St Lucia Zouks powered through to their maiden Caribbean Premier League final after handing the Guyana Amazon Warriors a crushing ten-wicket defeat in Trinidad. After having had stormed into the semifinals with four wins on the trot, the Warriors crashed out of the CPL in quite the anticlimatic fashion. For a side that was high on momentum, all they managed on Tuesday (September 8) was the second-lowest total in the CPL's history after being skittled for just 55 in 13.4 overs. St Lucia Zouks, in reply, needed just 4.3 overs to cruise past the finish line.
In the 27 balls they faced, the Zouks struck five fours and four sixes, much in contrast to the Warriors, who managed only two each through their innings. It all began with Scott Kuggeleijn, who was on the brink of a hat-trick after the fourth ball after Darren Sammy had asked the Warriors to bat. An edge from Brandon King followed by Shimron Hetmyer shouldering arms to one heading for the poles pegged the Warriors back. They lost wickets at regular intervals thereafter to the point of no return. Runs dried up and the innings was going nowhere, with only three batsmen reaching double figures, trapped in the web woven by the Zouks' spinners, who picked the remaining eight wickets as all the bowlers returned a wicket at least. Only opener Chandrapaul Hemraj stuck around until the 13th over for his 26-ball 25 other than which, the scorecard tells a sorry tale.
In a paltry chase and with one foot in the final already, Rahkeem Cornwall and Mark Deyal were ruthless in the chase. Cornwall smashed the otherwise economical Chris Green for two sixes over deep midwicket to set the tone in the first over. Deyal followed suit, as back-to-back boundaries in the second had Imran Tahir concede 13 runs too with the Zouks in cruise mode. The openers crossed the line soon after, completing the fastest chase in the history of T20 franchise cricket, with the second semifinal lasting just 17.1 overs.
Nothing but a win like that could, perhaps, give the Zouks the much-needed confidence to go up against the Trinbago Knight Riders in the final, who are unbeaten in the competition so far. After winning all their 10 group stage game, they annihilated the Jamaica Tallawahs by nine wickets in the semifinal to make yet another final appearance. In their first CPL final ever, up against three-time champions, can the Zouks halt the Knight Riders' juggernaut - a winning streak which has now stretched to 11?
Brief scores: Guyana Amazon Warriors 55 in 13.4 overs (Chandrapaul Hemraj 25; Mark Deyal 2-2, Zahir Khan 2-12, Scott Kuggeleijn 2-12, Roston Chase 2-15) lost to St Lucia Zouks 56/0 in 4.3 overs (Rahkeem Cornwall 32*, Mark Deyal 19*) by 10 wickets.
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