A superb batting display from the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots saw them make the second highest total in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history as they won their first match this season. The St Lucia Zouks were beaten thanks to excellent batting from Evin Lewis and Devon Thomas that allowed the Patriots to score a massive 203 for 7 off their 20 overs.
Lewis kept going as he blasted his 73 from 34 balls in an innings that included five Hero Maximums. He was particularly harsh on the inexperienced spin bowlers in the Zouks line up, four of the five sixes that Lewis struck came off the bowling of Kristopher Ramsaran who was playing in just his second Hero CPL match.
As was the case in their match against the Jamaica Tallawahs on Saturday, the Patriots lost wickets at regular intervals throughout the innings. They had the best possible base to post a total in excess of 200 when they were 115 for 1 in the 12th over, but when Lewis and Faf du Plessis departed in the space of five balls it meant that a rebuilding job was needed. For a while it seemed they would stumble in that pursuit of 200, but they got their in the end and that was thanks to Devon Thomas.
Thomas took a while to get going, he was on 11 off 15 balls, before he launched his attack. He was batting at eight in the previous match, but he had impressed with a seven-ball 25. Here he was promoted to four and did not disappoint. He scored 37 runs from the last 12 balls he faced as he made a career-best 48.
Facing the second highest total in Hero CPL history the Zouks began their chase brilliantly thanks to an opening stand of 90, going past the 69 that was made in the first innings of this match to set a new high for the first wicket in Hero CPL 2016. Fresh from taking three wickets with the ball Shane Watson was making batting look very easy on this excellent Warner Park surface.
Watson breezed his way to 55, with Johnson Charles making a quickfire 40. They had given their side a chance of making the highest successful chase in a T20 game in the West Indies, but when both men fell in the space of nine runs the chase collapsed.
Excellent bowling from the ever more impressive Tabraiz Shamsi in combination with Samuel Badree saw them choke the life out of the middle of the Zouks innings. A stranglehold from which the St Lucians never recovered as they were defeated by 61 runs.
Tomorrow’s match sees Trinbago Knight Riders, last year’s champions, take on Chris Gayle’s Jamaica Tallawahs at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad. This will be the last home match of the season for the Knight Riders, and they will be looking to finish this leg of the tournament on a winning note having only secured one victory in their first three matches.
TKR coach Simon Helmot feels that throughout the tournament so far his team have been in the mix to win all three of their matches, the issue was how they started with both bat and ball.
“We have been in winning positions in all three games. It is fair to say that we have to improve our PowerPlay bowling and probably with the bat in the PowerPlays, we just haven’t been starting as consistently as we need to.
“We have had some great partnerships, some great individual scores, Sunil Narine has been bowling brilliantly and in patches we have been bowling well, we just haven’t galvanised the whole 20 overs together. We believe we should have won all of our games and we will be looking to see how we can bowl defensively and attackingly in those first six overs.”
Helmot made it very clear that they are not overly concerned with how things have gone so far, things need to improve but the season is still young and there is time for the Hero CPL holders to put themselves in a position to retain their title.
“We were in a similar position last year, we lost the first couple of games and we had a washout and only one win. Hopefully we can make sure we stay nice and confident and calm. We have a good group, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, our chief mentor in Jacques Kallis, it keeps the dressing room nice and calm. There is no panic, we have good people in our rooms.”
Upcoming Fixture: Monday, 4 July – Trinbago Knight Riders v Jamaica Tallawahs, Queen's Park Oval (7pm)
Tickets: Tickets for all CPL fixtures in the Caribbean and Fort Lauderdale are on sale now from www.cplt20.com.