KINGSTON, Jamaica – The irrepressible Rahkeem Cornwall blasted the second fastest fifty in Caribbean Premier League history as St Lucia Zouks won their first match of their campaign with a commanding five-wicket victory over beleaguered Jamaica Tallawahs last night.
In pursuit of a tricky 171 for victory at Sabina Park, the visitors stormed to their target with 20 balls to spare, to break their two-game losing skid, and also keep star-studded Tallawahs winless from three matches this season.
The run chase belonged to Cornwall who carved out a breathtaking 75 off 30 deliveries, counting four fours and eight sixes in an entertaining innings.
His half-century required a mere 19 balls and it was that momentum, in a sizzling opening stand of 111 off 52 deliveries with Andre Fletcher who made 47 not out, which erased any hope of a Tallawahs win.
Colin de Grandhomme chipped in with 25 from 20 balls and even when West Indies fast bowler Oshane Thomas produced a late burst to claim three for 26 as three wickets tumbled for 11 runs in the space of 15 deliveries, Zouks cantered home with the damage already done.
Opener Glenn Phillips had earlier top-scored with a fluent 58 off 34 deliveries as Tallawahs reached 170 for five off their 20 overs after being sent in.
Rovman Powell chipped in with a swift 44 off 22 balls but his departure and then an unfortunate injury which forced star all-rounder Andre Russell out of the game, then saw Tallawahs decline badly.
Left-arm seamer Obed McCoy (2-32) provided key strikes with the new ball, removing veteran opener Chris Gayle for a first-ball ‘duck’ off one that bounced and shape away, before having Chadwick Walton (8) holing out to deep square off a short ball at 28 for two in the fourth over.
Phillips, who counted eight fours and a six and Powell, who struck a four and five sixes, then came together in a scintillating third wicket stand, adding 87 off just 43 deliveries, to reclaim the momentum.
They were in complete control when Powell forced leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed (2-28) down to de Grandhomme at long off, prompting a slide that saw three wickets fall for 23 runs.
In between, Russell ducked into a short one from South Africa seamer Hardus Viljoen and had to be stretchered off before he had scored.
In reply, Man-of-the-Match Cornwall took the game away from Tallawahs in a savage assault. Dropped on 18 and then again on 36, the right-hander rode his luck with back-to-back sixes off former Test pacer Jerome Taylor in the third over which cost 21 runs before twice clearing the ropes in the sixth over with left-arm spinner George Worker.
He took a turn in pacer Derval Green, clobbering the right-armer for two sixes and a four in the seventh over which leaked 18 runs before finally missing a heave at pacer Shamar Springer and being bowled in the seventh over.
Fletcher, who notched two fours and three sixes, kept Zouks on track by adding 34 with de Grandhomme for the third wicket, and was there at the end for the visitors.