All-rounder Andre Russell’s magical last over backed up by Chadwick Walton’s half-century steered Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) T20 champions Jamaica Tallawahs to a nerve-wracking 4-run win over the Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence last evening.
Russell held his nerve conceding just six runs off the last over after the home team required 11 runs to cruise to their fourth consecutive win in what was termed as a grudge match from last year’s finals between the two sides.
The final over saw Lendl Simmons managing a single, putting Chris Barnwell on strike who scored a run through the covers. With the well-set Simmons on strike, Russell kept a good full length as the opener pushed the third ball for another single. Barnwell got a thick edge through the slip region but it was cut off by Jerome Taylor before it could reach the boundary.
With two legal balls remaining, Barnwell was unable to score off the penultimate ball of the over and scratched for a single on the last ball as Russell of a vocal Guyana audience which packed the stadium.
Both teams went into last evening’s encounter undefeated but a good all-round performance from the champions set up a fantastic last day of cricket in Guyana. The Tallawahs scored a competitive 148 for 6 in their 20 overs thanks to the opener Walton who set the platform with a brisk 53 from 42 deliveries with six fours and one six. He shared a 49-run opening stand with skipper Chris Gayle (11) who failed to click while Australian Adam Voges crafted a workman-like 48 with two fours and a six and shared a repair third wicket partnership of 55 with Walton.
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham was the pick of the Warriors’ bowlers claiming 2 for 21 while mystery spinner Sunil Narine was effective and economical ending with 1-14 from his quota of four overs and pacer Ronsford Beaton, 2-27.
Warriors opening batsman Simmons struck two sixes and three fours in his unbeaten 68 while skipper Denesh Ramdin retired hurt on 32 after being struck in the face by fast-bowler Jerome Taylor leaving Barnwell unbeaten on 10 as the Warriors managed to reach 144 for 2 before the overs expired. Nikita Miller with 1-27 and Juan “Rusty” Theron with 1-24 claimed wickets for the Tallawahs.
The Warriors had set out in typical fashion with Simmons being the more aggressive of the two, playing his wide array of shots as he has often done over recent times. Neesham who was used in a pinch-hitting fashion earned a promotion as an opener and looked good for his run-a-ball 16 before he was removed by Theron.
Mohammed Hafeez, who has yet to find his touch, was bowled by Miller for 9 leaving Guyana decently placed on 54-2 with skipper Ramdin and Simmons continuing the pursuit. The pair motored on, rotating the strike in a consistent manner and Simmons registered his first half-century of the tournament.
Earlier in the day, Walton continued his onslaught from the previous matches and smacked Hafeez in the second over of the match for a six over the mid-on area followed by a similar shot for four in the same region, while Gayle remain sedated.
Walton continued playing his shots while an uncharacteristically calm Gayle looked to find his feet, but Beaton had other plans for the Tallawahs skipper who seemed uncertain at the crease as he fired one in at the leg stump which was flicked down the throat of Johnson in deep mid-wicket.
Englishman Owais Shah (0) chopped another fuller length delivery from Beaton onto his stumps as the Warriors continued their knack for picking apart their opposition’s top order. At 50-2, Adam Voges and a well set Walton were tasked with steadying the ship against the in-form Guyana bowling unit.
The right-hander after playing well, brought up his half-century and the Jamaicans soon raised their 100-run mark in the 16th over but suffered a big setback when Walton who looked set to make a bigger score, fell at the hands of Narine. Neesham then struck two crucial blows placing himself on course for a hat-trick after Voges held on to Johnson two short of his half-century, followed by the dismissal of Russell who had his stumps uprooted.
Wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh Jr was the last to go courtesy of a run out by Neesham leaving West Indies Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood stranded, yet to come off the mark.
C Walton c Simmons b Narine 53
*C Gayle c Johnson b Beaton 11
O Shah b Beaton 0
A Voges c Johnson b Neesham 48
A Russell b Neesham 15
J Blackwood not out 0
+C Baugh run out 3
Extras (b4, lb 6, w8) 18
TOTAL (6 wkts, 20 overs) 148
Did not bat: R Theron, D Vettori, N Miller, J Taylor
Fall of wickets: 1-49 (Gayle, 7.2 overs), 2-50 (Shah, 7.5), 3-105 (Walton, 15.5), 4-145 (Voges, 19.3), 5-145 (Russell, 19.4), 6-148 (Baugh, 20)
Bowling: Santokie 4-0-38-0 (w3), Mohammad Hafeez 2-0-19-0 (w1), Beaton 4-0-27-2 (w2), Narine4-0-14-1 (w1), Neesham 3-0-21-2 (w1), Permaul 3-0-19-0.
L Simmons not out 68
J Neesham c Russell b Theron 16
Mohammad Hafeez b Miller 9
*+D Ramdin ret. hurt 32
C Barnwell not out 10
Extras (lb3, w5, nb1) 9
TOTAL (2 wkts, 20 overs) 144
Did not bat: M Guptill, L Johnson, S Narine, V Permaul, K Santokie, R Beaton.
Fall of wickets: 1-41 (Neesham, 5.4 overs), 2-54 (Mohammad Hafeez, 8.3), 2-132* (Ramdin, ret. hurt 18.5).
Bowling: Vettori 4-0-15-0, Taylor 4-0-42-0 (nb1), Theron 4-0-24-1 (w2), Miller 4-0-27-1 (w2), Voges 2-0-16-0, Russell 2-0-17-0.
Result: Jamaica Tallawahs won by four runs.
Points: Jamaica Tallawahs 2, Guyana Amazon Warriors 0.
Man-of-the-Match: Chadwick Walton.
Toss: Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Umpires: Patrick Gustard, Peter Nero; TV – Nigel Duguid.