Gros Islet, St Lucia: The St. Lucia Zouks and Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel got their Hero Caribbean Premier League underway, but unfortunately a game that was well poised was ruined by a rain storm that left the field unfit for play. The home side would have been confident of victory having set the Red Steel a target of 180 to win. Only five balls were bowled in the second innings of the game so no result was possible.
The Zouks got off to a phenomenal start on an excellent pitch at the Beausejour Cricket Ground that offered pace and bounce reaching 53-1 inside the Powerplay overs. Andre Fletcher was in brutal form from the very start on his way to a swashbuckling 57. He nearly departed in the first over when he chipped the ball to midwicket off the bowling of Dwayne Bravo but it fell agonisingly short of the diving fielder.
While Fletcher was in fine fettle Johnson Charles could not match his returns. The best of his shots came off the bowling of Jacques Kallis whom he smashed down the ground for four. Off the next ball he chipped a Kallis off cutter into the waiting hands of Johan Botha at a short mid-wicket, dismissed for just 16 off nine balls.
That brought Kevin Pietersen to the crease who didn’t play with the same force with which Fletcher was hitting the ball, but he looked in excellent touch and seemed to be timing the ball well. He was happy to work the ball around and give the strike back to Fletcher.
The Red Steel spinners, Botha and Sulieman Benn, tried to combine to keep the scoring under control in the middle overs but both Fletcher and Pietersen were able to rotate the strike and find the boundary. They brought up a 50 partnership in just 37 balls, getting there when Pietersen launched Benn for a huge six over wide long on.
That shot off the tall off spinner seemed to be the catalyst to Pietersen moving through the gears, although there was an extremely close LBW shout when the Englishman tried to switch hit Kevon Cooper. Pietersen departed for 42 off 26 balls when he tried to hit Samuel Badree for six into the wind only to get caught on the boundary.
Fletcher’s excellent innings came to an end when he became the second wicket for Kallis when he was caught by Botha at long on. The Kallis spell of 2-31 was the best return for any Red Steel bowler and although it has been some time since he last played competitive cricket he clearly has not forgotten how it is done.
Some lusty blows from Darren Sammy and a well-made 27 off 16 balls by Henry Davids got the Zouks up to a very competitive total of 179-6. They would have felt confident of defending that score with a bouncy track and three fast bowlers at their disposal.
The Red Steel began their chase well enough, with Jacques Kallis scoring 10 runs in the five balls that he faced. Both came from boundaries. The first a glorious straight drive for four and the second a flicked six over midwicket.
Unfortunately that was when the rain came and despite the best efforts of the ground staff a heavy downpour then turned to persistent drizzle. It stopped raining but the ground was not fit for play before the official cut off time and the game had to be abandoned.