BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Opener Dwayne Smith struck his fifth Twenty20 century and his second in three innings as Barbados Tridents put winless St Lucia Stars out of their misery with a 29-run victory, to edge closer to the playoffs of the Caribbean Premier League here late Thursday night.
Opting to bat first at Kensington Oval in a must-win contest, Tridents piled up an imposing 195 for four off their 20 overs, with Smith stroking an exciting unbeaten 103 off 65 balls.
The right-hander, who struck exactly 100 against Guyana Amazon Warriors in Georgetown 11 days ago, belted five fours and eight sixes to keep the Tridents innings together.
He put on 44 for the first wicket with left-hander Nicholas Pooran who made 32, dominated a 48-run, fourth wicket stand with Eoin Morgan (5) before adding 64 in an unbroken fifth wicket parnership with Chris Barnwell who made 26 not out.
In reply, Stats to their credit made a good fist of it, thanks mainly to the burly Rahkeem Cornwall who blasted an imperious 78 from 44 balls before retiring hurt.
Captain Shane Watson got 22 but no other batsman passed 20 as the Tridents pulled the brakes on the Stars scoring once Cornwall was out of the picture.
Pakistani left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz bowled superbly to finish with one for 15 from his four overs – including an excellent 17th over which cost just two runs.
The victory was crucial for the Tridents as it broke a four-game losing slump and pushed them up to six points. However, they remained two points adrift of Guyana Amazon Warriors in fifth spot, in the race for the final playoff spot.
Pooran did the bulk of the early scoring for Tridents, striking four fours and two sixes before top-edging one from pacer Obed McCoy to the wicketkeeper in the sixth over.
Kane Williamson (2) and captain Kieron Pollard (11) perished cheaply leaving Tridents on 83 for three in the 12th over but Smith took charge of the innings in successive stands with Morgan and Barnwell.
He was unbeaten on 90 at 173 four after 19 overs when a floodlight failure caused a half-hour delay. Once the game resumed, however, Smith clobbered the fourth and fifth deliveries – the first ones he faced – over extra cover for sixes, to reach his landmark in style.
Cornwall, promoted to opener, then put the pressure back on the Tridents with a whirlwind innings.
Cornwall belted seven fours and half-dozen sixes, putting on 38 for the second wicket with Watson, 52 for the third with Johnson Charles (13) and 47 for the fourth with Marlon Samuels before limping out of the game in the 18th over with 49 required from 17 deliveries.Stars lacked momentum once he was gone and the innings crept to a meek finish.