CPL 2017: Thomas, Sangakkara secure Tallawahs’ playoffs berth

Kumar Sangakkara lifts one towards wide long-on Randy Brooks - CPL T20 / Getty

By Peter Della Penna

Jamaica Tallawahs 157 for 5 (Sangakkara 69, Powell 43) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 116 (Lewis 40, Santokie 3-10, Oshane 3-31) by 41 runs

Kumar Sangakkara lifts one towards wide long-on Randy Brooks – CPL T20 / Getty

(ESPNcricinfo) Chris Gayle’s return to Sabina Park was spoiled by Man of the Match Oshane Thomas, whose searing pace dismantled St Kitts & Nevis Patriots’ chase, as a spirited effort from Jamaica Tallawahs in the field resulted in a 41-run win. The defending CPL champions clinched their fifth straight playoff berth and moved one point ahead of Patriots to second on the CPL points table. Thomas took 3 for 31, including the wicket of Gayle for a three-ball duck.

Another Tallawahs win in their final match against Guyana Amazon Warriors would put them into the opening playoff match against the Trinbago Knight Riders for a chance to gain direct entry into the tournament final.

Tallawahs’ inauspicious start

Victory was the furthest thing from the minds of Tallawahs supporters after Lendl Simmons was bowled off the first ball of the game. Pace bowlers have been sensational in the final week of the season and that trend continued on Wednesday night as Sheldon Cottrell swung one full and straight to castle the right-hander before halting his follow-through to stand at attention for his patented military salute send-off. It was the first of two wickets on the night for Cottrell.

Sangakkara’s streak continues

While Sri Lanka’s fortunes continue to wane post Kumar Sangakkara’s international retirement, his form has been waxing lyrical all summer, whether in England with Surrey or in the Caribbean with the Tallawahs. Arriving in the middle for the second ball of the match, Sangakkara settled early nerves by forging an 81-run stand with Glenn Phillips.

Sangakkara kickstarted the innings in the fifth over against Ben Hilfenhaus, riding a pair of streaky shots that fell safely as he carted the Australian for three fours and two sixes in a 24-run over. He routinely used his feet to combat the Patriots’ spin trio of Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nabi and Tabraiz Shamsi. When he wasn’t charging forward, he got creative within the crease, shuffling back and across to disrupt their lines with a series of flicks and scoops. By the end of his innings, he’d racked up his third consecutive half-century.

Powell’s prodigious power

While Sangakkara drove most of the Tallawahs innings, runs were trickling through at the other end. By the time he got out with eight balls left in the innings at 135 for 4, Patriots were looking at chasing an under-par total. That’s when Rovman Powell stomped down hard on the accelerator for a furious finish to the innings.

Having smashed a free hit off Shamsi over midwicket a few overs earlier for six in search of his timing, Powell chopped an edge for four to fine leg to end the 19th. After nearly being run-out off the first ball of the 20th, he found his radar once more against Cottrell, creaming him over midwicket and long-off for consecutive sixes to take Tallawahs past 150 before falling on the final ball of the innings.

Lightning strikes twice

Just as Simmons fell at the start of the match without scoring, so too did Gayle. The Universe Boss fell in somewhat more shocking fashion though. One of the most fearsome six-hitters in world cricket padded up to an inswinger from an amped-up Oshane Thomas. Gayle appeared to motion after the ball struck him as if he had failed to pick it up or something distracted him. The umpire disregarded the gesture and simply raised his finger to send Gayle on his way.

Wonderboy tees off, then strikes out

Evin Lewis shook off Gayle’s abrupt departure by scorching 40 of the next 43 runs in partnership with Mohammad Hafeez. Returning to the same ground he blitzed a T20I century against India earlier in the summer, Lewis targeted the leg-side boundary early and often with six fours and two sixes.

He began the fifth over by smacking three consecutive boundaries off Mohammad Sami, then drove a moon shot over long-on for six off the fifth ball. That shot resulted in a broken bat. Just like Roy Hobbs in Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, Lewis was sapped of his powers without his go-to bat and promptly popped a tame return catch to Sami off the final ball of the over. Only two more batsmen reached double-figures in the Patriots innings as Thomas and Krishmar Santokie took three wickets each to bowl out Patriots for 116 inside of 18 overs.




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