St Lucia Stars skipper Kieron Pollard kept his team’s CPL season alive with a six-wicket victory over table-toppers Guyana Amazon Warriors at home.
The Stars had bowled superbly to restrict the Warriors to 140/9 but had found run-scoring just as tough themselves; the game was firmly in the balance when Devendra Bishoo stepped up to bowl the 18th over of the run-chase with the Stars still needing 31 to record their second victory of the season.
Six balls later, the scores were level after an astonishing assault from Pollard, who scored 30 off Bishoo smashing three sixes and fours each. Andre Fletcher, who had anchored the run-chase with a mature unbeaten 45 – completed the formalities at the start of the 19th over. Pollard, meanwhile, had catapulted from 11* from 12 balls to end on 41* from 18.
The Stars moved David Warner down to number four in the run-chase, but he was still at the crease pretty swiftly as early wickets left the Stars in a bit of early trouble. Warner walked to the middle after Lendl Simmons and pinch-hitter Rahkeem Cornwall had fallen in identical fashion to Veerasammy Permaul attempting big slog-sweeps and getting their stumps rearranged.
Warner’s busyness at the crease rubbed off on Fletcher, who began to find his range as the score moved on to 71/2 after 11 overs when a heavy downpour forced the players from the field.
The delay came at a bad time for the Stars, who were just beginning to take a firm grip on the chase. And when play resumed Warner was soon on his way for 23 from 16 after he got a healthy edge on an Imran Tahir googly.
Qais Ahmad couldn’t help him the cause either and was bowled by Bishoo for just 6.
But in walked the Stars skipper to take charge.
It had looked like being another difficult night for the Stars when Ronchi (24 from nine) got the Warriors off to a flying start, hitting four fours and a six as the visitors raced to 30/0 from two overs.
The Stars hit back impressively, though, to turn things round and leave the Warriors 41/3 after five overs with Ronchi, Chadwick Walton and key man Shimron Hetmyer all dismissed.
From there the Stars squeezed the innings impressively, with spinners Cornwall and Ahmad rattling through their eight overs for combined figures of 2/42. The pressure brought wickets with it, and after smashing 30 from the first two overs the Warriors made just 67 – at a cost of six wickets – from the next 14.
Sohail Tanvir injected much-needed life into the innings with four fours off Kesrick Williams before being bowled off the inside edge by an Obed McCoy slower ball.
McCoy did an outstanding job at the death, bowling his four overs off the reel for 2/23.
Despite Pollard’s heroics, it was Andre Fletcher who was adjudged player of the match for his anchoring innings.