A half century from captain Chris Gayle and a quick fire 34 from Andre Russell set up a win for the Jamaica Tallawahs against the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Saturday afternoon.
Another fine bowling display for the Patriots’ left arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was not enough for the home team who lost wickets regularly throughout their chase.
While Gayle was cementing his place as the leading Twenty20 run scorer of all time, the rest of the Tallawahs’ top order struggled. Chadwick Walton fell in the very first over, lbw to Krishmar Santokie. Rovman Powell and Shakib al Hasan departed for single figures. Kumar Sangakkara was the only other batsman that found any sort of fluidity in the first half of the innings and he was looking dangerous before a mix up with Gayle saw him run out for 26 (21).
Unfortunately for the Tallawahs no sooner had Gayle got to fifty he got out, skewing a ball from Thisara Perera to third man for 51. That meant that the responsibility for guiding the Jamaican side to a competitive total fell to vice captain Andre Russell. The powerful all-rounder did not disappoint as he blasted his way to 34 from 20 balls in an innings that included three maximums.
The Tallawahs’ total of 153 for 7 looked light and it would take a good bowling display from them to defend it against a Patriots side that bats deep down the order.
They delivered just that as all the bowlers shared the wickets around.
Kesrick Williams’ first wicket in the CPL saw Evin Lewis depart in the second over of the Patriots chase and there were regular wickets throughout that kept pegging back the home side.
Faf Du Plessis was doing a decent job at holding the innings together and while he was there the Patriots would have felt confident. But just as he got going he found a leading edge off a delivery from Jon-Russ Jaggesar and the bowler caught a looping return catch.
The Patriots just couldn’t get going no matter how hard they tried and in the end that half century from Gayle proved to be a match winning contribution. The last remaining hope for the Patriots was the big-hitting Carlos Brathwaite but Dale Steyn accounted for him in his final over as he picked up figures of 1 for 21 on his CPL debut.
A late order cameo from Devon Thomas saw him hit three consecutive Hero Maximums in the final over to make the result seem closer than it was, but those regular wickets meant the Patriots the chase for victory stuttered and never really started.
The Tallawahs will be delighted to have got off to a winning start but for the Patriots this loss means they have lost two home games at the start of their campaign. They have two matches at Warner Park to try and rescue the St Kitts leg of their tournament and they will be hoping for victory when they take on the St Lucia Zouks on Sunday.