CPL 2018: Pollard maiden ton snaps St Lucia’s losing streak
A jubilant Kieron Pollard celebrates his maiden CPL century (Getty Images)

A day earlier, Kieron Pollard had done everything right with the bat, but let it all slip once he had the ball in hand. This time however, against the Barbados Tridents, St. Lucia Stars’ skipper opted not to bowl a single over, and instead, made up for his two dreadful overs in the previous game, by hammering his maiden CPL century off 53 balls. This was Stars’ second straight score of 200-plus – they posted 226 – but unlike the blemish previous night, the bowlers held their nerves and registered a 38-run win over Tridents.

The win is Stars’ first this season, breaking a 747-day drought and a 15-match losing streak. Pollard led the way, but there were other significant contributions too. Andre Fletcher’s 80 was equally significant, considering that five of Stars’ batsmen did not open their accounts. When it came to defending the total, it was Obed McCoy, whose 3/28 applied the brakes eveytime Tridents attempted to accelerate by getting a partnership going.

But it was always going to be a tough ask., especially when barring Dwayne Smith, no other batsmen could tear into the attack. Nicholas Pooran, Steve Smith and Shai Hope, all got starts but none could convert. Tridents began the chase well at almost 10 an over with Smith doing the bulk of the scoring before Mitchell McClenaghan cleaned up his New Zealand teammate Martin Guptill. And while Qais Ahmad removed the ominous-looking Smith and later Hashim Amla, it was McCoy, who got the crucial wickets in the middle order.

Tridents got partnerships going even after losing the first wicket. Dwayne Smith and Amla accounted for 48 runs for the second wicket, followed by a 58-run stand between Pooran and Steve Smith for the fifth. Towards the end, with the asking rate touching 14, their batsmen were stifled.

The highlight of the match was always going to be the faceoff between Steve Smith and David Warner, the former Australian captain and vice-captain currently serving year-long bans for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal that rocked the cricketing world in March. But Warner, who had a cold start to the tournament but seemed to have gotten some form going following his 72 in the last game, registered the first duck of the night, out second ball. There onward, it was the Fletcher and Pollard show.

Steve Smith looked solid during his innings but succumbled under the pressure of a dauting asking rate.