Chris Gayle, playing in his 50th CPL match, produced his 63rd T20 fifty as St Kitts & Nevis Patriots cruised past Jamaica Tallawahs by 37 runs to guarantee a place in the playoffs for the first time in their three-year history.
Given a chance on 15, Gayle would go on to top-score with 71 not out off 55 balls, as the Patriots racked up 208 for 3, the highest total of this CPL season, and the second-highest in the competition’s five year history.
Kumar Sangakarra won the toss and offered the home side first knock, who, despite a thirty-five minute rain delay after the eighth over, made the most of the invitation.
Gayle received excellent support from Evin Lewis who contributed 69 off 39 deliveries, which included five fours and six sixes, in an opening partnership of 110 in 12.3 overs. The next two batsmen continued to pile on the pressure on the hapless Tallawahs attack. Carlos Brathwaite’s 26 came off 13 balls and included two fours and two sixes, whilst Mohammad Nabi’s innings of 29 off deliveries included three maximums and a solitary boundary. Brandon King faced one ball, and promptly swatted the sixteenth six of the Patriots’knock.
Krishmar Santokie, one for 23 from his four overs, with an economy rate of 5.75, was the only bowler to escape the plundering, as every one of the other five bowlers utilized were taken for at least 10.00 an over.
The Tallawahs made a galant effort in their reply, but the score of 208 proved to be just too much to chase. Glenn Phillips and Trevon Griffith rattled up an opening partnership of 64 in the first 8.5 overs, before the latter was dismissed for 42, off 32 deliveries, inclusive of four boundaries and two sixes.
Despite a batting line up with the likes of Sangakarra (11), Lendl Simmons (6), Jonathan Foo (17), Rovman Powell (31), and Andre McCarthy (21), they were still 37 runs short when the twenty overs were completed, with Oden Smith 10, and Santokie 0, at the wicket, and the scoreboard reading 171 for 7. Left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi was the pick of the Patriots’ attack, grabbing 3 for 35 in four overs.
With the Patriots winning their fifth match and joining the Trinbago Knightriders in the playoffs, there will be a mad scramble for the last two places between the Barbados Tridents, the Tallawahs, and the Amazon Warriors, with the first two having home field advantage for the rest of the schedule.