletcher left off, announcing himself in CPL 2020 with a six over mid-wicket. Zadran and Chase kept the scoreboard ticking in the next few overs, piercing the gaps with precision to take the Zouks past 100 runs by the 13th over. Chase in particular looked solid, getting his boundaries with some good textbook cricketing shots, eliminating the need for risky cricket. The duo added 51 for the fourth wicket, before Zadran was caught in the deep off Sandeep Lamichhane.
Mohammad Nabi replaced his International teammate for the Zouks, and provided some instant entertainment with a four and a six off Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s bowling. The mystery spinner however got back at Nabi the very next ball, accepting an easy caught and bowled chance to leave the Zouks at 136/5 in 17 overs.
Chase switched gears in the final few overs, getting nine runs off Russell’s penultimate over to get his maiden fifty in T20 cricket. The 28-year-old however lost his wicket the very next over, as the Jamaica Tallawahs finished strongly, conceding just 22 runs off the last three overs to restrict the Zouks to a competitive score of 158.
The Zouks got off to a dream start with the ball, with the pace-spin combination giving away only twelve runs to the opposition after a little over four overs, while picking two wickets. The second of those wickets came courtesy of a sharp diving catch at square leg from Mark Deyal. New batsman for the Tallawahs Rovman Powell and opener Glenn Phillips however turned the screws as the chasing team ended the powerplay with 36 runs on the board.
Phillips continued his aggression post the powerplay, hitting new bowler Kesrick Williams for 17 runs in his first over. Powell kept that trend going a four and a six of the next over to put the Tallawahs in pole position in the chase. The duo added 63 runs for the third wicket, but ultimately it was one shot too many for Powell who was caught in the deep off Cornwall’s bowling.
That wicket once again turned the tide of the game, as the very next over saw Phillips walking back to the pavilion after being caught in the deep. With two new batsmen at the crease, the Zouks bowlers dsid well to bring down the scoring rate, conceding just 32 runs off the five subsequent overs, despite the dangerous Russell being at the helm of affairs. Asif Ali however kept the Tallawahs in the hunt, getting a six and a four off the 16th over, to leave the chasing team needing 33 runs off the last four.
Zouks’ leading wicket-taker of the 2019 CPL season Kesrick Williams proved his mettle once again, as a well-disguised slower delivery managed to catch a faint edge of Russell’s bat in the next over. With 26 needed off three overs, Braithwaite took matters into his own hands as he scored 15 runs off Scott Kuggeleijn to put the Tallawahs in command.
With ten needed in the final two overs, Asif Ali nonchalantly took the Jamaica Tallawahs over the line with a boundary on the off-side to subject the Zouks to defeat on opening day. St. Lucia Zouks play their next game against Barbados Tridents on August 20.
St. Lucia Zouks: 158/7, 20 overs (Roston Chase 52, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2/25)
Jamaica Tallawahs: 160/5, 18.5 overs (Asif Ali 47, Kesrick Williams 2/ 32)