Barbados Tridents 141 for 6 (Charles 47, Santokie 2-25, Viljoen 2-26) beat St Lucia Zouks 117 (Ingram 25, Walsh 4-26, Gurney 3-17) by 24 runs
From coasting towards their target of 142 for the most part of their chase, St Lucia Zouks suddenly batted like staunch believers in Sigmund Freud's theory about the society's deeply repressed death wish, losing their last six wickets for just six runs to hand Barbados Tridents a playoffs berth. Legspinner Hayden Walsh was in the thick of things again, bagging a four-for that included three in a single over. He is now the tournament's highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets in just five matches. He had support from Harry Gurney and Shakib Al Hasan, who struck at crucial points to keep Tridents in the contest before Walsh finished off the lower order.
Johnson Charles led the way with the bat for Tridents after they opted to bat, top-scoring with a 36-ball 47, and with contributions from Shakib Al Hasan (22) and Justin Greaves (27*), they were able to post a competitive 141 on a tired surface. It looked insufficient with Zouks requiring just 31 off 27 balls, but the wicket of Hardus Viljoen swung the pendulum Tridents' way, who went on to win by a comfortable margin of 24 runs.
Charles' measured aggression
Although the Tridents lost Alex Hales early, the manner of dismissal vindicated the decision to bat as the slowness of the surface became apparent. The first three overs, with the ball holding in the surface, were difficult and produced just 12 runs. Then, Johnson Charles found his groove with a slog-swept six off Rahkeem Cornwall, and runs started to flow. A rattled Cornwall fired the next two wide of off and Charles just gave them direction, bisecting short third man and point on both occasions.
The feature of Charles' knock was the measured manner in which he found ways of scoring quickly, on a pitch not conducive to strokeplay. He glanced one fine when Kesrick Williams strayed in line next over as Tridents picked eight from the fifth over before going on the attack in the final over of the Powerplay. Viljoen's pace and predictable length seemed to suit Charles as he clobbered one over long-on, Tridents picking up 13 from the sixth making the tally 36 for the last three overs of the Powerplay. At that stage, they looked set for a bigger score, but as it turned out, they didn't need one.
Ingram, de Grandhomme go berserk
If Tridents were satisfied with the total on the board seeing how the pitch was behaving they wouldn't have been feeling as confident after the start they had with the ball. Even though they managed to dislodge the openers, the runs were flowing. In fact, just as Tridents got a sniff with a wicket, Zouks went on the attack, first through Colin Ingram and then through Colin de Grandhomme. Cornwall had fallen in the fifth over and the last three balls of that over produced just one run.
But Ingram took full advantage of the field restrictions as he tore into Jason Holder in the last over of the Powerplay with a short-arm jab that sailed over deep midwicket, a ferocious cut that cleared the point boundary and a more delicate cut that bisected short third man and backward point. The sixth produced 18, and the seventh was a brief period of calm as only three runs came from it, but in the eighth, de Grandhomme smashed Walsh out of the attack with two sixes, pulled over the leg side, leaving the Zouks requiring under six an over in the last 12 overs.
Gurney's timely blow sets it up for Walsh
The window for Tridents to claw back into the contest was small despite the quick wickets of the set Ingram and de Grandhomme, at least if Zouks batted sensibly. After Viljoen hammered Gurney for a six over deep midwicket to bring the equation down to 31 needed off 28 balls, the left-arm seamer held his nerve and produced an excellent slower ball that stuck in the surface and had Viljoen searching for it with his hands way in front of his body and took the glove before lobbing up for the wicketkeeper to dive forward and pouch it.
That was when Walsh, who had suffered at the hands of de Grandhomme, was immediately reintroduced for a final throw of the dice, and he repaid the faith by running through the lower order, albeit with a lot of help from the batsmen themselves. Chris Barnwell perished caught on the boundary trying to clear the long-off, Darren Sammy holed out to deep midwicket two balls later, and all of a sudden, Walsh was on a hat-trick for the second time in three matches as Krishmar Santokie thought it wise to slog sweep against the turn, resulting in a top edge that was taken smartly by JP Duminy at cow corner. Jeavor Royal survived the hat-trick ball but fittingly, Walsh returned to bowl the penultimate over and sealed the game by dismissing Fawad Ahmed who holed out to long-off.