CPL

Stars breaks record winless streak on the back of Pollard ton

By CPL August 18, 2018
A triumphant Kieron Pollard led the Stars to a well-needed victory with his maiden T20 hundred in St. Lucia on Friday night. A triumphant Kieron Pollard led the Stars to a well-needed victory with his maiden T20 hundred in St. Lucia on Friday night. CPL

A maiden T20 hundred from skipper Kieron Pollard, at last, propelled St Lucia Stars to a first Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) victory in 15 matches as the disappointment of 24 hours earlier was washed away in a dominant 38-run victory over Barbados Tridents.

 

The Stars had appeared certain to end their losing streak a day earlier against Trinbago Knight Riders but failed to defend 85 in the last five overs to slide to a demoralizing five-wicket loss.

 

The schedule, though, presented the Stars with the chance to put things right immediately, and it was their captain who led by example, blasting his way to a six-laden 53-ball century – remarkably his first in T20s in his 384th innings – and sharing a sparkling 148-run partnership with Andre Fletcher (80 from 52) in a Hero CPL record score of 226/6.

 

And, despite 58 off 45 from Tridents opener Dwayne Smith, there was to be no repeat of the previous night’s heartbreak as Barbados’ run-chase stalled in the middle overs and came up well short on 188/6.

 

The Stars needed a good start with the ball to stop the old doubts resurfacing, and Mitchell McClenaghan provided it. The experienced New Zealander gave up just 20 runs in three Power Play overs with the new ball and picked up the key wicket of his international team-mate Martin Guptill.

 

Leg-spinner Qais Ahmad, who didn’t bowl a single ball in defeat to the Knight Riders, then stopped the run-chase in its tracks conceding just 29 from four overs bowled off the reel in the middle of the innings and picking up the big wickets of Dwayne Smith and Hashim Amla.

 

The required rate was up to 17 – the point it reached with five overs to against the Knight Riders, but this time with eight overs remaining.

 

It was too much. Nicholas Pooran smashed a couple over the ropes but was deceived by an Obed McCoy slower ball attempting a third and sliced the ball to deep extra-cover where David Warner held a steepling catch.

 

Steve Smith slapped three fours in the 16th over from namesake Odean Smith, but by now the required rate was well into the 20s.

 

Understandably perhaps, the Stars were visibly nervous as they looked to close out the game after such a long winless streak. McClenaghan’s final over cost 24 runs with Shai Hope hitting two sixes and Smith another. It would ultimately prove telling that those three sixes doubled the Tridents’ tally for the innings on a pitch that had seen more than 50 Hero Maximums in the previous three innings.

 

The relief around the Daren Sammy Stadium was palpable when Steve Smith perished in the next over, carving McCoy to deep point to depart for 28 from 16 balls. Finally, with the Tridents’ target reaching 58 from 12, the players and supporters in St Lucia could relax.

 

The Stars had made it clear right from the start of their innings that their response to the previous day’s disappointment was going to be an aggressive one.

 

Fletcher, the one batsman to miss out for the Stars against the Knight Riders, went after Mohammad Irfan from the off with the second and third balls of the innings disappearing into the stands. The next two both went for four and the Stars had 20 on the board after the first over.

 

Warner perhaps caught up in the excitement of Fletcher’s early fireworks, flashed at the second ball of Jason Holder’s opening over to be caught behind.

 

Rahkeem Cornwall continued his pinch-hitting role at number three and he too took the fight straight to the Tridents attack. It was shot-a-ball stuff from the big all-rounder who hit two fours and three big Hero Maximums to reach 30 in just 10 balls before skying Wahab Riaz to mid-off.

 

Wahab had been held back until the second half of the innings in the Tridents’ opening victory in Guyana, but Holder had little option but to turn to him early here such was the extent of the carnage as the Stars raced to 56/1 from the first four overs. It paid off, with Lendl Simmons adjudged lbw to the very next ball after Cornwall’s departure.

 

It was clear, though, that the Stars were not in the mood to take the foot off the pedal here. The return of Irfan saw Fletcher carving a six over point and four more inside-out over extra cover as a breathless Power Play ended with 67/3 on the board.

 

Kieron Pollard, on the back of that 18-ball 50 against the Knight Riders, was soon also clearing the boundaries against his former team as the Stars raced to three-figures before the halfway stage of the innings.

 

Two boundaries for the Stars skipper took him into the 40s as 11 runs from Irfan’s final over saw the left-armer bring up his own unwanted half-century.

 

Fletcher and Pollard both reached half-centuries, in 34 and 33 balls respectively, but the Tridents were able to keep a lid on the scoring with only 41 runs coming from five overs between the 12thand 16th of the innings.

 

Ashley Nurse, Holder and Wahab were all giving the Tridents some control, but Barbados’ problems were Irfan and Reifer.

 

The return of Reifer for over 17 got the Stars back into top gear as Fletcher swatted a high no-ball for six and then dispatched the resultant free-hit for another Hero Maximum and then drilling the last ball of the over downtown for six more.

 

Holder couldn’t stem the flow this time as Pollard pulverised a short ball over midwicket onto the grass bank before going even bigger next ball as he sent a full delivery screaming high over the pavilion.

 

Another Pollard six brought up the 200 at the start of the 19th over; it was the 50th six in three innings at the Daren Sammy Stadium.

 

And the man himself was at the crease moments later when Fletcher fell for 80 from 52 as an attempted ramp found only short fine-leg.

 

A four through midwicket took Pollard into the 90s and with it his highest T20 score. A pair of scampered twos took Pollard to 98 and kept him on strike to launch another six down the ground and register that elusive first T20 hundred. He fell to the next ball, with Sammy following to his first, but it mattered not. This time, at last, the Stars had enough.

 

Related items

  • Opinion: CWI First-Class title to Barbados untidy but not contentious Opinion: CWI First-Class title to Barbados untidy but not contentious

    The Cricket West Indies (CWI) decision to award the Regional first-class title to runaway leaders Barbados Pride in its aborted season is untidy, although widely accepted.

    The Pride were dominant all season and I am quite sure they would have emerged champions in a completed 2019-20 campaign but the fact is their lead was not impregnable with two rounds remaining.

    To declare the season annulled must have been a huge consideration, primarily because the championship was incomplete and an outcome contrary to the current standings was still possible, even if unlikely.

    These unforeseen circumstances should now force the CWI’s competition organisers to include a section in the conditions covering an incomplete season.

    With 134.8 points, the Pride were a massive 40.2 points ahead of nearest rivals T&T Red Force (94.6) after eight completed rounds with the dethroned champions Guyana Jaguars and the Jamaica Scorpions joint third on 91.8 points.

    The maximum points on offer for any winning team for each round in the 10-game home and away format is 24 points, meaning the second-placed Red Force could have finished with 142.6 points after the 10 completed rounds, clearly ahead of where the Barbados Pride are now.

    No one could have foreseen the dramatic turn of events in all our lives the COVID-19 Pandemic has triggered and massive decisions have had to be made.

    The CWI Board of Directors “unanimously agreed” to award the Headley/Weekes Trophy to the Barbados Pride on the basis that a huge majority of the season (80%) had been completed and on projection and form it was reasonable to deduce that the Pride would have gone on to easily top the championship table. The Pride needed a mere 7.8 points from their remaining two games to secure the title and their performance curve was comfortably heading there.

    Add to that, their fast-bowling battery poised to earn valuable pace-bowling points -- world-class Test bowlers Jason Holder and Kemar Roach plus Chemar Holder and Keon Harding, No.2 and No.7 respectively on the list of the championship’s most prolific wicket-takers.

    The CWI would have also considered recent precedents in the issue. In New Zealand, the 26-point league-leaders Wellington Firebirds were declared winners of their National Plunket Shield with the last two rounds of the competition cancelled even though their lead was not unassailable.

    New South Wales (NSW) were also given the Sheffield Shield title in Australia after the cancellation of the final also as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. NSW were declared champions after “leading the competition through nine rounds" Cricket Australia said in a statement.

    The CWI’s decision to award the Pride their first title since back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014 had “no dissenting voices” in the Board room and I have, up to this point, heard not a single complaint about the unorthodox decision.

    I am eagerly awaiting the 2019-20 English Premier League football conclusion. Big leaders Liverpool are 25 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City and need six more points to be mathematically sure of the title. The push is to have the season completed no matter what but should it happen that the season is incomplete, would they award Liverpool the title?

    Boxing has some clearly defined rules regarding aborted bouts, if for instance injury – example an accidental head-butt -- terminates a world championship contest. A technical draw, a virtual no-result, if the bout is halted within the first five rounds (halfway stage) but if the bout is halted beyond the halfway stage, a winner is declared by a “technical decision” based on who is leading on the scorecards at the point of the stoppage.

    There is room for a leader being awarded a victory in an aborted competition, but I am more accepting of it, if the pre-existing rules stated it.

    This uncontested CWI decision to crown the Barbados Pride may have also been an example of stakeholders recognizing in these times of a sweeping worldwide pandemic taking tens of thousands of lives, that understanding and compassion are human virtues winning over fighting and quarreling, which I guess is good.

    Congrats to the Barbados Pride though who are rewarded for being the undisputed best in the championship.

    They stuttered in an opening-game loss to the Windward Islands Volcanoes but then reeled off five consecutive wins over the Jaguars, Scorpions and Leeward Islands Hurricanes before a revenge win in the sixth round over the Volcanoes, and, to accentuate their supremacy, lashed five-time defending champions Jaguars by a massive 235 runs to close out the shortened season.

  • Polly wants mentally, physically stronger Windies post-COVID-19 Polly wants mentally, physically stronger Windies post-COVID-19

    West Indies Limited overs captain Kieron Pollard is asking his players to, not just stay safe during the most worrying times in recent history with the massive spread of COVID-19, but is also telling them to be ready for when normalcy returns.

    According to Pollard, while the spread of COVID-19 has brought sport around the world to a halt, there is an opportunity for West Indies players to improve.

    “I think it is a good time for introspection, a good time for reflection, a good time to look at where you are as an individual, in your career and what you want to achieve going forward,” said the skipper, a man not known to mince words.

    The West Indies have been sporadically producing good results under Pollard’s watch, but the big all-rounder has craved consistency, something he says will come with a better mental approach.

    That approach, thanks to COVID-19, can be honed during this time off.

    “[…] you have to take the time to do that and also to keep yourself in physical shape and mentally as well because when the bell rings and you hear ‘ok everything is back to normal and we need to go on tour,’ there might not be enough time to prepare so you, yourself as an individual have to be prepared mentally in order for you to try to perform at your best,” he said.

    According to Pollard his public statements won’t count as new to the players.

    “[…] guys have been notified as to where they need to be and the onus is on individuals to try and meet those requirements,” said Pollard.

  • Should the Barbados Pride have been rewarded with the West Indies Championship? Should the Barbados Pride have been rewarded with the West Indies Championship?

    The Barbados Pride were crowned kings of the West Indies Championship even though the season ended with two games yet to play. Is there are an argument that they are undeserving?

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.