BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – Christopher Henry Gayle blasted a half century to lead the Jamaica Tallawahs to a convincing seven wicket victory over St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots in game nine of the Caribbean Premier League here yesterday.
Gayle led his troops with an unbeaten top score of 72 to complete a clinical chase with five balls to spare after Tallawahs bowlers restricted the Patriots to 160 for five at Warner Park. Captain Marlon Samuels and Martin Guptill scored solid half centuries and featured in important partnerships to help Patriots stitch together a decent total.
But Krishmar Santokie led the Tallawahs attack with an outstanding four wicket haul, including wickets in the final two balls of the innings, which has left him with a chance of completing a hatrick in his next match.
Tallawahs never looked in danger of losing the chase except for some uncertain moments in the middle overs when Patriots failed to build on some advantages including dropping Gayle on the verge of his half century, a highpoint of some poor fielding.
Gayle teamed up with Chris Lynn and together they clobbered the bowling including captain Samuels who was expensive in his two overs.
Gayle’s 72, which came off 54 balls, started quietly but transformed gradually into an entertaining knock punctuated with six fours and two sixes.
Patriots blew a chance to remove the prolific Jamaican batsman when he went after Shahid Afridi to bring up his half century but Orlando Peters dropped a regulation catch in the deep.
Lynn also played an entertaining innings during his 85 run partnership for the second wicket with his captain, scoring 52 from 33 balls, counting three fours and four sixes and bringing up his half century on a wave of three consecutive sixes of Samuels.
However he lost his wicket attempting to cut the first delivery from Carlos Brathwaite and succeeded only in dragging it back on to his stumps.
The homeside fought back, snapping up the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene, undone by a slower ball from Sohail Tanvir which kissed his glove and ballooned to wicketkeeper Devon Thomas who dived to his right to take an outstanding catch.
Andre Russell scored 21 from 14 balls in a 50 run partnership with Gayle who brought his side over the line by pulling Brathwaite to deep mid-wicket for four runs to wrap-up an efficient chase.
Patriots won the toss and elected to bat as Santokie struck during a dramatic first over of the innings in which he was hit for a four and a six by Evin Lewis who perished in the final delivery of that over.
He was beaten by a wonderful change of pace from Santokie, while going for another pull but missed and was adjudged lbw from a ball that landed on his back pad.
Patriot’s innings was built on two half century partnerships anchored by the New Zealand top order batsman Martin Guptill.
Guptill inspired a second wicket stand of 76 with Tonito Willet who contributed 31picking up two fours and two sixes.
However he became overly ambitious against Daniel Vettori when he sauntered down the track only to sky a catch to Andre Russell at long on.
Samuels joined Guptill and together they battled through the middle overs in a crucial 50 run stand until Santokie struck again in the death overs.
Despite slow scoring in the middle overs, Guptill completed a 49 ball 50 containing three fours and two sixes before going for another heave for Nikita Miller to take an easy catch.
The last two Patriots wickets fell in the final two balls of the innings leaving Santokie on a hatrick for his next match.
Samuels, who scored an even 50 from 31 balls, bolstered by four fours and two sixes, slapped the penultimate ball of the innings to Miller in the deep then Carlos Brathwaite top edged Santokie’s slower delivery for Jayawardene to take a comfortable catch.