KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Tallawahs have moved to the top of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table after a fine win against the Trinbago Knight Riders at Sabina Park Monday night, their third successive home victory in three matches.
A career best score by Rovman Powell (44) and a brilliant display of hitting at the end of their innings from Andre Russell (44) helped the Tallawahs to set a target of 159 to win.
Runs from Hashim Amla further cemented his place at the top of the Hero CPL run-scoring chart, but he played a lone hand with wickets falling around him as the Tallawahs won by 19 runs with Andre Russell backing up his batting display with four wickets with the ball.
Much of the speculation before the match was about whether Chris Gayle would be fit to play, and the Tallawahs would have been delighted when he was able to take the field. Unfortunately for the packed crowd at Sabina Park his innings did not last long. Gayle struggled to get off the mark and was dismissed for a nine-ball duck when he edged behind to Denesh Ramdin off Kevon Cooper.
With both openers gone it fell to Kumar Sangakkara (23) and Rovman Powell to rebuild. Powell has continued to impress in his first ever T20 tournament, he has been the find of the Hero CPL. Here he struck four Hero Maximums as he made a T20 high score of 44. Sangakkara and Powell departed within three balls of each, both falling to short balls from Cooper. Their partnership of 72 came from just 50 balls.
Cooper was in fantastic form with the ball, getting extra bounce that troubled all of the Tallawahs batsmen. He finished with figures of 3 for 22, his best figures in Hero CPL, and those three wickets were Gayle before he got going and Sangakkara and Powell when well set.
It looked like the Tallawahs would set a sub-par total, but a brilliant counter-attacking innings from Russell gave the home team’s innings impetus in the closing overs. Russell smacked five fours and three sixes.
Brendon McCullum came back into the Knight Riders team and opened the batting with Hashim Amla. With Colin Munro at three the Trinbago team have a very strong top order but two of those men were gone within the first four overs. McCullum was out stumped off the bowling of Imad Wasim and Munro spooned a catch into the covers off Dale Steyn.
That left Amla to hold it all together, and his innings of 42 did just that, but in the absence of a significant partnership the required run rate climbed quickly. While Amla was at the crease with Denesh Ramdin the Knight Riders would have felt they were in the chase, but when Amla was out going for a big shot off Kesrick Williams there was still a lot of work to be done.
Dwayne Bravo struck back-to-back boundaries to bring the rate down but another cluster of wickets including two wickets in two balls from Russell ended Knight Riders’ chances of reaching the victory target.
Man-of-the-Match Russell finished with figures of 4 for 23.