483 in 38.5 overs! 37 sixes and 32 fours!
That summed up the runs deluge that rained on Warner Park, Basseterre tonight, as St Kitts and Nevis Patriots defeated the Jamaica Tallawahs by four wickets in the match of the tournament and possibly Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history.
Batting first after being inserted by Patriots’ captain Carlos Brathwaite, the Tallawahs bludgeoned the hosts’ attack around the park for a record-setting 241 for 4 in their 20 overs with Chris Gayle striking a superb 116 off 62 balls with seven boundaries and ten sixes. Any thoughts by home fans that the CPL record score might have been a hill too steep to climb soon disappeared as Patriots led by Evin Lewis’ blazing 17-ball 53, smashed their way to a record-breaking 242 for 6 with seven balls to spare.
It was exhilarating stuff on the small ground and on an excellent batting track. Tallawahs lost an early wicket when Glenn Phillips was dismissed in the fourth over bowled by Alzarri Joseph, chipping a delivery straight to Brathwaite at mid-off when he was eight. Chadwick Walton joined Gayle and the two proceeded to thrash the Patriots’ bowling to all parts of the ground. They matched each other for six-hitting and reaching the boundary and if anything Walton was the more aggressive of the two initially. The two Jamaicans added a massive 162 and between them accounted for 18 sixes and ten boundaries. Walton brought up his fifty in 25 balls in the 12th over and off the first ball of the next over Gayle reached his half-century off his 36th delivery.
The onslaught continued with all the bowlers frequently reaching or going over the boundary. Left-arm quick Dominic Drakes was pummelled for 47 runs in four overs. Gayle brought up his 22nd Twenty20 century in the 17th over when he scampered two and got the benefit of a dubious decision by the third umpire that ruled Walton in on the second run after a direct hit from Shamarh Brooks had disturbed the stumps at the non-striker’s end. At the end of the 17th over the score was 199 for 1 and Patriots’ fans could have been excused for thinking this was a lost cause.
Joseph got rid of Walton in the 18th over for 73 when he had him caught at long-on by Brathwaite. Walton batted 36 balls and struck three boundaries and eight sixes. Joseph went for three boundaries to end his fourth over but was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 39. Walton was replaced by Andre Russell and he struck a quick-fire 15 with two sixes before he became the second of left-arm spinner Fabian Allen’s victims in the final over. The first had been Gayle who also offered Brathwaite a catch at long-on which he accepted off the first ball of the over. Brathwaite took the catches to dismiss the four wickets to fall.
Any hopes Patriots had of challenging the total depended on the start that they got from Lewis and opening partner Devon Thomas. And they both delivered. The first over of the reply bowled by fast bowler Jerome Taylor went for seven runs but that was just the calm before the storm. The second over bowled by off-spinner Steven Jacobs went for nine runs with Lewis’ hit over long-on for six, portending what was soon to unfold. The carnage started in the third over bowled by Taylor that went for 15 runs. And from there until the 39th over home fans were sent into constant bursts of excitement as boundaries rained with welcoming monotony.
Fourth over bowled by Jacobs – 21 runs; fifth over bowled by fast bowler Oshane Thomas – 23 runs; sixth over bowled by Russell – an almost paltry 14 runs. The massacre included Lewis bringing up the fastest half-century in CPL history in 17 balls, six sixes and three fours. Amazingly, Lewis and Thomas added 85 runs for the opening stand in five overs and two balls. Lewis lost his wicket off the third ball of the sixth over when he gloved an off-cutter from Russell through to wicketkeeper Phillips.
Sussex’s right-handed batsman Laurie Evans replaced Lewis and he continued the momentum from the first ball he faced which he dispatched past short fine leg to the boundary. Evans and Thomas added 76 in six overs with the Englishman clobbering 41 in 20 balls with four sixes and two boundaries. He looked in excellent touch before a lofted drive off Oshane Thomas in the 12th over saw him being caught by Russell at deep over. Brathwaite filled the breach but he was not to have any impact with the bat.
Thomas, who reached speeds of 150kph, had come in for some hammering by batsmen who used his pace to their advantage. He entered his third over with figures of 1 for 41 but would cause a few flutters in the Patriots’ camp when he took three wickets in the over to end with 4 for 53. He accounted for his namesake Devon to a spectacular one-handed catch by Phillips off the first ball of the 14th over. Thomas’ 40-ball 71 included eight boundaries and three sixes. A lazy-looking drive by Brathwaite off the third delivery saw him depart for zero to a catch to Russell, and Jason Mohammed was also dismissed without scoring off the last ball of the over when he gloved a catch to Phillips.
But there was no need to panic. Allen has been wasted in the lower order of the West Indies’ team though he is a top-order batsman who bowls. Tonight, he was scintillating, smashing 37 in 15 balls with five boundaries and two sixes. He and Shamarh Brooks (27 in 15 balls) added 50 before the latter’s departure in the penultimate over. But by the end of the same over Patriots had stunned the Jamaica Tallawahs and their flag-waving fans in the stands with a victory to remember.