Patrick Noone analyses Roston Chase’s match-winning performance with both bat and ball
Throughout Roston Chase’s career, there has always been a sense that he doesn’t quite fit what people expect a top-level cricketer to look like. Whenever he performs well with the ball in Test cricket it is met with surprise, as though international batsmen shouldn’t be getting out to him.
Similarly, his role in West Indies’ red ball team as a solid, if unspectacular, middle order stalwart has led to him being pigeonholed as a long form specialist. Perhaps it’s time to reassess as, based on the evidence of St Lucia Zouks’ four matches in this year’s CPL, Chase is a more than capable player with both bat and ball in the T20 arena.
Tonight, Chase’s second half century of the season helped to rebuild the Zouks’ innings after Guyana Amazon Warriors’ spinners had left them reeling at 42-4 in the seventh over. But he wasted no time in getting his side back on track, attacking six of his first ten balls and scoring at 9.60 during that phase of his innings. The highlight was a soaring pull shot for six off Keemo Paul, the eighth pull he’d played in this tournament and one that brought him to 21 runs across his three innings from that shot alone.
But what set Chase’s innings apart was not necessarily his firepower, but his eagerness to rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard ticking over. No batsman from either side played a higher percentage of rotating shots than Chase’s 32% and that in turn led to his dot ball percentage being just 29%, significantly lower than every other batsman in the match.
In a low scoring game that kind of activity is priceless, and Chase demonstrated his ability to score all around the ground, making it harder for Chris Green to set fields to him and opening up gaps in different areas as his innings progressed.
But Chase’s day did not end with his batting display. Entrusted to bowl in all three phases of the innings, he bowled with calm authority to finish with figures of 0-28 from his four overs. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story though as arguably Chase’s most important contribution of the match was bowling the 15th and 17th overs to a well-set Nicholas Pooran.
Chase repeatedly fired the ball well outside the left-hander’s off-stump and conceded just two singles from the five balls he bowled to Pooran in those late innings overs. In total, Pooran was only able to score seven runs off the 12 balls he faced from Chase, a run rate of 3.50 in an innings where he scored at 8.32 overall.
That statistic goes a long way to explaining where the match was won and lost – had Pooran been able to do even slightly more damage to Chase’s figures, the Amazon Warriors could well have come out on top.
This match might have been an unexpected win for the Zouks, but we should no longer be thinking of Roston Chase as an unexpected hero. This is a player who has surpassed just about every challenge he’s come up against during his time in top-level cricket and at 28, there is still room for him to improve. He might not always catch the eye, but he rarely lets you down.
Patrick Noone is a CricViz analyst