Zouks boost playoff hopes and eliminate Jamaica Tallawahs
Daren Sammy had the nerve to keep the 2019 Santa Lucia Zouks playoffs alive with a four-wicket win over Jamaica Tallawahs on Friday night.
A pair of highs in the penultimate time of a high-risk, nervous career chase effectively resolved the contest, raising the score level and allowing Krishmar Santokie to crush the winning races at the start of the final.
Victory for the Zouks lifted them again over the Barbados Tridents to fourth place, while ending the Tallawah’s lingering hopes of reaching the top four. It’s the first time in CPL history that the Tallawah has lost the playoffs.
The Zouks are now heading to Barbados on Sunday for a hugely significant clash with Trident when the league stage arrives directly home.
Chasing 166 for victory, Rahkeem Cornwall got the Zouks to have the perfect start with a half-century 24-ball four-fours and five-sixes.
He showed his intention from the beginning, pulling Zahir Khan by four and then throwing a Maximum for a long time.
The real carnage occurred in the third inning of the innings when Jerome Taylor was taken in for 25. Cornwall hit Maximums consecutively to start again before Andre Fletcher finished with ten runs in two balls.
Chris Gayle caught Fletcher in Zahir Khan, but Cornwall advanced to his midcentury, his most dramatic contribution being a great Maximus from Ramaal Lewis that bounced twice on the roof before reaching the parking lot.
However, he left two balls later, just after his mid-century, when Chadwick Walton held another attempt to clear the rope.
When Colin de Grandhomme faced Imran Khan to the first ball of the next in search of a golden duck, the Zouks were in danger of losing their way.
However, with the required rate in hand, Colin Ingram and Hardus Viljoen had the luxury of taking some steps to stabilize the ship. They did, Viljoen then got the chase back on track with a couple of huge sixes about Khan. The final ball of that envelope was dragged into the square-legged fence and the Zouks were firmly back in control.
Still, it wasn’t precisely simple to navigate to the finish line. Ingram was left without an excellent direct hit from Khan mid-play before Viljoen rounded off a short ball from Dwayne Smith to Shamar Springer on the long leg.
When Chris Barnwell chose Smith from the beginning to give Imran Khan a second wicket, the Tallawah suddenly felt a shot with equation 19 out of 12, and Daren Sammy left with only the Zouks bowlers in the company.
Two huge sixes later, the matter was resolved with Santokie blithely crashing the first ball of the final to the edge of the deck to seal a significant victory.
Dwayne Smith had returned to training in the right style for the Tallawah. Having failed to reach double figures in four previous CPL innings in 2019, Smith looked back at his best level by plundering 58 in 38 balls with six fours and three six.
However, after he and debutant Liton Das (21 of 21) were fired at successive dances by the impressive Kesrick Williams, Tallawah’s tickets fell off.
From 138/2 after 16 overs with two batters set at the crease, only 27 more were added at the cost of five wickets versus some excellent Zouks death bowling.
Williams was the best choice, adding Trevon Griffith’s fixture to finish with excellent 3/24 figures despite Shamar Springer hitting the final ball of his spell for six.
Glenn Phillips and Gayle got off to a good start in the innings before Viljoen battered Phillips, the 2019 CPL’s top scorer, after hitting four legs in a row.
Gayle was prepared to play Smith’s second violin in a Smith society before being caught by a juggler Viljoen in the long run, as Sammy’s decision to get involved in the attack paid dividends.
Smith went through his mid-century in 30 balls but fell just as the Tallawah were looking to throw themselves at the last shots. They were never able to do it.