St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (170-8) beat St Lucia Zouks (144-9) by 26 runs

Friday 10th July – Basseterre, St Kitts: The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots defeated the St Lucia Zouks in the Hero Caribbean Premier League to move to second in the table leaving themselves well placed to progress to the business end of the event in their first year as a franchise. An all-round effort saw them post 170-8 even in the face of a brilliant spell from the Zouks’ Nathan McCullum who recorded figures of 4-22.

The Zouks could not find a way to reach the required total with only Andre Fletcher making a contribution of note as the young wicketkeeper-batsman regained his spot at the top of the list of run scorers at this season’s CPL.

The Zouks bowling performance began well enough. Opening the bowling Fidel Edwards should have dismissed Evin Lewis in the first over when the left-handed opener attempted a slog only to catch the leading edge and the ball ballooned toward third man. A relatively simple chance was put down, but it didn’t prove too costly as Lewis was dismissed in the very next over when he was caught by Johnson Charles in the slips off Shannon Gabriel for three runs from eight balls.

Shane Dowrich got the Patriots innings going inside the Powerplay when he hit four consecutive boundaries off Kemar Roach including a Hero Maximum that was sliced over the third man boundary. His 38 (20) injected real impetus into this St Kitts and Nevis innings but he could not go on to make a really significant score, instead dismissed by Nathan McCullum when a swipe was well caught at mid-wicket.

It was one of those rare occasions where Marlon Samuels did not make a score of note, he too falling to McCullum’s wily off-spin for just five runs. He attempted a pull shot but his timing was off and Roach took an excellent low catch to dismiss the Patriots skipper.

While all of the wickets had been falling at the other end, New Zealand opener Martin Guptill was playing the anchor role that has become his own at this year’s event, but has so often been the case he fell once he had a start. Guptill is the Patriots’ second highest run scorer but has only past fifty once in eight innings. This time he was dismissed by spinner Kieron Cottoy who was playing in his first match of this season’s CPL. He got Guptill with a ball that turned past the batsman’s edge to have him stumped for 35.

The theme of this Patriots innings was batsmen getting in and then getting out again, with the 38 made by Dowrich the highest score. Despite no one batsman making a really telling contribution they still managed to reach 170-8 off their 20 overs with the Zouks unable to find control despite their wicket taking and the excellence of McCullum.

The Zouks appeared to be cruising to this target inside their Powerplay as the hugely successful opening partnership of Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles put on 49 runs in under five overs, but it was Fletcher that did all of the work. Charles had made just seven when a slog the ball in the air off Sohail Tanvir was caught at mid-on.

Fletcher regained his spot as the tournament’s leading run scorer as he blasted his way to 59 off 43 balls but none of the Zouks could support his efforts. Captain Pietersen was the next man to go when he holed out in the deep off Carlos Brathwaite for 12. Ross Taylor fell to the same bowler in his next over when he was brilliantly caught by Samuels at backward point having made just three.

A short rain delay gave the Zouks a chance to regroup but once they got back on they lost Fletcher who departed to the bowling of Jomel Warrican, who was making his T20 debut. Fletcher attempted to clear the long on fence only to be caught by Raymon Reifer.

From that point onwards it became a procession of Zouks wickets as the St Lucian side found it impossible to keep up with the required rate. The next highest score after Fletcher’s 59 was the 16 made by Henry Davids.

This win lifts the Patriots to second in the table, level on points with the Barbados Tridents but behind them on net run rate as the race for qualification for the knockout stages of the CPL gets very tight. For the Zouks this is their second defeat in a row and they are in need of a turnaround in fortunes to keep pace with the leaders.

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