Raza, Williams miss out on CPL
ZIMBABWE all-rounders Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams missed out on the Caribbean Premier League after their St Lucia Kings suffered a five-wicket defeat to the Jamaica Tallawahs in an eliminator at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Wednesday.
The CPL is an annual Twenty20 cricket tournament held in the Caribbean since 2013 and Raza was hoping to lead the Kings to glory having taken over from injured South African Faf du Plessis as skipper.
In the absence of Du Plessis, Raza spearheaded the team adeptly as they finished the group stage third with 10 points, seven behind Guyana Amazon Warriors and three short of second placed Trinbago Knight Riders.
The Jamaica Tallawahs had finished the regular season in fourth place, a point behind Raza’s Kings and hence their match-up in an eliminator whose loser was sent packing while the winner got a second chance to reach the final.
Today the Jamaica Tallawahs will face Guyana Amazon Warriors for a place in Monday’s final against the Trinbago Knight Riders, who beat GAW by seven wickets in Thursday’s Qualifier.
In Wednesday’s defeat, there was plenty to rue for Raza’s Kings, who were put into bat but just could not come to grips with the conditions. They managed a paltry 125/9, with a topscore of 40 from 36 by Roston Chase while Raza’s 19 from 12 balls at number seven the second highest contribution.
With the ball, the Kings conceded too many too early, meaning that they were always playing catch-up, even when they picked up four wickets in relatively quick succession.
The Jamaicans romped to victory with 16 balls to spare.
Raza and Kings will be proud of having made the playoffs for the fourth season in a row but this loss will sting, considering they played well below their potential.
After the match, Raza said:
“Today was just tough. We did not think the conditions would be as spin-friendly. Doesn’t matter what the conditions are, you have to adjust. We sat on the back foot far too long and that cost us the game. Matthew (Forde) has been one of the few shining stars for us. He has been pretty spot on and has been a real fighter.
“If a few more guys had fight like him, things might have been different tonight.”
Compatriot Sean Williams was Not part of the team that performed poorly in all departments but Raza felt his exclusion cannot be blamed for the outcome.
“Cricket is always easy in retrospect. Given the conditions, we thought we needed a leg-spinner (Hatzoglou). I thought the selection was good. Rather than looking at that, the guys that got to play, we had to prove we deserved to play and we did not do that today.”
He also had a message to the Saint Lucia Kings fans:
“As much as things have not gone our way, the amount of care and support we have received, we are grateful for it. We managed to collect a decent bunch of buys that can collect a trophy. If not this year, then probably next year.”