Three wickets in an over from Hayden Walsh Jr and a superb spell from Harry Gurney turned the Barbados Tridents’ whole season around as they defended 141/6 to defeat St Lucia Zouks and grab the final 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) playoff spot in a winner-takes-all clash at the Kensington Oval.
The Tridents looked to be heading out of the competition when the Zouks had got the target down to 31 runs from 28 balls with six wickets in hand, but Gurney then dismissed Hardus Viljoen before Walsh Jr’s three-wicket burst in the next over made it four wickets in eight balls and turned the match on its head.
Their total looked slightly short at the halfway stage, but with the pressure of a win-or-bust situation, and a pitch offering some assistance to the bowlers, it always promised to be a nervous run-chase for the Zouks.
Nevertheless, the Tridents’ hopes were already fading fast when the asking rate for the Zouks dropped below a run a ball within the powerplay despite the loss of openers Andre Fletcher and Rahkeem Cornwall.
Colin Ingram and Colin de Grandhomme kept the hammer down and got the Zouks so far ahead of the rate that even when they fell in successive overs control of the chase was still firmly in the visitors’ hands.
But first Gurney, and then most dramatically Walsh Jr, changed that with dizzying speed. Viljoen had smashed Gurney for six the ball before his dismissal, making the English left-armer’s slower ball bouncer an even bolder choice. But it did the job with Viljoen early on his shot and gloving through to Johnson Charles.
That triggered a startling collapse, with the Zouks losing their last six wickets for six runs in barely three overs to tumble out of the tournament.
Walsh Jr had Chris Barnwell, Daren Sammy and Krishmar Santokie caught on the boundary in his third over, while Gurney returned to finish off a superb spell of bowling in which he used the helpful conditions expertly by having Kesrick Williams caught on the fence from another deceptive slower ball. He finished with 3/17 from four high-quality overs.
It was Walsh Jr who had the last word, bagging his fourth wicket of the night and tournament-leading 14th of the 2019 Hero CPL to finish off the game and send the Tridents into the playoffs.
It was a fine effort from the Tridents after the heartbreak of the one-run defeat to St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 24 hours earlier that had turned this game into a must-win.
Even on a pitch offering a bit for the bowlers, 141/6 still felt short of what the Tridents would have hoped for after getting over the loss of Alex Hales to Santokie’s slower ball for a duck to post 48/1 in the powerplay. With Charles looking in imperious form and the classy Shakib Al Hasan another major headache for the Zouks, a total in excess of 160 looked on the cards.
Shakib, though, fell just as he was starting to really get going, drilling a slog-sweep off Fawad Ahmed but picking out Ingram who held a stinging catch at deep midwicket.
Charles fell three short of a half-century having hit four fours and two sixes in a 36-ball stay. No other Trident was able to match his ball-striking.
JP Duminy, a record-breaker earlier in the week, made 13 from 18 here before edging the excellent Santokie behind, while there was to be no repeat of last night’s Raymon Reifer fireworks as he holed out for just 3.
Ashley Nurse lifted the total beyond 140 with a six from the final ball of the innings, and thanks to Walsh Jr and Gurney that proved more than adequate.