KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica Tallawahs overcame a destructive spell from Ravi Rampaul followed by a thrilling, unbeaten half-century from Shoaib Malik to prevail over Barbados Tridents by 19 runs in the Caribbean Premier League on Sunday.
Rampaul grabbed 4-18 from his allotted four overs and fellow Trinidadian Rayad Emrit captured 3-35 from his four overs, as the Tallawahs, sent in to bat, posted 147 for eight from their allocation of 20 overs in the 20th game of the competition at Sabina Park.
Owais Shah hit the top score of 42 for the home team, their captain Chris Gayle supported with 39, Chadwick Walton made 25 and the other seven batsmen that appeared at the crease all finished with single figures.
Malik then struck five fours and six sixes in 81 not out from just 43 balls and was the only double-figure contributor, as the Tridents batting failed to click and they were restricted to 128 for six from their 20 overs.
Jerome Taylor was the pick of the Tallawahs bowlers, taking 2-11 from his four overs to earn the Man-of-the-Match award, and fellow Jamaican Dave Bernard Jr snared 2-20 from his four overs, as the Tallawahs dutifully responded to the challenge.
The result meant that Tallawahs earned two points, moving them level on points with Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel, but second in the competition due to an inferior net run rate. The Tridents remain on eight points – the same number as the Guyana Amazon Warriors – but are still fourth, also due to an inferior net run rate.
Walton gave Tallawahs a rapid start before he was lbw to Rampaul in the sixth over, but Shah came to the crease and gave the innings backbone with Gayle.
The pair added 90 for the second wicket, stepping up the tempo in the 10th over when Shah glanced Emrit fine for his first boundary and Gayle hit his first six over long-on.
Shah followed up with successive boundaries off Malik, bowling off-spin, in the next over, but really got into gear in the 15th over, when he dispatched lanky West Indies fast bowler Jason Holder for consecutive sixes, the first straight, the second over deep fine leg.
Gayle appeared to be getting into the swing of things, when he lofted off-spinner Ashley Nurse over long-off for his second six, but his momentum was checked when Shah fell two deliveries later, caught at mid-wicket off the same bowler.
This sparked a batting collapse that saw the Tallawahs lose seven wickets – including Gayle – in the space of 24 deliveries for the addition of just 23 runs.
A six third ball of the final over – from Emrit – and a few scrambled runs from the remaining three deliveries inched the Tallawahs to a respectable total.
Incisive bowling from Bernard, in particular, and Taylor put the skids on the Tridents early and they slumped to 27 for three in the seventh over.
Bernard had Dwayne Smith, the Tridents’ batting star, caught at gully for five with the final ball of the first over and Shane Dowrich caught behind for nine in the seventh over. In between, Taylor bowled Sri Lankan Jeevan Mendis for two to leave the Tridents’ innings at the crossroads.
Malik then held centre stage with his explosive batting, adding 42 with South African Neil McKenzie and 30 with Holder, but lacked stability from the rest to make a concerted charge on the target.
Rusty Theron appeared to be the target of special attention from Malik. He smashed a pair of fours and a six in the South African fast-medium bowler’s second over – the 11th of the innings.
Malik brought up his 50 with his fifth four over point before celebrating with successive sixes, the first over long-on and the second over mid-wicket, in the bowler’s third over – the 17th of the innings.
Taylor and Andre Russell kept their nerve in the closing overs however, to earn the Tallawahs a hard-fought victory.
Both teams – like the rest – travel to St. Kitts this week, where they will meet again in the final match of the preliminary competition next Sunday at Warner Park, where Tridents meet Red Steel in their penultimate match on Thursday.