In T20 cricket, there are times—not often—when 120-odd is a defensible total. Last night, when the fifth-placed Guyana Amazon Warriors (2 pts) hosted the third-placed Jamaica Tallawahs (6 pts) in the 15th match of the current CPL season, was one of those rare occasions when 128 proved enough for the team batting first to win, thus earning two more points to take their tally to eight after five games.
But it could so easily have been different.
With eight runs needed for a win off the last over, off the third ball, Jason Mohammed was given a life at long-on by a combination of Rovman Powell and Lendl Simmons and scampered three. He added another single off the fourth ball and then watched from the non-striker’s end as two of his teammates committed hara-kiri.
But the homesters, thanks largely to an opening partnership of 67 by skipper Martin Guptill and Chadwick Walton, had put themselves in good position to beat their more fancied opponents.
Given first strike by Guptill, the visitors squandered a decent start by openers Simmons (20 off 24 balls, 2 x 4, 1 x 6) and Glenn Phillips (51 off 47, 4 x 4, 2 x 6) that saw them reach 30 without loss after five overs.
Leg-spinner Rashid Khan bowled Simmons with the second ball of the last over of the Power play. Phillips then added 20 with the in-form Andre McCarthy before the latter fell LBW to Sohail Tanvir off the third ball of the tenth. From there, 50 for 2, things went steadily downhill.
Of the remaining batsmen, only Jonathan Foo, who struck one six and two fours in his 20 off 12 balls, managed to get into double figures, sharing a 33-run partnership with Phillips. But that pairing apart, there was a constant procession between the middle and the dugout. Rayad Emrit (2/24), Khan (2/36) and Steven Jacobs (2/18) so restricted the Tallawahs’ batsmen that the last eight wickets added a mere 78 runs in the last ten overs.
That left the visitors on a modest 128 for 7 and the home side with, in familiar conditions, a seemingly unchallenging target.
An unusually subdued Guptill, twice dropped on 16 and 18, and Chadwick Walton (37 off 33, 3 x 4) posted 61 off the first ten overs, with Guptill (33 off 41, 2 x 4) contributing 23 and Walton 35. In the 11th over, Imad Wasim failed to hold on to a difficult return catch from Walton. But he would add only two more before he departed, caught at backward point off the irrepressible Kesrick Williams, Man-of-the-match with 3 for 30.
It was Williams who had the ball in his hand at the started of the last over, victory for the bating side a mere eight runs away. He saw Babar Azam take a single to long-off off the first ball and then Mohammed dropped off the third delivery as Simmons failed to hold on to a ball tossed back to him by Powell.
Powell needed no help off the next ball, however, pouching the chance at long-on to dismiss Azam and leave the batting side needing four runs to win.
Mohammed managed only one to extra-cover off the fifth ball, which meant that the equation was now three to win, two for a super over.
Roshon Primus went for glory; Williams denied him, his skier caught at deep midwicket by the substitute fielder.
With five of their ten games already completed, the Warriors now find themselves stuck on two points. Their next assignment is on Saturday against the high-flying table-toppers, the Trinbago Knight Riders
They, along with the St Lucia Stars, will be watching next month’s playoffs on television if, as skipper Guptill told the disappointed crowd in the post-match presentation, “we don’t start winning games.”
Jamaica Tallawahs: 128 for 7 (Glenn Phillips 51, Lendl Simmons 20, Jonathan Foo 20, Steven Jacobs 2/18, Rayad Emrit 2/24, Rashid Khan 2/36);
Guyana Amazon Warriors: 126 for 5 (Chadwick Walton 37, Martin Guptill 33, Kesrick Williams 3/30).
Toss: Guyana Amazon Warriors