KINGSTON, Jamaica – Woeful St Lucia Stars plummeted to their 14th defeat on the trot, going down to Jamaica Tallawahs by six wickets in the seventh match of the Caribbean Premier League last night.
The visitors did well to get up to 175 all out off their 20 overs after opting for the first knock at Sabina Park but the hosts produced a measured run chase to get home with two balls to spare, to post their second straight win.
Kiwi opener Glenn Phillips lashed 58 off 40 balls while West Indies star Rovman Powell steered Tallawahs home with a typically entertaining unbeaten 43 from 23 deliveries.
Stars have now lost the opening three fixtures of this year’s tournament and lie bottom of the table, and have now not won a game in the tournament since the 2016 edition, after having the dubious honour of going winless last season.
Opener Andre Fletcher top-scored with 43 from 33 balls with five fours and two sixes while former captain Darren Sammy chipped in with 36 and current skipper Kieron Pollard, 26.
Man-of-the-Match leg-spinner Adam Zampa (3-27) and fast bowler Oshane Thomas (3-39) spearheaded the Tallawahs attack.
Australian David Warner’s poor form continued when he played on to Thomas for seven in the second over but Fletcher and Lendl Simmons (22) combined in a 54-run second wicket stand to repair the innings.
Simmons looked ominous, striking a four and a couple of sixes but his dismissal, well taken at extra cover by Johnson Charles off seamer Andre Russell, triggered a slide which saw three wickets tumble for 23 runs.
In need of a partnership, Sammy and Pollard put on 36 for the fifth wicket, setting the stage for a late assault which never came, as neither could conjure up the necessary acceleration required.
Sammy belted two fours and three sixes off 24 deliveries while Pollard struggled in a 22-ball knock, gathering only a brace of fours and a single six.
In reply, Tallawahs got out of the blocks well, as Phillips combined with Charles (31) in an 81-run opening stand to put Stars on the back foot.
While Phillips blasted two fours and half-dozen sixes, Charles counted four fours and six in a 20-ball outing.
Both fell in the space of 19 runs, however, and when Andre McCarthy (20) holed out to Pollard running in from long-on off left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan, Tallawahs were stumbling somewhat at 125 for three in the 15th over – still needing 51 runs from 30 balls.
But Powell took charge of the back end of the run chase, slamming two fours and four sixes, dominating a 38-run, fourth wicket stand with Russell (3).
With Tallawahs needing eight runs from the final over, Powell got a single from the first ball before Ross Taylor (eight not out) cleared the ropes at mid-wicket with Pollard off the third ball to virtually put the game to bed.
After the game, Pollard insisted his struggling side still possessed the self-belief to turn around their fruitless campaign so far.
“I’ve played in enough franchises. I’ve played in a franchise where everyone thought we were dead and we came back and won the tournament,” Pollard said.
“So for me in my mind, the belief is still there and in the mind of the guys, the belief is still there. Until we are mathematically out of this tournament we will continue to fight and we will continue to fight hard,” he added.
Stars suffered a 100-run crushing by reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders on the opening night of the tournament in Port of Spain a week ago, before also losing to Guyana Amazon Warriors by three runs in Georgetown three days later.
Pollard pointed that errors in the field had been their undoing.
“It’s the nature of the game. In order to win games and to win championships you have to concentrate for 40 overs and we haven’t been doing that,” Pollard explained.
“Having said that batting first on that pitch everyone thought it was a bad decision but I think 175 was always going to be a challenging total.
“We brought it right down to the end and taking a couple of our catches and bowling a couple more tight overs and it could have been a different ball game.”
Stars take on Trinidad Knight Riders again tomorrow night in Gros Islet before clashing with 2014 champions Barbados Tridents at the same venue the following night.