Resurgent St Lucia Zouks comfortably disposed of title-holders Jamaica Tallawahs to reel off their second straight win here yesterday, as they continued to salvage some much needed pride from their Caribbean Premier League campaign.
Chasing a modest 144 for victory, Zouks cruised to target off just 17.3 overs, with opener Andre Fletcher leading the charge with a top score of 49 from 35 balls at Warner Park.
Henry Davids added 29 and Kevin Pietersen, 23, as Zouks moved to four points, further distancing themselves from the winless Antigua Hawksbills. However, already eliminated from playoff contention, the win was nothing more than academic.
Earlier, the Tallawahs wasted a decent start, to be bowled out for 143 off 19.1 overs, after they were sent in. When opener Chadwick Walton was busy top-scoring with 48 from 33 deliveries, Tallawahs looked threatening but once he departed in the ninth over at 64 for two, the last eight wickets tumbled for 79 runs, with five balls remaining.
The damage was done by seamer Mervin Matthew who picked up three for 15 while fellow pacers, captain Darren Sammy (two for 29) and Tino Best (two for 36) finished with two wickets apiece.
Walton put the Tallawahs in good stead, adding 30 for the first wicket with Gayle who was sedate in gathering three from ten balls before falling in the fifth over, lbw to off-spinner Shane Shillingford.
The right-handed Walton, who struck two fours and five sixes, then put on a further 34 with Owais Shah who also struggled with eight off 13 balls.
However, Walton’s dismissal – taken at deep square leg off off-spinner Liam Sebastien – sparked a slide that saw four wickets fall for 22 runs, to leave Tallawahs 86 for five in the 13th over.
All-rounder Dave Bernard blasted two sixes and a four in scoring 19 off 12 balls while Andre Russell scored 18 off eight deliveries with four fours, to carve out precious runs for Tallawahs down the order.
In reply, Zouks were never in trouble, even though they lost Johnson Charles caught at the wicket for 16 off left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori in the fifth over with the score on 28.
Fletcher, however, kept the innings on course, slamming three fours and three sixes, while adding 60 for the second wicket with Englishman Pietersen whose innings was a measured one, requiring 29 balls with just one four.
When the right-handed Fletcher perished in the 13th over, lbw to seamer Russell, Pietersen and South African Davids, who stroked four fours and a six in his 17-ball knock, put on another 31 runs for the third wicket to put Zouks in sight of victory.
JAMAICA TALLAWAHS 143 off 19.1 overs (Chadwick Walton 48; Mervin Matthew 3-15, Darren Sammy 2-29, Tino Best 2-36)
ST LUCIA ZOUKS 144 for three off 17.3 overs (Andre Fletcher 49, Henry Davids 29, Kevin Pietersen 23)
—Zouks won by 7 wickets