Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel have certainly made the most of home advantage in the last few days, as they completed their third straight win at Queen’s Park Oval yesterday, beating St Lucia Zouks by nine wickets in Limacol Caribbean Premier League action.
The Zouks looked more like they were the targets of a back alley mugging than an even contest, and their only consolation was the wicket of Man-of-the-Match Evin Lewis for 77 off 45 balls after he and opening partner Kevin O’Brien had hammered the visitors, taking the Red Steel to their target of 137 with 32 balls to spare.
O’Brien’s 55 played second fiddle to Lewis, who treated the visitors with disdain, as 12 fours and two massive sixes suggested.
The victory target never seemed adequate, especially to Lewis. It took him some time to get on strike, 11 balls to be exact. Once he did, there was no stopping the cavalier left-hander.
The 22-year-old seems fearless at the moment, and you can hardly notice his awkward stance when he is in full swing. O’Brien was still trying to work out Sohail Tanvir’s tricky left-arm action when Lewis stroked the Pakistani for three fours in five balls.
Lewis offered a little love tap through backward square for four off Garey Mathurin’s slower bowling, saving the meatier blows for Zouks captain Darren Sammy.
Four, six, six, four, he greeted the West Indies T20 skipper. Over slip, powered over point, deadly straight, then through backward point, those shots all disappeared.
A couple more fours were in the offing before Lewis brought up his 50 off 24 balls in the seventh over to the roar of an approving capacity home crowd by trotting a single, the Red Steel then 70 without loss.
Not even Ray Jordan could get some joy as Mervin Matthew put down a sitter when Lewis sliced one to third man off the pacer. Pharrell’s “Happy” blared from the speakers at the DJ booth between overs after that, but Jordan was anything but, having been treated to two more fierce boundaries by Lewis, who took T&T to 97 in just ten overs, O’Brien a bystander on 28.
From there, O’Brien took the lead, smashing his way to a half century with a pair of fours and two sixes.
Lewis threw away his hand with a miscued pull to give off-spinner Shane Shillingford the only wicket of the match, but by then the damage had been done. O’Brien was bowled by Garey Mathurin, but the latter had overstepped the crease and the batsman was called back to finish the encounter.
The Zouks would not have been pleased with their tally. Their decent start of 70 runs off ten overs cost them four of their five best batsmen, all to poor judgement.
Johnson Charles showed positive intent, especially against fast bowler Fidel Edwards, with a trio of fours in successive overs.
But he soon charged Samuel Badree, allowing wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran the chance to complete the stumping.
Charles’s sedate opening partner Andre Fletcher (four) also tried to attack the crafty leggie only to hear his stumps collapsing.
South African Roelof van der Merwe singled out Sulieman Benn for rough treatment, but only got a pair of fours and a six off the lanky left-arm spinner before slicing a short, wide delivery to Badree at third man of Javon Scantlebury-Searles. He was followed to the pavilion by Keddy Lesporis, who hammered Scantlebury-Searles for a pair of sixes before succumbing to a Dwayne Bravo slower delivery.
The Zouks could only find 13 runs in the next four overs, and although captain Darren Sammy took on his opposite number Bravo, hitting four ferocious sixes—including two powerful blows off Fidel Edwards—he kept losing partners, two of them run out, and ended on 46 not out (35 balls) after Kevon Cooper fluffed a caught and bowled chance.
That was as generous as the hosts would get, as they certainly offered nothing with the bat, and go off to their next encounter away to the Zouks on August 2 brimming with confidence.
St Lucia Zouks Inns
A Fletcher b Badree 4
J Charles st Pooran b Badree 15
R van der Merwe c Badree b Searles 21
K Lesporis b DJ Bravo 20
T Willett c Taylor b Cooper 10
D Sammy not out 46
S Tanvir c Badree b Edwards 1
M Mathew run out (Edwards) 1
S Shillingford run out (Cooper/DJ Bravo) 1
Did not bat: R.Jordan, G.Mathurin
Extras (LB4, W6) 10
Total (for eight wickets; 20 overs)
Wickets at: 20 (Charles), 33 (Fletcher), 52 (van der Merwe), 70 (Lesporis), 97 (Willett), 101 (Sohail Tanvir), 103 (Mathew), 112 (Shillingford), 133 (Jordan).
BOWLING: Edwards 4-0-33-1 (1w); Badree 4-1-13-2; Benn 4-0-31-0 (1w); Scantlebury Searles 1-0-14-1; DJ Bravo 3-0-18-1; Cooper 4-0-22-1.
T&T Red Steel Inns
KJ O’Brien not out 55
E Lewis c Charles b Shillingford 77
Darren Bravo not out 0
Extras (B1, W3, NB1)
Total (for one wicket; 14.4 overs) 137
Did not bat:R.Taylor, DJ Bravo, N.Pooran, J.Scantlebury-Searles, K. Cooper, S.Benn, S.Badree, F.Edwards.
Wicket at: 129 (Lewis).
Bowling: Tanvir 2-0-16-0; Mathurin 2.4-0-20-0 (nb 1); Sammy 10-20-0; Mathew 2-0-18 (1 w); Jordan 2-0-19-0 (1 w); Shillingford 4-0-26-1 (1 w); Willett 1-0-11-0.