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Lewis, Gabriel end Zouks’ hopes

GROS ISLET

Opener Evin Lewis’s third straight half-century inspired Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel to an emphatic eight-wicket win Saturday, lifting them to the top of the Caribbean Premier League standings and eliminating the winless St Lucia Zouks from playoff contention.
The attacking left-hander was at his imperious best, slamming 59 from 39 balls, with three fours and five well-struck sixes, as Red Steel easily overhauled an inadequate target of 118, with over five overs remaining at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium.
He added 89 for the second wicket with New Zealander Ross Taylor, who finished unbeaten on 35 from 39 balls —an innings which included two fours and a six.
Promising 19-year-old Vincentian pacer Ray Jordan was again the best bowler on show, picking up two for 25.
The defeat—their sixth straight— was always on the cards for the Zouks once their batting failed again, and they struggled to 117 all out with a ball to spare.
Andre Fletcher got 24 and Keddy Lesporis, 22, but the Zouks never looked like mounting a serious total as they lost wickets regularly and failed to build partnerships.
They were undone by Red Steel’s seamers, with Shannon Gabriel (3-20), Kevon Cooper (3-26) and Dwayne Bravo (three for 33), all finishing with three wickets apiece.
The rut began when Johnson Charles sliced the fifth ball of the game for Taylor at slip to hold a high one-handed catch without a run on the board, and it continued in the third over when Henry David was taken at the wicket for two with the score on five, again off Gabriel.
Fletcher and Lesporis repaired the damage by adding 44 from 46 balls for the third wicket but once Fletcher picked out Taylor at cover with Cooper in the 11th over, Zouks lost their last seven wickets for 68 runs.
In reply, Red Steel lost Kevin O’Brien (nine) early with the score on 19 in the third over, the Irishman top-edging a pull at Jordan to fine leg where skipper Darren Sammy took a simple catch.
Any hopes of an upset were quickly put to rest however as Lewis launched a stunning assault on the Zouks bowlers.
He slammed two back-to-back boundaries off Jordan in the right-armer’s second over, the fifth of the innings which cost 14 runs, before slashing the final ball over the ropes at point for six.
Lewis followed up with two leg-side sixes in off-spinner Liam Sebastien’s third over which leaked 18 runs, with the second of the two maximums sailing over long-on for the biggest of the tournament.
By the time he skied Jordan to Charles at mid-wicket in the 14th over, the result was long determined.
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