St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 242 for 6 (Thomas 71, Lewis 53, Oshane 4-53) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 241 for 4 (Gayle 116, Walton 73, Allen 2-30) by four wickets
A rollicking run-fest at St Kitts ended with the second-highest T20 chase of all time, with home team Patriots scaling down Jamaica Tallawahs’ 241 with seven balls to spare. The batting records tumbled on a night where the CPL got two high scores in a matter of hours. In all, 37 sixes were hit in the match, joint-highest in T20 cricket. The win also resulted in the first points taken by a team other than Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders in this edition of the CPL.
Chris Gayle held the largest share of that, hitting ten sixes as he made his 22nd T20 ton in the company of Chadwick Walton, whose 36-ball 73 came in a record stand of 162. But Evin Lewis set the chase rolling with the fastest CPL fifty, off 17 balls, and the rest of the top four put in significant performances as Patriots overcame a late stumble to complete the win.
Patriots hand the advantage early
After a delayed start due to broadcast issues, Patriots opted to open the bowling with the left-arm spin of Fabian Allen. This played into the hands of Chris Gayle, who hit him for two sixes and a four. In the second over, Alzarri Joseph bowled two bouncers to concede a no-ball, bowled a wide off the free hit, and then a short ball to give away a four. Without any risks, Tallawahs got 26 off the first two and put the pressure on Patriots.
A record partnership, a record total
Despite the early damage, Patriots enforced a brief period of quiet through bowling their seamers for seven overs in a row, including bowling six straight dot balls to Walton at the start of his innings. But when legspinner Usama Mir came on, the shackles were broken again. Walton hit him for two glorious straight sixes in an over that went for 19, and the pair didn’t relent from there. Walton kept the rate up when Gayle was kept quiet, with stylish strokes straight over the bowlers, and one especially inventive ramp over third man.
Mir’s second over set Gayle free, the flat trajectory landing nicely in his arc as he lifted him over long-on in a 15-run over. With runs coming quickly from both ends, Patriots’ haphazard bowling plans were put under even more pressure. Between the 11th and 16th over, Tallawahs hit 13 sixes. Only in one over during that period did an over go for under two sixes.
In a rare quiet over, the 17th, Gayle brought up his 22nd T20 hundred, and off the next ball, the pair took a double that brought up the highest CPL partnership for any wicket – 162. Walton fell for a 36-ball 73, Gayle fell to Allen – who also got Russell – in the last over for 116. But it was too late by then. The last 10 overs had gone for 153 and Tallawahs had reached a CPL record total.
Patriots fly in the chase
The record-breaking continued into the Patriots innings, with the pitch proving with every over that it had nothing for the bowlers. Evin Lewis picked the off side against both Jerome Taylor and offspinner Steven Jacobs, hitting delightful sixes square off the former, and attacking the straight boundaries off the latter. Opening with the promoted Devon Thomas, Lewis brought up a 17-ball fifty, the fastest in CPL history, and was dismissed with the score on 85 in 5.3 overs. With 89, Patriots had the second-highest Powerplay score in the CPL.
The wicket didn’t put a stop to the scoring. At No. 3, Laurie Evans began with a four first ball and continued the attack with Thomas. He was fed several leg-stump deliveries, some of them duly put away for six, as Thomas was characteristically more deft with about his scoring options, trying to pick the gaps in the field to hit more fours than sixes. They put on 76 off 39 before Evans’ check-shot found sweeper cover at the end of the 12th over. At that point, they needed 81 off eight overs, far below the original asking rate of 12.10.
Allen shows how it’s done
Wicketkeeper Glenn Phillips took a sensational flying catch to his right, one-handed, as Thomas’ attempted slog against Oshane took a big outside edge. It turned out to be the first of three wickets in the 14th over, which had begun with Patriots needing 9.42 per over with eight wickets in hand. Captain Carlos Brathwaite slapped one to sweeper cover, and Jason Mohammed edged down leg side trying to pull. From 161 for 1, Patriots fell to 177 for 5.
From being favourites, Patriots seemed to be slipping, with their coaching staff visibly frustrated at what seemed to be a compulsion to play big shots. But Allen alleviated any anxieties from the Oshane over, playing two controlled shots – a classy drive past mid-off, a cut past point – to pick up boundaries off consecutive balls against Andre Russell.
At the other end, Shamarh Brooks survived after swinging and missing at a few, before he too found the boundaries in an important 15-ball 27. When he fell, he and Allen had put up 50. In the next three balls, Allen pulled Russell over midwicket, cut him past point, and hooked him over short fine leg to seal the victory with seven balls to spare. Allen’s unbeaten 37 came at a remarkable strike rate of 246.66, considering how chanceless and risk-free his innings had been.