Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
St Lucia Zouks 145 for 6 (Zadran 35, Cornwall 32, Mujeeb 2-28) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 134 for 9 (Phillips 49, Glen 3-16, Khan 3-25) by 11 runs
Zahir Khan and Javelle Glen masterminded a stunning 11-run win, as the Jamaica Tallawahs collapsed in the second half of an innings that looked like it would see them coast to the cushiest of wins against the St Lucia Zouks ahead of the semi-final stage. In the 12th over, Rovman Powell's side sat pretty at 84 without having lost a wicket while chasing 146, masterfully pacing the innings in what shaped up to be one of the more clinical wins in a somewhat scrappy CPL season.
But five overs of madness later, the Tallawahs found themselves in a Zouks-woven tangled web they knew not how to unweave. Glen and Khan applied the squeeze as even the more experienced players seemed to panic, giving their wickets away with low-percentage shots that were neither on nor necessary. They lost seven wickets in that time, and as 84 for 0 became 103 for 7, the Zouks knew they had asphyxiated the Tallawahs out of contention, and had secured enough of a margin of error to withstand a late cameo from Nicolas Kirton.
There was no anchor to the Zouks' innings, which seemed to be a problem at the halfway mark. Players got starts and got out, with their replacements struggling to get going immediately, wasting balls and stymieing the flow of the innings. Rakheem Cornwall and Mark Deyal didn't nearly take as much advantage of the powerplay as the Zouks' strategy depends on them doing, with Cornwall struggling for footwork and Deyal for rhythm. Fidel Edwards might be 38, but both his pace and slower balls continue to challenge batsmen across the CPL, and while he only picked up a wicket at the death, he conceded only at a run a ball in his four overs.
What the Zouks lacked in a talisman they made up for in teamwork, with a number of players spending time at the crease, milking the field where possible, ensuring the lack of runs didn't lead to a glut of wickets falling. Three batsmen scored between 32 and 35, and even if the 99 runs they combined for came off 90 balls, that still meant they were able to finish with a respectably high total in what has been the lowest-scoring CPL in history. Runs on the board build pressure, as the Tallawahs found out the best part of an hour later.
The double blow
It wasn't just the collapse, but a specific moment mid-collapse that turned the tide of the contest. At 91 for 2, Khan came on to bowl his third over and coaxed a faint outside edge off Powell's bat. It was a half-chance at best, but the aging Daren Sammy dived to his left to pluck one out of nowhere inches before it hit the grass. It was special enough to change the mood of the occasion, even if the sight of Andre Russell marching out next dampened any rising spirits.
So it was particularly handy Sammy stayed at slip because Khan's magic was going to provide him another chance. Having endured a difficult day in the field, Russell failed to pick up a googly that ripped sharply off the surface, kissing the edge and landing - straightforwardly this time - into Sammy's lap. Khan was on a hat-trick, and with the middle order gutted, the Zouks maintained the momentum long enough to put the game out of the Tallawahs' reach. It might, in the larger context, mean nothing if they don't win their semi-final, but these teams will know more than anyone that it's handier to have momentum on your side.