They stumbled in the final hurdle against the Trinbago Knight Riders in the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League, losing out against the experience of Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard and the Bravo brothers. Nevertheless, the 2020 CPL season was a great learning curve for the St.Lucia Zouks, and looking back there would be many moments to be proud of for Daren Sammy and the team management.
"I'm really proud of the boys. Before the tournament, nobody counted us in but we have been resilient. You don't need superstars if your team believes in itself. We've been trying for eight years to get to the final but we're here now. Disappointed yes, but we were beaten by a better team,” said Daren Sammy in the post match interview of the final.
Here’s a look at five of the big takeaways for the St.Lucia Zouks from CPL 2020.
Topping the wickets chart
Last minute pick Scott Kuggeleijn ended as the leading wicket-taker of the 2020 Caribbean Premier League with 17 scalps to his name. He also created history by becoming the first Kiwi bowler to pick four wickets in an innings in the history of the CPL. Alongside Kuggeleijn, the other Zouks bowlers too had a good outing in CPL 2020, with Kesrick Williams and Mohammad Nabi finishing with 13 and 12 wickets respectively. All three of these Zouks bowlers finished amongst the top ten wicket-takers for CPL 2020.
Roston Chase’s T20 avatar
CPL 2020 was the homecoming for Roston Chase’s career as a T20 player. The 28-year-old has been a regular feature in the West Indies Test team, but was considered only as a red ball specialist. This competition however has helped Chase shed that image as he emerged as the leading run scorer for his franchise, and was the one of the eight players to get more than one half century in the competition. With his calming presence in the middle order, Chase was the pillar around which the Zouks could build their innings, giving the license for the likes of Andre Fletcher, Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nabi to play their natural game.
Defending the lowest CPL score
Barbados Tridents needed 41 to win off final 10 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Zouks skipper Daren Sammy then bowled 10 straight overs of spin. Took a chance with Javelle Glenn & the move paid off. Tridents failed to chase 93. Sammy’s strategies & calculations have been spot on— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) August 30, 2020
There would have been very few who would have given the Zouks even a prayer when they were bundled out for 92 in the game against the champions Barbados Tridents. However, their bowlers managed to upset the apple cart and defend the lowest ever total in the history of the CPL, as the Tridents finished at 89/7 after their 20 overs. The game also showed the shrewd captaincy and decision making of skipper Sammy, as he used spinners for 15 of the 20 overs with the track being slow and favouring turn.
Only fifer of CPL 2020
Best bowling figures in CPL-— Imran Hasan (@Imranhasan02) August 27, 2020
Shakib Al Hasan 𝟰-𝟭-𝟲-𝟲 vs Trinidad & Tobago
Sohail Tanvir 𝟰-𝟭-𝟯-𝟱 vs Barbados Tridents, 2017
MOHAMMAD NABI 𝟰-𝟬-𝟭𝟱-𝟱 vs St Lucia Zouks, TODAY*#CPL20
Afghani all-rounder Mohammad Nabi picked up the only five-wicket haul in the tournament, registering figures of 5/15 against the St.Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the group stages of the tournament. Bowling in the powerplay, he broke the back of the Patriots’ batting, picking the wickets of Chris Lynn, Evin Lewis, Nick Kelly and Denesh Ramdin in his first two overs. Nabi returned at the death to dismiss Sohail Tanvir, as the St.Kitts and Nevis Patriots folded for a score of 110 in that game.
Local talents shine bright
One speciality of this St.Lucia Zouks side was that every member of their 17-man squad got atleast one game in the competition, as they gave a strong push for local West Indian talent to come to the fore. And two of those local players- Mark Deyal and Javelle Glenn- performed brilliantly this season, making the most of their opportunities.
Deyal stepped for the Zouks in the semis and the finals, giving the team good starts on both occasions, and also was electric on the field throughout the tournament. Javelle Glenn was the team’s golden arm of sorts with the ball, inadvertently picking wickets and putting his hand up when the Zouks were defending small totals.
With a majority of their local players still young, the Zouks seem on course towards building a strong roster for the future, one that may perhaps clinch that elusive title for them last season.