Caribbean Premier League (CPL) finally saw a team choose to bat first and win as Glenn Phillips accelerated after a sluggish start to bat through the innings and get the Jamaica Tallawahs a total that a faltering St Kitts & Nevis Patriots batting lineup never looked like achieving against a disciplined and skillful bowling attack.
Promoted to open, Nkrumah Bonner steered Sheldon Cottrell for four and drove Ish Sodhi for the game’s first Hero Maximum, but in trying to pick up a second off Imran Khan he chipped to Cottrell at long-on. The Tallwahs reached the Powerplay at 28/1.
Jermaine Blackwood got off the mark with a Hero Maximum off Sodhi, but Imran continued to be hard to hit. Patriots captain Rayad Emrit brought himself on, going for seven, and at halfway the Tallawahs were 53/1.
The first ball after the break, Blackwood carved Cottrell for four. Phillips ended that over with his first four off his 24th ball, but the Tallawahs lost Blackwood when he picked out Dunk at long-off off Emrit.
Phillips finally hit his first Hero Maximum off his 28th ball, lofting Jon-Russ Jaggesar over long-on, but should have fallen two balls later, Nick Kelly spilling a simple chance. Imran tightened the screw, finishing his miserly spell (the most economical completed spell of Hero CPL 2020) with a maiden to Phillips who was now 28 off 36 balls. After 14 overs, the Tallawahs were 79/2.
Asif Ali tried to pick up the pace, lofting the last ball of Jaggesar’s spell for a Hero Maximum, but fell in the next over, Sodhi’s last, trying to repeat the trick. Evin Lewis must get credit for a well-judged catch on the midwicket boundary.
Phillips at last clicked, passing a run a ball off his 46th delivery and reaching 50 off his 47th with three Hero Maximums off Cottrell. While he managed another Hero Maximum off Emrit, the Patriots captain dismissed Rovman Powell and Carlos Brathwaite in quick succession and the Tallawahs reached 18 overs at 126/5.
Cottrell started the 19th over with three full tosses, the first a beamer, but finished by bowling the struggling Chadwick Walton. Phillips kept going to the end, levering a low full toss over long-on for a sixth Hero Maximum and whipping a four through square leg. Phillips’ acceleration was stark - he scored 38 off his first 44 balls and 41 off his last 17, and at the end he was visibly drained, so much so Walton took over as wicket-keeper.
The Patriots too changed their openers, a groin injury to Lewis meaning Kieran Powell came up the order. While Chris Lynn opened his account with a Hero Maximum off Fidel Edwards, Edwards got revenge next ball with a late outswinger that hit middle stump.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Veerasammy Permaul bowled two overs apiece and conceded just one boundary, with Kieran Powell dropped by Asif off Mujeeb. The new opener cashed in with a lovely lofted four off Edwards. The Patriots closed the first six at 39/1.
The Patriots stumbled further when Ramdin edged a cut to keeper Walton off Permaul. Ben Dunk was bowled fourth ball by Brathwaite as part of a wicket-maiden, and Kieran Powell in trying to break free off Permaul gave Walton a stumping with time to spare. Between the Powerplay and the drinks break, the Patriots faced 20 balls and lost 3/6.
That stumping was Walton’s last act behind the stumps, as a recovered Phillips resumed his duties after drinks. After 10 overs, the Patriots were becalmed at 47/4 with Lewis injured, and with two overs of Mujeeb and four overs of Sandeep Lamichhane still to come.
Emrit got his team their first boundary in 30 balls, but he fell two balls later leading-edging Brathwaite to point. Lewis could be delayed no longer, which in turn brought Lamichhane into the attack. Kelly swept for four, but still the over went for just six, and after 13 overs the required run rate had climbed to 11 an over.
Rovman Powell brought back Mujeeb who went for just four. Lewis and Kelly managed a brief flurry of boundaries off Lamichhane and Edwards, but Edwards had the last laugh as Kelly dragged a pull onto his own stumps.
The Tallawahs’ elite spinners would be denied no longer. Lamichhane’s seam-up variation saw the valiant Lewis hole out to long-on, Mujeeb grabbed a simple caught and bowled off Cottrell, and Lamichhane bowled Sodhi with a googly. The game was already lost when the final wicket fell, Brathwaite picking up a third as some compensation for his duck today and his mauling by the Tridents’ Kyle Mayers on Wednesday.
Winning without the injured Andre Russell, who is expected to be fit for Tuesday’s game against the Trinbago Knight Riders, will please the Tallawahs camp no end, but the struggles continue for the Patriots who have left themselves with a lot to do in the last group matches of Hero CPL 2020.