St Lucia do the double over Shakib’s Jamaica
Guyana Amazon Warriors jumped up to top spot as Chris Gayle's Jamaica Tallawahs lost to Darren Sammy-led St Lucia Zouks for the second time in three days.
An exceptional batting performance - led by openers Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles, combined with a disciplined bowling show helped Zouks record a 14-run win on Sunday (July 31) in what was the final game of the US leg at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Lauderhill, Florida.
The result has no bearings on the play-offs scenario.
Asked to bat first, Zouks had a steady beginning as Fletcher and Charles slowly but steadily began to find and clear the fence.
Fletcher kick-started the influx of boundaries, with a six off Imad Wasim in the third over, but it was Charles who played a more dominant role in the powerplay overs.
After guiding their side to 48 for no wicket in the first six overs, Charles and Fletcher scored a minimum of two boundaries for the next four, including a 22-run over off Timroy Allen, during which Charles brough up his 27-ball half-century.
Slow left-arm spin of Garey Mathurin arrested to manic run-flow in the 12th over and ended a sensational 104-run opening stand as Charles failed to clear Chadwick Walton at deep mid wicket, after scoring a big six off the previous delivery.
Charles's 35-ball 64 was studded with nine fours and two sixes. Fletcher ensured the wicket didn't throw the Zouks off guard and continued to pile on the runs, reaching his second successive half-century, off 43 deliveries, in the 15th over.
Michael Hussey, who arrived at the fall of Charles's dismissal, couldn't match the might of the West Indian openers and fell for a 11-ball 8 while trying to go over the top. The wicket brought retired Aussie Shane Watson to the crease, whose frenzied essay gave Zouks the chance to sprint to a commendable finish.
At 136 for 2 in 16 overs, Tallawahs would've hoped to chase something in the range of 160-170. Fletcher's fall in the following over, but a 17-ball knock of 42 from Watson, 30 of which came off sixes, powered the Zouks to 194 for 3.
Fletcher, who fell in the 18th over, smashed four fours and fives sixes in his 54-ball 70.
The chase was right up Chris Gayle's alley but the Tallawahs' captain was dismissed inside the powerplay overs after he briefly gave his fans the hope of something special.
Watson was at the other end of Gayle's dismissal, as the big West Indian took the aerial route but was caught out by his opposite number at the edge of the fence at long on.
Shane Shillingford and David Miller combined to dent the Tallawahs further as Walton's slog was expertly taken by the South African after covering good ground from long on and latching onto the ball on the run.
Kumar Sangakkara, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Timroy Allen and Alex Cross got starts but couldn't carry on to drag the chase till the end as the Zouks bowlers were on the mark, constantly chipping away at the wickets.
With 43 to get from 18 balls and Shakib al Hasan at the crease, Tallawahs were still in with a chance of pulling off the improbable.
Watson and Jerome Taylor, however, bowled two exceptional overs under pressure to leave Gayle's men with 30 to get from the last six, which they couldn't, falling short by 17 runs.
Brief Scores: St Lucia Zouks 194/3 in 20 overs (Andre Fletcher 70, Johnson Charles 64, Shane Watson 42; Rovman Powell 2-45) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 177/6 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 30, Rovman Powell 28; Shane Shillingford 2-30) by 17 runs