St. Lucia Zouks secured a stunning first win of his 2019 campaign in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on a night marked by a serious injury to Jamaica’s Tallawah star all-rounder Andre Russell.
Rahkeem Cornwall continued his good start to the season as he and Andre Fletcher did most of the work to send the zouks past the Tallawahs 170/5 with five wickets and 20 balls.
But the sight, as Russell was taken off the field on a stretcher and hit on the back of the head by a Hardus Viljoen bouncer, nobody wanted to see. Russell was hospitalized and released after a scan. On the advice of the doctors, he returned to the team hotel to rest. The Tallawahs are confident that he will be active again after a few days.
Back on the field, the Zouks’ run-hunting was a formality after the flying start of their inaugural pair which, despite a late sweep, set 111 in only 52 balls when Oshane Thomas scored three goals in his last nine balls.
Nine sixes came in the six-over powerplay, as loose bowling and discarded catches cost the Tallawahs.
Cornwall raced his fifty-five in just 19 balls, six of which he sent over the ropes. Three sixes passed in the third innings, thrown by Jerome Taylor. First Fletcher picked him up over the side of his leg before Cornwall went down the floor for the full count of successive deliveries.
Another pair of successive sixes from George Worker’s part-time spin brought Cornwall in a half-century run he reached with a single ball.
The removal of the field restrictions did not change the intentions of Cornwall and Fletcher. The big man shot four and two more six out of the first four balls of the seventh, and when Fletcher hit the first ball of the eighth to the cover line, the hundred was higher and the required rate lower than one run per ball.
Finally, Cornwall’s fun ended with him punching Shamar Springer into the stumps for a staggering seventy-five. He faced only 30 balls, eight of which were sent to the stands.
John Campbell followed shortly thereafter, but the zouks were so far ahead of the course that they could afford to take stock. Colin de Grandhomme joined Fletcher and, after earning himself some eyesight, plundered two fours and a huge slog sweep over deep midwicket from Lewis’s second hit.
The Zouks were far enough ahead of the game that a great two-over spell by Thomas, who picked up the goals of de Grandhomme, Daren Sammy and Roland Cato in just four runs, came too late to influence the final score.
Thisara Perera defeated Jerome Taylor in 17th, 6th and 4th behind. Fletcher remained unbeaten at 47 to do the job with a lot of time.
The first Sabina Park game of the Hero CPL 2019 had a dramatic start. An unkempt beginning of Obed McCoy was soon forgotten when Chris Gayle was looking for a golden duck.
And for McCoy, it got even better in his second as Chadwick Walton – also on the back of a Hero CPL record with Gayle in the last game of the Tallawahs – also fell cheap. He made only 8 before selecting Campbell on the deep quadrilateral.
That brought Phillips and Powell together and they went to the Zouks bowling alley. Nobody was spared. Powell met the first heroic maximum of the night directly and truthfully before Fawad Ahmed, while Phillips found the line with regularity.
16 runs came from the final of the Power Play, with Phillips Kesrick Williams beating Midwicket for his first Hero Maximum. Phillips reached its half-century with only 26 balls, and at halftime, the Tallawahs with the 81-Phillips-Powell partnership rode to 108/2 with only 42 balls.
It would require something special to break the partnership, and de Grandhomme produced it. Powell was half a millimetre from his half-century but instead had to leave for 44 when de Grandhomme caught the ball directly in the rope and flipped it in the air before crossing the border and then reentering to complete the catch and Fawad Ahmed gave his first wicket of the night.
He also removed Phillips in his next over – a much simpler catch for de Grandhomme this time – before Russell’s injury clouded the night’s action a bit.
Perhaps it’s understandable that the Tallawahs’ innings never got going again after Russell left the field on a stretcher. Only 38 came from the last six overs.