The Jamaica Tallawahs have won the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for a second time and speaking after their brilliant all round display at Warner Park Kumar Sangakkara explained what a second Hero CPL title meant to him.
“It is absolutely fantastic. I think it is just a vindication of how the team has played, unbelievably well led by the captain Chris Gayle. A lot of people look at Chris from the outside and think that he is all casual and happy go lucky but he is a man with a lot of determination to win and when you are close and playing in the same side you see that passion.”
Speaking of his teammates Sangakkara highlighted a few people that had been influential but also pointed out that it was a great performance by the whole squad.
“Credit to Superman [Andre] Russell, unbelievable again. Kesrick [Williams] I think has been just a champion throughout, but every single person has contributed. From Imad Wasim to Shakib al Hasan to Jonathan Foo coming in for the last two games, and then Oshane [Thomas], just two games, the semi-final and the final and bowled outstandingly well. I think it’s just been a fantastic team effort.”
The Tallawahs never let the Amazon Warriors into the game, with Russell claiming the wicket of Nic Maddinson in the very first over. For Sangakkara that start that saw them pick up key wickets was what set up the victory.
“The start was absolutely brilliant with Russell getting Maddison, we talked about the lines to bowl to him and it was the perfect ball in the channel. Chris Lynn, unfortunately, probably got out to the worst ball bowled to him the whole tournament, he has been an absolute champion for Guyana. A lot rested on his shoulders and unfortunately for him it was not to be today. He was always going to be the danger man and once we removed him and Dwayne Smith the two left arm spinners [Shakib and Imad] just made sure that the pressure was built, wickets were taken and the fielding was outstanding.”
Sangakkara is now 38-years-old, but here he was hitting the winning runs in the final of the Hero CPL. He says that being able to play an important role for the teams he is a part of is what keeps him going.
“That is the whole point of playing. If you are not going to contribute to winning campaigns it is always hard to keep yourself going. It was a privilege at my age to come and play with these boys and still be of value.”
Sri Lankan Sangakkara comes from an island nation that has punched above its weight over the years, just like Jamaica, and he says that the word “Tallawah” which means strong-willed and fearless is the perfect name for this team.
“I think the name itself says it all. Small, but proud and strong. You take setbacks, you take it on the chin and you come back stronger. That has been the story of Jamaica, from its athletes to it is cricketers, they show that Tallawahs spirit. And this was just the case, from Florida to here, to lose three games on the trot to win against Trinbago, come here and beat one of the best sides it is just the epitome of the word Tallawah.”
While the Tallawahs were celebrating late into the night the Amazon Warriors were bitterly disappointed that after topping the league and beating the Tallawahs in the first playoff, they saved their worst ever batting performance for the final.
Amazon Warriors captain Rayad Emrit lamented the lack of batting rigidity throughout their innings. They were dismissed for just 93 with only Sohail Tanvir making a significant contribution with the bat.
“Tonight just wasn’t supposed to be,” Emrit said. “We just didn’t get the runs that we wanted. All in all I am really proud of the guys. Obviously we didn’t get enough runs on the board and we kept losing wickets at crucial times, we didn’t have any partnerships at all.”
Chris Lynn said that despite this loss the team can take a lot of positives about how well they have played throughout this edition of the Hero CPL.
“It is disappointing, but I said in the team meeting beforehand regardless of how we played tonight we had a really good tournament. We were the underdogs in the actual tournament and we had some very good performances. We can hold our heads high, and we have got the motivation to go one better next year.”
This was the third time that the Amazon Warriors have lost in the final and it will be one of the more painful defeats, but as Lynn says they are ready to try again next year.