Zouks look to build on home


After winning their opening match of the Caribbean Premier League 2016 (CPL) against Trinbago Knight Riders, and following that up with three consecutive defeats, St Lucia Zouks have brought their campaign back on track with a convincing victory against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in their first home game of the season.In a stadium named after Darren Sammy, the Zouks’ skipper blazed away to a quickfire half-century to set up the emphatic 35-run win. What the win has done for the perennially lower-rung team in the competition, apart from providing momentum, is that it has placed them well to make a bid for qualification for the playoffs. They would look to further their chances with a good show against Barbados Tridents when they take on the reigning champions on Saturday (July 23) at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet.The last time the two sides faced off against each other, it was Nicholas Pooran’s 39-ball 81 that sealed the match in favour of Tridents. Not much has changed on the batting front for the hosts since then. There have been occasional individual performances in every match that have stood out, but the lack of consistency is a matter of concern for the Zouks. While the veteran Australian duo – Michael Hussey and Shane Watson – haven’t been at their best, David Miller’s show has been a massive let-down. Sammy’s knock in the previous match helped them save the blushes for an otherwise ordinary batting display.The bowling hasn’t done any better either, with the side conceding over 150 runs every time the opposition batted first.Barbados Tridents, meanwhile, have a well-settled top order with Shoaib Malik leading the charge well with Kyle Hope and Pooran doing their bits time and again. Kieron Pollard has looked assured in the death overs, much unlike his captaincy where he tends to get too animated when things aren’t going his side’s way.On the bowling front, Ravi Rampaul and David Wiese have bowled with good pace throughout the tournament and bagged wickets at crucial intervals. They have adopted an attacking approach, grabbing wickets by heaps to keep the opposition’s run-scoring in check. However, it is the absence of AB de Villiers and Wayne Parnell, who have been recalled to the South African side which has massively dented their strength.The thumping defeat against Jamaica Tallawahs in the previous encounter has only ruffled their momentum in the campaign further. At the same time, the fact that it exposed their inability to deliver against a counter-attack may have only helped them iron out the flaws and become a stronger unit.With only three more games to go in the league phase for Tridents, the visitors cannot afford too many slip-ups. Having played only five matches so far, Zouks are slightly better placed in that regard.When: St Lucia Zouks vs Barbados Tridents, 22nd Match, July 23, 12:00 PM localWhere: Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St LuciaWhat they said:“Any given day, our openers can click. We will be playing consistently now and I can see the team improving. I urge St. Lucia’s crowd to come out and support us.” -Darren Sammy, St Lucia Zouks captain”There is a lot of introspection to take place in the next few days. Losing players should not be an excuse. We need to find a way and scrap through to the playoffs.” – Kieron Pollard, Barbados Tridents skipper after the defeat against Jamaica Tallawahs.Squads:St Lucia Zouks: Johnson Charles, Shane Watson, Andre Fletcher(w), Michael Hussey, David Miller, Darren Sammy(c), Kyle Mayers, Grant Elliott, Derone Davis, Shane Shillingford, Kristopher Ramsaran, Delorn Johnson, Eddie Leie, Morne Morkel, Keron Cottoy, Fidel Edwards, Nitish Kumar, Keddy Lesporis, Gidron Pope, Miguel CumminsBarbados Tridents: Kieron Pollard (C), AB de Villiers, Shoaib Mallik, Nicolas Pooran, Ravi Rampaul, David Wiese, Robin Pietersen, Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse, Wayne Parnell, Akeil Hosein, Imran Khan, Kyle Hope, Naveen Stewart, Kyle Corbin, Steven Taylor, Shamar Springer, Jason Holder.

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