Kieron Pollard struck his maiden Twenty20 century, the second-fastest in the history of the Caribbean Premier League, to help St Lucia Stars register a 38-run victory over Barbados Tridents on Friday, 17 August.
Pollard's 54-ball 104 lifted Stars to 226/6 at the Darren Sammy International Cricket Stadium in St Lucia. In reply, Tridents could only manage 188/6.
This win was the Stars' first of the edition and also their first in CPL since July 2016, having gone 15 games without a win.
Stars' total of 226 is now the highest in CPL history, bettering the 225/6 made by Jamaica Tallawahs against Trinbago Knight Riders on 10 August. Pollard's 104 is also the second-highest individual score in CPL history, behind Andre Russell's match-winning 121* last week in the same Tallawahs-Knight Riders clash.
Pollard's partnership of 148 runs with Andre Fletcher (80) is now the second-highest in CPL history, only behind Russell and Kennar Lewis' 161-run stand for Tallawahs against Knight Riders.
That Stars got to 226 despite five of their batsmen not opening their accounts, including David Warner and Lendl Simmons, was down to this revival led by Pollard and Fletcher, who got together at 57/3 in the fifth over. Pollard hit six fours and eight sixes in his 54-ball innings and brought up his hundred off just 53 balls.
He found good support in wicket-keeper batsman Fletcher, who hit six fours and as many sixes in his 52-ball 80. Wahab Riaz was the best of the Tridents bowlers, picking up 3/35 from four overs.
Tridents got off to a good start, with Dwayne Smith and Martin Guptill adding 44 in the first five overs before Mitchell McClenaghan cleaned up his former New Zealand teammate to give Stars the first breakthrough. Tridents slowed down thereafter and even as Smith tried to keep up with the required rate with his 45-ball 58, the target always seemed out of reach.
Smith and Hashim Amla (14) departed in quick succession, both dismissed by Afghanistan leg-spinner Qais Ahmed.
By the time Steve Smith and Shai Hope got together, the required rate had crept up to 18 runs per over. They accumulated 24 runs off one McClenaghan over – the 17th of the innings – but it was too late.
"We've come close in many games this season, we've been losing games in two-three overs. But to come here and get our first victory at home as the Stars, that's amazing, and the boys deserve to enjoy," said Darren Sammy, the former Stars captain.
Jason Holder, the Tridents captain, conceded his team didn't bowl well enough. "It was a tough wicket to bowl, and the wind factor made them target one end. Credit also to how Pollard played and Fletcher as well," he said.
"We needed a good start with the bat too, which we didn't get, but we really fell away in the middle overs. It's only our second game, so we just need to gather some momentum."
Last night was disappointing, but today we responded well
Pollard, who was also adjudged the Player of the Match, was relieved with the victory, especially after conceding their previous game to Knight Riders off the penultimate ball on 16 August. "When's God's with you, nothing can go against you. Last night was disappointing, but today we responded well," he said.
"Congratulations to the boys. The fans came out to support us, and we have another three games to play. We need them as our 12th man."
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