An excellent bowling performance from Sohail Tanvir inspired the St. Lucia Zouks to their first win in their bottom of the table clash against the Antigua Hawksbills in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League. The chase was not without incident as some laissez-faire batting from the top order made things a lot harder than they should have been for the St Lucians.
Tanvir was in fine form with the ball as he put together a spell of three for 15 to restrict the Hawksbills to 103 for six in a rain affected match. He bowled with guile and variation in four overs that saw him concede just one boundary. The Pakistani’s bowling performance may well have been in vain as the Zouks top order failed yet again, but Henry Davids steadied the ship in an unaccustomed position down the order to steer his side home.
Yet another poor batting effort inside the Powerplay saw the Hawksbills chasing the game from the very beginning. Ben Dunk’s insipid tournament continued as he departed for a second ball duck, LBW to an excellent inswinger from Tanvir. His fellow opener, Devon Thomas, was gone in the next over, mistiming a drive straight up in the air off Mervin Mathew. They managed just one boundary inside the fielding restrictions to find themselves 22 for two after six overs.
Shacaya Thomas didn’t last long either, attempting a slog sweep off Shane Shillingford that was easily caught on the boundary. That brought Samuels to the crease, batting at five in this match. The last time Samuels batted down the order he made 66. His side were in desperate need of a similar performance here, but it was not to be.
Samuels’ arrival brought the rain and with it a lengthy delay, a return to the field for one ball, and then yet another interruption. Eventually the patience of the crowd was rewarded with some cricket, with the game reduced to 16 overs a side.
Danza Hyatt had been grappling with his own technique for his whole innings, and he finally played a shot in anger, a powerful six over wide mid-wicket. The very next ball Samuels took off for a single that was ambitious to say the least to leave his partner run out by a pitch length. While other batsmen were happy to work the ball around, David Hussey was quick to counter attack. He pulled Sammy for consecutive sixes as he punished anything short of a length. When Tanvir pitched the ball up it brought him the wicket of Hussey, caught by Johnson Charles at long on. The full straight delivery also accounted for Sheldon Cottrell two balls later as the stuttering nature of the Hawksbills batting effort continued.
The best innings of the night for the Hawksbills came from Carlos Brathwaite, the bowling all-rounder taking 17 runs off an over from young Ray Jordan. He did a fine job in getting his side over 100 off their 16 overs.
A revised target of 106 courtesy of the Duckworth Lewis calculations left the Zouks with what should have been a straight forward chase, but, as a side short on confidence, things were never going to be easy. That brought Davids to the crease and together with Sunil Ambris, he put together a match winning partnership. With the rate never more than a run a ball there was no need to try anything adventurous, and the experienced Davids saw to it that the ball was worked around and the bad balls were put away.
A run out yet again made it more difficult for the Zouks, as Ambris failed to make his ground going for a second that was never there. That gave Tanvir the chance to set about finishing with the bat what he started with the ball. He ended unbeaten on 20 hitting two sixes to win the game, but Davids could not quite get all the way to the end. He was brilliantly caught in the deep playing an ugly hoick that was completely unnecessary. Cottrell was the man with the wicket but it was too little, too late.
The Zouks have won at last. The Hawksbills remain winless going into the last round of matches in St. Kitts and Nevis but have two more chances to record a win.