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CPL Phase One Review: St Lucia Zouks

CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde examines St Lucia Zouks’ CPL so far. 

Results Summary

Matchv JTv BTv SKNPv GAWv TKRv SKNPv BTv GAWv TKRv JT
VenueBLCABLCABLCABLCAQPOQPOQPOBLCABLCABLCA
ResultsLostWonWonWon
TossLostLostLostWon
Bat1st2nd1st1st
St Lucia Zouks, 2020 Results

Analysis

This has been a superb start to the season for St Lucia Zouks who have won three consecutive matches for the first time in their history. They started the season with defeat to the Jamaica Tallawahs but have since bounced back brilliantly and are proving to be more than the sum of their parts thanks largely to good strategising through intelligent selections and smart use of matchups. The influence of highly-regarded coach Andy Flower appears to be being felt.

The signs were not encouraging in the opening match of the season when the Zouks responded to Jamaica’s right-hander heavy batting order by picking four off spinners and a left-arm wrist spinner meaning they had five bowlers who all turned the ball in to the right-handers. The Zouks spinners were ineffective and Jamaica won fairly comfortably. 

However, since then St Lucia have made a run of excellent selections and deployed their resources brilliantly. 

Next up was Barbados and the Zouks recognised that the Tridents’ right-handed opening pair of Johnson Charles and Shai Hope matched-up badly with right-to-left spin and brought in their only bowler who turns the ball in that direction; Saad Bin Zafar who didn’t take a wicket but opened the bowling and conceded just ten from his two overs. The Zouks then attacked Barbados’ left-hander heavy middle order with their cohort of off spinners, choking the innings expertly. 

Bowler-Typev Right-Handersv Left-Handers
SLA Spin0 for 10 (12 balls)
Off Spin1 for 29 (22 balls)3 for 15 (26 balls)
St Lucia Zouks spin bowlers v Barbados Tridents

Then came the Patriots. The Zouks went in unchanged but once again exploited the match-ups expertly. The right-hand, left-hand combination of Chris Lynn and Evin Lewis tried hard to counteract spin away from the bat which resulted in Lewis tearing into Bin Zafar but you win some and you lose some and while they lost that one they had the last laugh when the off spinner Roston Chase removed Lewis and later the dangerous left-hander Ben Dunk. 

Bowler-Typev Right-Handersv Left-Handers
SLA Spin0 for 7 (3 balls)0 for 14 (3 balls)
Off Spin2 for 23 (26 balls)2 for 9 (22 balls)
St Lucia Zouks spin bowlers v St Kitts & Nevis Patriots

St Lucia’s third win was arguably their most impressive. Their off spinners matched-up well with Guyana’s left-hander heavy middle order but they also recognised the value in hit-the-deck quicks who could attack the ribs of Guyana’s batsmen who largely prefer fuller lengths from pace bowlers. So in came the young quick Chemar Holder to join another hard length merchant Scott Kuggeleign. The results were emphatic. Kuggeleign struck twice in the Powerplay and three times across the innings while Nabi and Chase tied the left-handers down. 

Bowler-Typev Right-Handersv Left-Handers
RA Pace3 for 14 (27 balls)4 for 74 (45 balls)
Off Spin1 for 13 (13 balls)0 for 33 (35 balls)
St Lucia Zouks bowlers v Guyana Amazon Warriors

All three of St Lucia’s wins have come thanks largely to their bowling with matchups and selections exploiting chinks in the armour of the opposition. 

St Lucia don’t only owe their wins to the bowlers and tactics though. Their batting has found a way to be effective as well. Across the years St Lucia have often been destructive in the Powerplay with Rakheem Cornwall and Andre Fletcher exploiting the field restrictions. This season they’ve received support from the talented left-hander Mark Deyal who has played a couple of sparky cameos. More significant, however, have been the contributions of Najbibullah Zadran, Chase and particularly Nabi. 

This was best encapsulated by their batting effort against the Patriots – after racing to 73 for 0 in the Powerplay they crashed in the middle overs. However, Nabi underlined his immense value to the team with a brutal finish – helping take 32 off the last two overs and moving a good score to an insurmountable one. 

The Zouks still clearly have flaws—most notably their pace bowling of Kuggeleign, Holder and Kesrick Williams is a little one dimensional and likely to be exposed at the death at some point—but so far they are covering weaknesses and navigating flaws through smart, resourceful cricket. They’ve been a pleasure to watch. 

Freddie Wilde is a CricViz analyst, @fwildecricket.

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