The mid-tournament break didn’t serve Jamaica Tallawahs well. Having thoroughly dominated in the first half of the Caribbean Premier League 2016, they lost momentum in the second half. Fortunately for them, the cushion of victories in the first half ensured their safe passage to Qualifier 1.
On Wednesday (August 3), they put another below-par show to allow Guyana Amazon Warriors sneak into the final with a four-wicket win at Basseterre in St Kitts. Chasing a target of 147 runs, Guyana Amazon Warriors got off to a quick start with Nic Maddinson (14) clubbing the last two deliveries of the opening over for boundaries and a six of Kesrick Williams’s next.
The Australian left-hander looked threatening, before he was undone by a slow short-pitched delivery. In a bid to pull it, he went early into the shot and ended up top edging it back to the bowler. Williams, who was on his follow through, dived to his right to pull off a stunner, before celebrating with an entertaining jig.
Once play resumed after the first rain break, Dwayne Smith and Chris Lynn resisted the temptation of playing over the in-field in the Powerplay overs, and went about with a sedate approach to the chase. It was only in the fourth over of the innings, bowled by Garey Mathurin, that the duo decided to muscle a couple of poor deliveries for boundaries. Besides that, they stuck to taking singles and hit an odd six off Shakib al Hasan following the second rain break.
The second-wicket stand managed to put only 36 runs off 6.5 overs. However, with the required rate not too steep, there wasn’t much to worry for the Amazon Warriors. While the Tallawahs gave Lynn a reprieve when Nikrumah Bonner dropped an easy catch at long on in the eighth over, Chadwick Walton didn’t mess up when he had a ball coming flat at him from Smith in the next over at long off. The second strike did give Tallawahs the momentum but they gave it away almost as soon as they got it.
Williams, who was bowling superbly, let two deliveries slip down the leg side, which accounted for six runs without a legal delivery getting credited. Kumar Sangakkara, who was frustrated by then, followed it up with a mistake as he let a bye breach through him for a boundary.
Nonetheless, Chris Gayle had managed to negate the threat of Lynn and Jason Mohammed with clever field setting. Runs were hard to come by, and just when the batsmen seemed set in the middle, a rain spell would snatch that momentum away from them. While it was difficult for the bowlers to bowl with the wet ball, the heavy outfield meant that the ball wasn’t racing as fast through the outfield. Poor timing and shot selection ended Mohammed and Christopher Barnwell’s innings as well, rather quickly. With wickets falling at regular intervals and runs hard to come by, Tallawahs took control of the contest by the 15th over.
Lynn was the only batsman who marched along without showing signs of discomfort. For a good period in the death overs, Lynn remained the only threat in the chase. After a cautious start, he had paced his innings well to reach 49 off 46 balls – smashing three sixes and a boundary – before skying a slower ball high, and offering Russell an easy catch at long on. But little would Tallawahs know, that their hero of the match would invariable also cost them the match. Williams, who bagged four wickets with his slower deliveries, also ended up conceding 37 runs, which included seven wides.
However, the turning point of the match came in the 18th over when Rovman Powell, the medium pacer, sprayed the ball all over the pitch, bowling two wides and a no-ball, conceding 17 runs. Russell bowled a superb penultimate over to bring the equation down to six runs off as many deliveries. Imad Wasim was handed over the charge of bowling the last over. He did well to bring the equation down to three runs off three balls, but had his fourth delivery sent sailing over the mid-wicket fence by Sohail Tanvir as the Amazon Warriors won with two balls to spare. Earlier in the day, Tanvir and Rayad Emrit’s efforts with the ball had restricted the Tallawahs to 146 for 8.
Emrit, Amazon Warriors’ captain, had won the toss and elected to field. It turned out to be a rather tough day for Tallawah’s strong top order to score. Chadwick Walton (16 off 13 balls), Chris Gayle (33 off 36 balls) and Kumar Sangakkara (20 off 20 balls), did lay a good platform, but the middle order failed to accelerate well. By the time Sangakkara, the third wicket, departed, Tallawahs were well-placed at 84 for 3 in 12.5 overs. However, Emrit and Tanvir kept picking wickets while ensuring that too many runs weren’t leaked. Barring Powell’s 20-ball 23, there wasn’t any significant contribution from the other batsmen that followed the Top 3.
As it turned out, the match entered an exciting phase with Tallawahs dominating for a good part of the second half. but in the end, poor bowling paved way for their meeting with the winners of the Eliminator – St Lucia Zouks or Trinbago Knight Riders. Meanwhile, Amazon warriors will be making their third appearance in a CPL final in four editions.
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