St Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy said his side kept faith like they always do as they engineered a spectacular Jamaica Tallawahs collapse to post an 11-run victory in the final round-robin game of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), yesterday.
Both sides had already qualified for the semi-finals phase tomorrow but yesterday’s result confirmed the Tallawahs will be tackling the undefeated Trinbago Knight Riders from 10 a.m. in the first semi while the Zouks will oppose the Guyana Amazon Warriors from 5:30 p.m. in the second, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) in Tarouba.
But the Zouks would have benefitted from the mental boost of yesterday’s moral-lifting win when they defended yet another sub-par total (145-6), claiming the Tallawahs’ nine wickets for just 45, after captain Rovman Powell’s side appeared to be cruising along at 84 without loss, in the 12th over.
“We always believe it’s never over. Afterall, if we can’t believe at 80 for 0 when we just defended 92, we wouldn’t be doing justice for ourselves,” said Sammy. ”That’s the game of cricket. It’s never over until they get the last run,” he added.
Sammy pointed to Zahir Khan’s three for 25, Man-of-the- Match performance, along with the supporting bowling cast ensuring the Zouks would pull through.
“This is the performance we’ve been looking for from Zahir, to get us wickets in the middle overs period,” Sammy noted. “All in all, we feel good to qualify for the playoffs. I would love to win my semi-final game and Jamaica is feeling the same.”
Sammy added that everyone is starting with a clean slate and prior form is being thrown out of the window come the playoff stage.
“It’s how you play on Tuesday for your team, who wants it most,” Sammy assessed. “I have a strong feeling something might just happen for both teams.”
For Powell, his batters failed to back up his bowlers who he described as having a “decent performance” once more. “Still a bit of improvement (needed) but I’ll take 145 any day. [The opening pair] did their job, it’s just for the middle order now to find some runs,” Powell reasoned.
“We go into the semi-finals now with a clean slate. It’s sometimes difficult to forget what happened before, but we have to do that.”
Khan, named Man of the Match, was glad to come good for his squad. “Last few games I didn’t perform very well. This time I performed well. I played last year for Jamaica Tallawahs and know most of the players and worked to bowl against them,” Khan said. “The pitches are totally different from last year. We got that one or two wickets (today) and it totally changed it (the game).”
ZOUKS 145-6 off 20 overs (Najibullah Zadran 35, Roston Chase 32 not out, Rahkeem Cornwall 32;
Mujeeb-ur-Rahman 2-28) vs TALLAWAHS 134-9 off 20 overs (Glenn Phillips 49, Jermaine Blackwood 25, Nicholas Kirton 25; Javelle Glen 3-16, Zahir Khan 3-25)
—Result: Zouks won by 11 runs.
Upcoming Fixtures: (Tomorrow) @ Brian Lara Cricket Academy
Semi-final 1—Trinbago Knight Riders vs Jamaica Tallawahs (10 am)
Semi-final 2—St Lucia Zouks vs Guyana Amazon Warriors (5:30 pm)