Gros Islet – St Lucia Kings used the backdrop of the green grass of home to get their first win in this year’s men’s Caribbean Premier League in thrilling fashion on Wednesday.
A pugancious half-century from hometown batsman Johnson Charles topped a similarly explosive innings from Barbadian all-rounder Raymon Reifer to set the foundation for a tense two-wicket win over Jamaica Tallawahs with one ball remaining in front of a raucous home crowd at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.
Charles cracked four fours and four sixes in 62 from 39 balls, and the Kings successfully chased 164 to grabbed their maiden win in three matches this season.
The Kings struggled to get going in the PowerPlay and stumbled to 39 for four before Charles and Singaporean Tim David counter-attacked to get the home team on track at the halfway stage of the chase.
When Charles was caught at deep cover off Reifer’s left-arm pace, the Kings still needed 50 from 32 balls, but Roshon Primus, another Barbadian all-rounder and Reifer’s Wanderers clubmate, in partnership with South African David Wiese kept them on course into the final few overs.
After Primus was caught behind off Pakistani left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, Wiese guided the chase into the final over and hit the winning run off Reifer to rapturous celebration in the stands.
Amir was the most successful Tallawahs bowler, taking 3-25, and there were two wickets apiece for fellow Pakistani Imad Wasim and Reifer.
Earlier, Reifer smashed four fours and four sixes in 62 from 41 balls, but wickets fell at regular intervals and the Tallawahs were restricted to 163 for eight from their 20 overs.
New Zealand pacer Scott Kuggeleijn took 3-44 to lead the Kings bowling and South African pacer Wiese grabbed 2-31.
The most stable period for the Tallawahs was a 59-run stand between Reifer and Wasim for the fifth wicket between the ninth and 17th overs after the visitors stumbled to 62 for four.
Tallawahs 163 for eight off 20 overs (Raymon Reifer 62, Imad Wasim 20, Brandon King 19, Kennar Lewis 19; Scott Kuggeleijn 3-44, David Wiese 2-31). Kings 164 for eight off 19.5 overs (Johnson Charles 62, Roshon Primus 22, David Wiese 20 not out, Tim David 20, Niroshan Dickwella 10; Mohammad Amir 3-25, Imad Wasim 2-15, Raymon Reifer 2-28).