KINGSTON, Jamaica – Veteran opener Chris Gayle surpassed 13 000 Twenty20 runs as Jamaica Tallawahs broke a four-game losing skid with a four-wicket victory over Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League last night.
Playing in steamy conditions following a 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern Caribbean time) start at Sabina Park, Tallawahs stifled the Tridents with spin, restricting them to 140 for nine off their allotted 20 overs.
Ashley Nurse, batting at number seven, top-scored with an aggressive 18-ball 37 while South African left-hander JP Duminy struggled for fluency in his 31 which required 35 deliveries.
They were the only two to pass 20 as left-arm spinner Zahir Khan weaved a web around the Tridents batsmen to end with three for 20 from his four overs.
New Zealander George Worker, who shared the new ball with fellow left-arm spinner Chris Lamont, finished with two for 16 while off-spinner Ramaal Lewis picked up two for 23.
In reply, Tallawahs spoiled a strong start after suffering a mini-collapse but recovered in time to reach their target with nine deliveries left.
Captain Chadwick Walton controlled the run chase with an unbeaten 51 off 42 balls – his ninth CPL fifty – while opener Glenn Phillips struck 28, rookie Javelle Glenn 27 and Gayle, 22.
Despite the win, Tallawahs are still bottom of the standings on two points while Tridents are just above them in fifth, also on two points, but with a superior net run rate.
Faced with a spin for the first power-play, Tridents never found their rhythm and were 44 for two at the end of the six-over period.
Worker accounted for both openers Alex Hales (12) and Johnson Charles (12) to catches by Lewis at a point before Duminy and Leniko Boucher (15) steadied the innings in a 31-run, third-wicket stand.
But they too found themselves both bogged down and Boucher perished trying to force the pace, tapping a return catch to Lewis in the eighth over.
With one run added in the next over, Zahir squared up captain Jason Holder and had him caught by Gayle at slip for a first-ball ‘duck’ and when left-hander Jonathan Carter holed out in the deep off Lewis for six, the visitors were going nowhere at 70 for five in the 12th over.
But Nurse chanced his hand, lashing four fours and three sixes in a 49-run, sixth-wicket stand with Duminy before both fell in the space of two balls in separate overs.
Phillips and Gayle then gave Tallawahs a smooth start when they put on 48 off 31 balls for the first wicket.
Significantly Gayle, six days shy of his 40th birthday, became the first batsman to pass 13 000 T20 runs in his 389th appearance when he smashed off-spinner Nurse for the second of two sixes in the second over.
Phillips, meanwhile, counted four fours and a six off 15 balls before becoming the first casualty, caught in the deep off Holder (2-21) in the sixth over and Gayle followed in the same over, also caught down the ground after being dropped off the previous delivery by Hayden Walsh running in from square leg.
When Walsh (2-32) removed both Worker (2) and Dwayne Smith (0) in successive deliveries in the ninth over to leave the innings on 68 for four, Tridents were back in the contest but Walton produced a mature knock to steer Tallawahs to victory.
He struck a four and reached his second half-century of the campaign with the last of his five sixes – a solid blow over long-on off medium-pacer Carter which took the hosts past their target.
Crucially, he posted 45 for the fifth wicket with Glenn who blasted four and three sixes in a 12-ball knock.
When Glenn and Lewis (2) fell in successive overs to leave Tallawahs on 116 for six in the 14th, Walton kept his nerve to foster a 29-run, unbroken seventh-wicket stand with Derval Green (9 not out) and see off the Tridents challenge.