(CPL) – St Lucia Stars ended their 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a six-wicket victory over Barbados Tridents. The Tridents never really looked like defending a total of 135/7, with the lowest total successfully defended here in Hero CPL – 137 in 2016 – rarely threatened.
An Andre Fletcher four and two Rahkeem Cornwall sixes in the first over set the Stars well on their way to their small target. But Mohammad Irfan continued to be the Tridents’ main man with the ball. He dismissed Fletcher for 5, caught by captain Jason Holder in a second-over wicket maiden.
Wahab Riaz was hit straight down the ground first ball by Cornwall, but was then struck in the head by the Pakistani speedster. This appeared to rough up Cornwall, such that the next short ball he faced, from the left-arm giant Irfan, saw him edge behind for 18.
Chandrapaul Hemraj hit Nurse for 20 in the seventh, the Tridents misery compounded by Guptill pulling up with a hamstring strain on the cover boundary.
Hemraj and David Warner’s 50 partnership came up off 29 balls, the two left-handers seeming to have worked out how to score at a decent rate on this Kensington Oval pitch.
Holder managed two wickets in two balls. Hemraj was bowled comprehensively for 37 and then Pollard was adjudged lbw. Ultimately, it mattered little, as Lendl Simmons and Warner saw the Stars safely home.
Simmons chanced his arm playing a shot most balls, but still struggled to score at much more than a run a ball. He was dropped in the deep by Ashley Nurse, who compounded the error by knocking the ball over the ropes for six off what became the penultimate ball, before hammering Holder down the ground to seal the victory emphatically.
Having won the toss and chosen to bowl, the Stars opened with the left-arm-spin of Christopher Lamont who conceded just two off the first over. The match’s first boundary and first maximum came off consecutive balls in the second over, Dwayne Smith sending his namesake Odean to the ropes.
Having just been smoked for 16 off his first over, Odean Smith promptly leapt up at mid-off, parrying one-handed and collecting at the second attempt to send Dwayne Smith packing for 16 off 13 balls.
Martin Guptill lasted little longer. Hitting Kesrick Williams for six was his only boundary before the same bowler had him caught by Kieron Pollard at mid-on for nine.
Hashim Amla struck a hat-trick of boundaries off Lamont’s second PowerPlay over, and further sublime touch shots for four took the Tridents to 49/2 at the end of the first six.
Lamont bowled his four overs unchanged. Having made both his first-class and List-A debuts for Jamaica in the past 12 months, he earnt his first Hero CPL wickets and final figures of 2/21 to put the Tridents under the cosh from the start. His second wicket came from a delivery that seemed to stop in the pitch, Shai Hope caught and bowled by the 30-year-old spinner.
With 64-3 at the halfway stage, the Tridents pair of Amla and Shamar Springer were happily rebuilding until Springer swung Cornwall over the legside for six in the eleventh.
Springer was outfoxed by an Obed McCoy slower ball to be well taken at third man by Williams. Nicholas Pooran then got off the mark with a first-ball maximum over extra cover, the most astounding shot of the match on a pitch where most batsman struggled to get the ball away.
A mix up between Amla and Pooran led to a run out with McCoy showed the benefits of football warm-ups in superbly running out the South African for 35, the Tridents down to just their all-rounders with more than five overs to come.
Holder was also undone by a McCoy change-up delivery, chipping straight to Pollard. At 107/6 with three overs left, much relied upon Pooran and Ashley Nurse to take the Tridents to a respectable total, but the very next ball Pooran was caught in the deep for 14 as Williams picked up his second wicket.
The first boundary for five overs came when Imran Khan scythed McCoy through third man for four in the 18th. Another four dabbed past Rahkeem Cornwall at fine leg and a last-over Nurse maximum gave the Tridents fans something to shout about.
Khan finished 12* off 6 and Nurse 14* off 11 – including 13 off the final over – but 135-7 never looked likely to be enough for a Tridents side now needing two wins from their last two games and favours elsewhere to progress.