Marlon Samuels’ troubles with the bat continued but he starred with the ball to deliver the Antigua Hawksbills their first victory of the campaign. In front of a noisy crowd at Gros Islet, Antigua beat the home side St Lucia Zouks in a contest where most batsmen found it hard to time the ball.
St Lucia choose to bowl but Kieran Powell began with a burst of boundaries to give Antigua a sprightly start. After he holed out for 27, his opening partner Johnson Charles began to find his touch. By the time Charles was dismissed in the 11th over, Antigua were well placed at 86 for 2.
However, the two biggest names in the Antigua batting – Samuels and Ricky Ponting – continued to struggle. Ponting had a heated exchange with fast bowler Tino Best, was reprieved on being run-out after colliding with the bowler Albie Morkel and narrowly avoided being stumped before falling for 20. Samuels’ lean run was extended when he was unluckily run-out by the bowler Darren Sammy, who deflected a straight drive on to the non-striker’s stumps. Devon Smith, though, provided the acceleration towards the end with some clean hitting that lifted Antigua to 166.
Despite the rains around, the St Lucia surface was expected to be batting-friendly and the target wasn’t something the home side would have been unhappy with. Andre Fletcher started the chase with two sixes and two fours in a 7-ball 20 and before a shower interrupted play, Antigua raced to 34 for 1 in three overs.
Play resumed after a 20-minute delay, but St Lucia’s innings never regained the early momentum. Herschelle Gibbs looked woefully out of touch in his short stay, Misbah-ul-Haq couldn’t repeat the heroics of the previous game, and Tamim Iqbal couldn’t hit top gear. Samuels turned the game with his darted offbreaks, getting the wickets of Tamim, Misbah and finally Sammy to wreck St Lucia’s chase.