DESPITE losing their third consecutive game in this year’s Caribbean Premier League on Thursday evening to the Barbados Tridents on D/L Method, the St. Lucia Stars will be praying for better fortunes and hope the rain stays away this weekend for the two matches slated for the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground this weekend.
Today, the Stars will play St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots from 5:00 p.m. The Stars are presently in a bit of a bother as they have lost all of their matches played to date and a win this evening is a must if they are to stay alive or even have a glimpse of hope reaching the playoffs.
On Sunday, St. Lucia Stars will play Guyana Amazon Warriors from 6:00 p.m. at the DSCG. The GAW will be hoping for some kind of miracle to happen, too, so they can kick-start their winning ways.
Meanwhile, on Thursday evening at the DSCG, an unbeaten 60 by St. Lucia Stars captain Daren Sammy (his 50 came off 23 deliveries) and a heavy downpour save the Stars from any further humiliation at the hands of the Barbados Tridents.
But the evening belonged to Kieron Pollard, who led the way in a 21-run victory (DLS method) for his team with a whirlwind 83 not out off 35 balls to help the Barbados Tridents to 196 for 6, the second highest score at the DSCG and a total that proved too much for the Stars in a rain-affected chase.
Tridents were given a solid start after winning the toss and electing bat, albeit unspectacular, by their opening pair of Kane Williamson and Dwayne Smith. Their partnership of 72 came at a healthy rate of 7.84 runs per over and included eight fours and two sixes.
It took an excellent piece of fielding by Jesse Ryder, diving forward at short third man off the bowling of Kyle Mayers, to remove Smith for 36 who had edged a wide yorker. The very next ball, the Tridents lost their second wicket when Shoaib Malik cut a wide ball straight to Ryder at point.
After the double-blow, the Tridents appeared happy to consolidate but Williamson struggled and eventually fell to another excellent catch in the deep on the leg side by Marlon Samuels. After 14 overs, the Tridents were 96 for 3.
It was then that Pollard kicked into gear. Off the final six overs of the innings, the Tridents plundered an astonishing 100 runs, with Pollard scoring 77 of them. Pollard’s innings was one of typical muscular power, with boundaries clubbed straight, clipped over mid-wicket or heaved through square leg.
Nicolas Pooran briefly threatened to match Pollard’s onslaught, hitting consecutive sixes off Jerome Taylor in the 17th over before being caught attempting a third the very next ball. That left Pollard to take on Taylor alone, and take him on he did.
Through a mixture of poor bowling, indifferent fielding and awesome power, Pollard seized an incredible 36 runs off Taylor’s last eight deliveries, including 28 off the last over as the St. Lucia Stars wilted in the face of Pollard’s might.
The Stars required a record run-chase at the venue to win the match and were given an encouraging start by Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles who took 36 off the first three overs. The Tridents were fortunate to get the breakthrough when they did, Charles mis-timing a loose first delivery from Wahab Riaz straight to deep mid-wicket.
It was then that things began to dramatically unravel for the Stars. In the space of 16 balls, they lost five wickets, sliding from 36 for 0 to 53 for 5. Fletcher was caught pulling off Wahab by Pollard at square leg; Kamran Akmal was caught pulling off Imran Khan by Pollard at mid-wicket and both Marlon Samuels and Shane Watson fell driving loosely outside off stump to consecutive balls from Wayne Parnell. Ryder with also gone shortly after, caught mis-timing a pull off Parnell and in a matter of moments the Stars middle order had been gutted.
A rain shower delayed proceedings but when the players returned the match was sparked into life by Daren Sammy, who razed the fastest fifty of the season off just 23 balls. Yet, just as it seemed that the Stars had found a way back into the contest, the rain returned once more and with the Stars 21 runs shy of the DLS target, the match was completed.