(CPL T20) The St. Lucia Zouks delivered a near-perfect performance against CPL debutants the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots to register their first win of the season.
Two early wickets each for Fidel Edwards and Shannon Gabriel reduced the Patriots to 21-4 inside the Powerplay and despite a fifty from Marlon Samuels that elevated the Patriots to 149-6, a brutal innings from Johnson Charles saw the Zouks cruise to victory with more than four overs remaining.
After losing their top four early, having won the toss and elected to bat, Samuels, who scored 52, in partnership with Devon Thomas, who scored 34, helped haul the Patriots to a more respectable score. Sohail Tanvir also chipped in with 26.
The pick of the bowlers for the Zouks was Gabriel who finished with 3-19, but Edwards also took 2-29 while leg-spinner Eddie Leie bowled four economical overs, conceding just 16 runs.
Samuels’ fifty will have given the Patriots hope that they could challenge the Zouks, however that hope wasn’t accounting for the batting of Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles. Just as the pair did against the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel they came out all guns blazing, and after four boundary filled overs had carried the Zouks to 47-0 and then by the end of the Powerplay 61-0.
Fletcher fell in the ninth over for 48 and Kyle Mayers departed shortly after, however Charles continued his onslaught and with Kevin Pietersen alongside him continued to surge the Zouks onwards.
Even when Pietersen fell that didn’t stop Charles who moved beyond fifty and the Patriots were powerless to stop him and with Ross Taylor at the crease the Zouks completed victory with 26 balls to spare and seven wickets in hand. Charles finished 69 not out, smiting five sixes and three fours in a remarkable innings.
There was little to be said of the Patriots bowling which was helpless in the fact of the onslaught but Canadian Nikhil Dutta did bowl nicely, taking 2-32 from his four overs.
The Zouks had chased what was not an easy score with loads of time to spare and in doing so have sent out a message to the other teams that this year they are serious contenders. The Zouks play the Guyana Amazon Warriors tomorrow next while the Patriots play top of the table Barbados Tridents on Saturday.
Man of the Match: Shannon Gabriel