TAROUBA, Trinidad, CMC – Nicholas Pooran struck a responsible half-century but perished in the penultimate over as St Lucia Zouks won three on the trot for the first time in the Caribbean Premier League with a 10-run victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Requiring 21 runs from the last two overs to reach their target of 145 at the Brian Lara Stadium here yesterday, Amazon Warriors suffered a massive blow off the first ball of the 19th over when the left-handed Pooran played on to seamer Kesrick Williams (2-32) for a top score of 68.
Williams gave up just eight runs leaving Amazon Warriors with 13 runs to get from the last six balls of the contest, and fast bowler Chemar Holder in his first game bowled superbly to snatch two wickets and limit last year’s losing finalists to just two runs.
He removed Sherfane Rutherford’s (15) off-stump with the first ball with a perfectly directed yorker before having captain Chris Green caught at the wicket off the fourth delivery for two, to end with two for 32.
However, it was Kiwi seamer Scott Kuggeleijn who had done the earlier damage, taking three for 22 from his four overs including the key scalp of in-form left-hander Shimron Hetmyer for four.
Opting to bat first, Man-of-the-Match Roston Chase had spearheaded Zouks’ batting with 66 off 51 deliveries to rescue the innings which was tottering on 19 for two in the third over.
The West Indies all-rounder lashed five fours and two sixes, putting on 57 for the fifth wicket with Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi who struck 27 from 24 balls before adding a further 43 for the sixth wicket with Javelle Glenn (19).
South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who claimed three for 22, knocked over Kimani Melius (8) and Mark Deyal (2) in the third over and when Andre Fletcher (12) and Najibullah Zadran (0) perished in the space of five balls in successive overs, Zouks were in deeper trouble at 42 for four in the seventh over.
Chase then took charge, stroking three fours in the ninth over from pacer Odean Smith, eventually reaching his second half-century of the tournament at the start of the 16th over before perishing off the penultimate ball of the innings to a catch of the wicket off Smith.
Amazon Warriors endured a shambolic start to their run chase when Brandon King (1) and Hetmyer fell to Kuggeleijn in the second over and when Ross Taylor’s (1) bungled reverse sweep at off-spinner Nabi ended up in Fletcher’s gloves, the innings lay in peril at seven for three in the fifth over.
Pooran, who belted seven fours and a six off 49 balls, then anchored two key partnerships, putting on 53 for the fourth wicket with Chandrapaul Hemraj (15) and 56 for the fifth with Keemo Paul (20), to put his side in sight of victory.
But Kuggeleijn returned in his final over in the 18th to account for Paul, triggering a terminal slide which saw Amazon Warriors lose four wickets for 17 runs in the space of 14 deliveries.
Zouks are second on six points while Amazon Warriors are third on four points after winning two of their four outings.