Basseterre, St Kitts: Yet another undefeated half century for Chris Gayle saw the Appleton Estate Jamaica Tallawahs to victory over the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Hero Caribbean Premier League. Chris Lynn also made a fifty for the Jamaican side as they got to their target with five balls to spare. Gayle won the game with a boundary as he finished on 72 not out after his side had been set 161 to win. While the Patriots also had two innings of over fifty from Martin Guptill and Marlon Samuels, the total they set was not enough to challenge Gayle’s men.
Having won the toss and elected to bat the Patriots began their innings with a bang as the usually economical Krishmar Santokie struggled with his line in the first over, straying down the leg side allowing Evin Lewis to hit him for back to back boundaries. He got his revenge very quickly when he completely deceived Lewis with a slower ball that trapped the batsman LBW.
After that early breakthrough the Tallawahs struggled to find the same cutting edge on a Basseterre pitch that allowed batsmen to hit through the line with ease with the new ball. Martin Guptill found the surface especially to his liking in the first six overs as the Patriots made it to 49-1 off the Powerplay overs, their best effort to date.
Guptill put together an excellent partnership of 76 with Tonito Willett who was playing his first game of this year’s tournament. Willett had made it to 25 with some excellent boundaries when he charged Daniel Vettori only to be caught at long on.
Some tight bowling from the Tallawahs slowed the scoring rate for the Patriots as Guptill lost his way in the second half of the innings. He did not hit a boundary for 27 balls, scoring 20 runs in that time, all of them singles. He broke the shackles with a big six off Jerome Taylor that brought up his half century in 47 deliveries. He fell attempting another six off Santokie which he toe-ended into the hands of Nikita Miller.
Marlon Samuels did not have the same problem in finding the rope as he struck four boundaries and two sixes on his way to 50 off 31 balls as he once again put together an excellent innings for his side. He was not without luck as he edged the ball past his stumps or the keeper on a number of occasions.
Santokie finished with 4-37 off his four overs as the leading wicket taker in CPL history did what he has done so often in the competition.
In his previous innings Gayle scored an undefeated 90 off just 36 balls, and that followed a spell in English county cricket where he made 328 runs in three innings. If the Patriots were to stand a chance they needed the Tallawah’s skipper out early.
Unfortunately for the Patriots they could not find a way to dismiss Gayle. Instead his opening partner was the first wicket. Chadwick Walton played a whippy pull short that he hit straight to Samuels at mid-wicket to depart for 10. Sheldon Cottrell was the bowler so we once again got to see him salute the batsman as he departed.
If was a sedate opening from Gayle, but Lynn got out of the blocks very quickly as he hit three fours and a six in the first five balls he faced. Gayle was happy to give the strike to his Australian partner, satisfied with playing the anchor role.
The Tallawahs had wickets in hand but the run rate was rising when Gayle finally came to life with a 106-metre six off Afridi, the largest Hero Maximum in this year’s CPL. Lynn wasn’t to be out done as he hit three sixes in three balls to move to his half century off 31 deliveries.
Lynn could not see his side home, in the very next over he chopped the ball on to his stumps off Carlos Brathwaite. While Lynn will be bitterly disappointed his stand with Gayle of 85 runs off 61 balls was a winning one.
Victory looked certain, however there was some drama before the Tallawahs reached their target. Mahela Jayawardene was out when he gloved a catch to the keeper when he attempted to sweep a Sohail Tanvir slower ball.
Gayle could have gone on 49 when he skied a ball from Afridi but Orlando Peters could not take the catch. While Gayle continued to struggle to time the ball with the same ferocity as he managed in St Lucia he did enough to keep his side in this game.
Andre Russell, the player of the tournament at this season’s IPL, was there at the end as the Jamaican side ended up winning the match with relative ease.