CPL 2018: Kieron Pollard blitz gives Stars much-needed win over Warriors
Kieron Pollard produced another enthralling performance with the bat (Getty Images

Kieron Pollard continued his excellent form in the CPL 2018 and guided St Lucia Stars home against Guyana Amazon Warriors by six wickets on Saturday. Pollard struck an electric 18-ball 41, including 30 off one over, and successfully chased down 141 with 11 balls remaining. With that effort, Stars skipper Pollard now leads the batting charts with 284 runs from seven matches at an impressive average of 56.80.

In a slow start to the chase, the Stars lost Lendl Simmons and Rahkeem Cornwall in a span of three deliveries, post which David Warner and Andre Fletcher attempted at rebuilding the innings with a 52-run stand. Warner, coming down the order, once again looked uncomfortable but was able to score at over a run a ball. His 16-ball 23 wasn’t the prettiest but it allowed Fletcher time at the other end to take on the bowlers.

Guyana’s bowling was disciplined for the most part with Sohail Tanvir, despite going wicketless, churned out three economical overs for 15 runs. Of the four Stars wickets to fall, two belonged to Veerasammy Permaul, who cleaned up both Simmons and Cornwall. With the scoring rate well below required, Guyana attempted to pull things back and reduced the equation to 31 needed off the final three.

Then came the over that turned the game on its head. Pollard, who had walked out in the 15th over at the dismissal of Qais Ahmad – cleaned up by Devendra Bishoo – got ready to face the legspinner and delivered the knock-out punch. He tonked his West Indies teammate for 6, 6, 4, 6, 4 and 4 in the over to bring the equation down to 1 off 12. The formalities were taken care of in the next delivery, keeping Pollard unbeaten on 41 off 18.

Lack of a substantial contribution was Guyana’s biggest miss of the night. As many as four batsmen got starts but none was able to convert it into anything significant. Luke Ronchi was off to a flyer, scoring 24 off eight before fellow New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan sent him back. Cameron Delport did the hard work but struggled to rotate the strike to eventually manage 25 off 33. Again, no acceleration. The failure of Shoaib Malik (out for 9) meant that it was the lower order (Tanvir and Rayad Emrit) who had to stick out 20 overs and were able to push the total to 140.

With two wins from seven matches, Pollard’s Stars continue to remain at the bottom of the standings but the win promises to serve as a huge boost to their dodgy campaign.

“Restricting them to 140 was fantastic on a ground and a pitch like this. When we were in Guyana, we were in a similar position but we let it slip, but Fletcher did superbly to anchor this innings,” Pollard said. “We rushed through things in the last game and this Guyana line up had a lot of spinners. I backed myself to take them on and it was a team decision to keep me at No.6.”

Guyana on the other hand, have played fewer matches and are second behind defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders with three wins from five games.

“It would’ve been better if we’d won this game,” Guyana captain Shoaib Malik said. “Credit to St Lucia’s bowlers to keep us down to 140 on this good track. The first three batters haven’t performed for us, but they are experienced enough to come back hard. As a batting unit, we need to do a little more, but the bowling unit has fired well.”

Brief scores: Guyana Amazon Warriors 140/9 in 20 overs (Cameron Delport 25, Luke Ronchi 24; Obed McKay 2-23, Kesrick Williams 2-23) lost to St Lucia Stars 141/4 in 18.1 overs (Andre Fletcher 45, Kieron Pollard 41*; Veerasammy Permaul 2-20) by six wickets.