St Lucia Zouks: The Caribbean Premier League franchise has entered the knockouts for the second time in the history of the league.
These are not eight randomly placed digits but Caribbean Premier League franchise St Lucia Zouks’ position on the points table in each season of the tournament starting from 2013.
CPL is a rare T20 league which has seen teams completing the league stage without a victory or defeat. While Trinbago Knight Riders flexed their muscles in the ongoing season by wining all 10 matches, Zouks have the misfortune of being a CPL franchise to not win any match in a season (2017).
Over the years, Zouks’ below par run in the tournament can also be judged from the fact that they have won only 26 out of their 76 league stage matches in the CPL.
If the overall record wasn’t enough for Zouks to feel demotivated, they additionally lost players of the merit of Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw, Fabian Allen, Colin Ingram, Anrich Nortje and Noor Ahmad right before the start of CPL 2020.
St Lucia Zouks defied odds in CPL 2020
Taking the field with an almost second-string team, St Lucia defied numerous odds to register their joint-best season in CPL 2020. Having finished at the third position on the points table, Zouks will play Guyana Amazon warriors in the second semi-final on September 8.
St Lucia Zouks, who have been sponsored by INDIBET in CPL 2020, have progressed significantly on the back of awe-inspiring performances under a new brand name. Under veteran captain Daren Sammy, Zouks thrived on taking tough decisions and making forced changes.
West Indies all-rounder Roston Chase, who had played only five T20s before CPL 2020, was given an assured run in the middle-order. Chase, who would have mostly warmed the bench under normal circumstances, gleefully accepted the opportunity and emerged as Zouks’ top run-getter this season on the back of scoring 203 runs at an average of 40.60.
In the batting department, Najibullah Zadran (200) and Andre Fletcher (172) were also among the runs. While one can argue about their strike rates, one can’t also deny that playing sensibly was the need of the hour in most CPL matches which were usually played on slow and turning wickets.
Perhaps the biggest advantage for St Lucia was their fast bowling pair of Scott Kuggeleijn (14 wickets at an average and strike rate of 16 and 12 respectively) and Kesrick Williams (13 wickets at an average and strike rate of 20.15 and 14.3 respectively). When a team’s two bowlers feature in the list of five highest wicket-takers in the tournament, nothing more has to be said about its bowling strength.
What further worked for St Lucia was veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. Having scored 154 runs at a strike rate of 126.22 and dismissed 11 batsmen at 16.54, the 35-year old contributed wholeheartedly across divisions in a tournament which witnessed him registering his maiden T20 five-wicket haul.
In what had initially given the signs of being just another season where St Lucia could have won a couple of matches or so due to various reasons, Zouks made it a point to not get defeated by things which weren’t in their hand.
On the contrary, the franchise came back from behind to chase a 47-run target in 4.1 overs in a rain-affected match and successfully defend 93 runs after their batsmen were involved in a batting collapse.
Not thinking too far ahead, Zouks would require another such archetype “team effort” to play the final of CPL 2020. Yet to play a CPL final, it would speak highly of them utilizing the limited resources to the best of their abilities.