A Jamaica Tallawahs squad that started the 2019 Caribbean Premier League season with Chris Gayle, Rovman Powell, Oshane Thomas, Andre Russell, Glenn Phillips and Chadwick Walton, and ended with the likes of Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor and Liton Das, suffered their final insult when they were dismissed for 79 in 16.3 overs by the rampant Guyana Amazon Warriors at Providence Stadium, Guyana, tonight.
Batting first after winning the toss in their penultimate preliminary game, the Warriors amassed 156 for 6 in their 20 overs, thanks to a brilliant unbeaten 73 by captain Shoaib Malik and 45 from Sherfane Rutherford. In response, the Tallawahs miserable season ended without as much as a whimper as they crumbled to 79 with Phillips and Das’ 21 the highest scores in their abject batting performance. The victory was the Amazon Warriors’ ninth on the trot with one more preliminary game to be played against the Trinbago Knight Riders.
But it was not initial plain sailing for the hosts as eight balls into the game, they had lost four wickets to Derval Green and Thomas, both on a hat-trick at the same time. With their backs to the wall, Malik the only overseas captain in CPL 2019, resurrected the innings with a 82-run stand with Rutherford.
This was by all means a bat-first pitch. Tallawahs knew it would get slower and stop on the batsmen as the game progressed, which is why they couldn’t have bargained for a better start. Off the very first over, Oshane had his Jamaican compatriot Brandon King bowled as he backed away to slap a length ball over cover and Shimron Hetmyer caught behind, albeit in controversial circumstances with replays providing no conclusive evidence to support or negate his dismissal.
Off the first two balls of the next over, Derval Green beat Chandrapaul Hemraj for pace by pushing him back and flattening the leg stump before sucker-punching Nicholas Pooran lbw with a full inswinger that tailed in late to crash into the pad. Eight balls, eight runs, four wickets. Tallawahs were on fire.
Malik and Rutherford walked in to a crisis and walked out of one very quickly. From overs 3 to 8, Rutherford counter-attacked to ensure they had at least one boundary every over. Off Green’s second, Rutherford carved out three boundaries to put the pressure right back. Malik quickly slipped into the role of a second fiddle and allowed Rutherford to do all the scoring, the pair raising their half-century stand off just 38 balls; Rutherford’s contribution being 33.
Tallawahs were slightly taken aback by the counter and continued to slip, not even Rutherford’s wicket to break an 82-run stand coming as a respite. They let Malik off the hook on 20 when Zahir Khan misjudged and eventually put down a sitter at short fine leg in the 12th over off Dwayne Smith.
This merely proved to be the trigger for Malik to go on a calculative attack as he brought up a half-century off just 35 deliveries. Then he took apart Thomas at the death as he erred consistently in lengths to concede 26 off the penultimate over.
South African-born Australian off-spinner Chris Green continues to quietly make heads turn. The Australian selectors may well have an excellent Powerplay spin option to consider for next year’s T20 World Cup, because he’s accurate, economical, gets the ball to skid, bounce and varies his angles well. All this helped get rid of T20 cricket’s greatest ever batsman Chris Gayle first ball when he went around the stumps and got one to fizz straight on and beat him on the inside edge.
Malik cleverly went with spin at the other end too, with Imran Tahir and he had Walton hole out to long-on in the third over.
Phillips, one of the finds for the Tallawahs, and Das limped to 26 for 2 in the Powerplays. Phillips looked to up the ante as he hit Qais Ahmed, the Afghanistan leggie, for successive boundaries in the seventh over to signal a change in intent, but with the asking rate spiralling, he holed out to long-on. It was the start of another collapse, the second of the night.
Ahmed impressed with his variety and his back-flip celebrations, too. He had the out-of-touch Dwayne Smith with a ripping leg-break and Imran Khan with a top-spinner off the last two balls off the 14th over. Off the first ball of the next, Keemo Paul, the only fast bowler employed by Warriors, had Das mistime a pull straight to midwicket.
Steven Jacobs averted four-in-four, by a hair’s breadth as a strong lbw appeal was turned down, with replays proving he might have been struck a tad too high. Two balls later, he too was gone and Tallawahs were 70 for 8. It summed up a sorry tale of a season where whatever could go wrong went wrong. (Cricinfo/WG)