Watched by a large and vocal Sabina Park crowd, Chris Gayle, back in the Jamaica Tallawahs set up for the first time in two seasons of the Hero CPL, failed to lead his team to victory after getting a first ball duck as the St. Lucia Zouks led by an explosive 19-ball 70 from Rakeem Cornwall, won by five wickets last night despite an impressive spell of fast bowling from Oshane Thomas who took 3-26.
The Tallawahs were spearheaded by an 87-run stand between Glen Phillips’ 34-ball 58 with eight fours and a six and Rovman Powell whose 44 came from 22 balls before an unbroken 33-run stand between Shemar Springer (14) and Derval Green (17) rallied them to 170-5; leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed took 2-28 and was supported Obed McCoy who had 2-32 for Zouks who reached 171-5 from 16.4 overs.
Man-of-the-match Rakeem Cornwall blasted 75 from 30 balls with eight sixes and four fours while Andre Fletcher finished unbeaten on 47 from 36 balls with three sixes and two fours, Colin de Grandomme chipped in with 25 despite Thomas’ spell.
Zouks began their chase in positive fashion with Andre Fletcher smashing Jerome Taylor for two sixes before Rakeem Cornwall, on the ground he made his Test debut, drove Taylor over mid-off for six and brutally pulled him for another six when he bowled short before hitting the former West Indies pacer for a massive six.
The burly Antiguan launched into Deval Green and pulled him ‘miles’ out of the ground, executed a glorious cover driven boundary next ball before a top-edge for six off Oshane Thomas brought up his teams 50 in 4.2 overs. Fletcher also joined the party with some pugnacious shots of Thomas.
Cornwall greeted George Worker with back-to-back sixes to reach his third CPL fifty from just 19 balls which is the second fastest half-century this season. He displayed his batting ability with three sixes as massive as the big man himself off the expensive Green before he got an inside edge and dragged Springer onto his stumps to end the destructive opening stand at 130-1 in nine overs.
John Campbell fell for a duck off Ramaal Lewis and then Sammy, who led West Indies to both of their T20 World Cup trophies, joined Fletcher but fell to Thomas for five at 155-5 with 16 needed from 28 balls before Thomas kept the game alive by removing Rolando Cato (1) two runs later after which Fletcher and Periera saw their team home.
Earlier, playing on home soil for the first time in this season, Tallawahs, on a hard bouncy track and fast outfield had a horrendous start when Gayle, holder of the records for T20 centuries (22) and most CPL hundreds (4 with Dwayne Smith) got a ball that bounced and nipped away from the left hander for a catch to ‘Keeper Fletcher, McCoy removing the Universe Boss for a first ball duck at 6-1.
Gayle who turns 40 on October 21, led Tallawahs to their two titles in 2013 and 2016, and also top-scored in both of those finals against Guyana Amazon Warriors but his demise last night was a big body blow to the Tallawahs under a full moon and floodlights that were not as high as the players would have liked.
Chadwick Walton who featured in a record CPL second wicket stand with Gayle in the last match joined Phillips who clipped McCoy past mid-on for four before the left-arm pacer had Walton pull a short ball to deep backward square for eight at 27-2 to stun a less than capacity crowd.
Phillip lofted leg-spinner Ahmed for an effortless six over his head, pulled Kesrick Williams for four while Rovman Powell played a similar shot for the second four in the over. Phillips eased Williams over long-on for six and at the end of the six-over power play Tallawahs had galloped 59-2.
A spanking four by Phillips was followed by two more boundaries from Powell. Cornwall’s first ball was clobbered into the stands before a boundary from Phillips brought up his fourth CPL fifty from just 26 balls as the runs flowed for the Tallawahs despite McCoy’s early success.
After 10 overs the score was 108-2 and Ahmed was greeted by a disdainful six from Powell but in trying to repeat the shot next ball he was taken on the long-off boundary by an alert de Grandomme who parried the ball before going over the ropes and returning onto field to complete the catch at 114-3.
The left-handed Phillips tried hit against the spin and was taken on the long-on boundary as Ahmed struck a crucial blow at 134-4. Andre Russell leaned into a short ball from Hardus Viljoen, missed the pull and was hit flush on the back of his helmet and was floored; he was unable to continue and had to be taken off the ground before he had scored.
George Worker, dropped off a no-ball for height by John Campbell who again put him down off Ahmed before a classy cover driven boundary raced to across the lightning fast outfield. Worker smashed Thisara Perera for four before being bowled next ball for 16 to leave the score on 137-5. Springer cover drove Viljoen for four to post the 150 in 17.3 as he and Green helped their team to what seemed a defendable total.
Two-times Champions Tallawahs battle defending Champions Trinbago Knight Riders tonight at Sabina Park in the next game while the Zouks face-off with Barbados next Friday in St Lucia. The Warriors and TKR are on top of the points table with six from three wins, but the Warriors are leaders by virtue of a superior net run rate.
Patriots are on two points from four matches, Tridents sit on two from two, Zouks came off the mark with two points from three matches while the Tallawahs remain pointless after three matches.
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