MAN OF THE MATCH: CHADWICK WALTON.
The Jamaica Tallawahs registered a crucial 9 wicket victory against the St. Lucia Zouks in their first home match of the season.
Fifties from Chadwick Walton and Chris Gayle made light work of the St. Lucia Zouk’s total of 158-4, with the Tallawahs reaching the target with 24 balls to spare.
Although the run-chase was the highest successful chase ever at Sabina Park in the CPL, the Tallawahs were hardly troubled in pursuit, with some loose early Zouks bowling ensuring they got ahead of the rate and from that point they never looked back.
Walton and Gayle batted with care and caution, finding a perfect balance between defence, rotation and attack, never letting the run-rate spiral and punishing bad balls whenever the pressure hinted at mounting. Gayle, unusually, played second fiddle to Walton who was the early aggressor and then as the Tallawahs neared their target, stepped up his attack once more. Only when Walton was dismissed did the Gayle we know and love come to the fore as he thrashed fours and sixes away to carry the Tallawahs home.
Although they set a record target, the Zouks may look back on their innings and feel they were a few runs short. Kevin Pietersen was the only batsman who scored more than 29, blitzing 83 not out from 57 balls – his second consecutive CPL fifty. Pietersen’s last two innings have reaped 157 runs from 96 balls.
The Tallawahs did admittedly bowl excellently at the beginning of the Zouks innings after winning the toss and electing to field. Krishmar Santokie removed Johnson Charles in the first over of the match before getting this season’s leading run-scorer Andre Fletcher stumped for 8 in the third over.
The loss of Ross Taylor too before the end of the Powerplay, ensured a rebuilding phase must occur, and although Pietersen and Darren Sammy later kicked on, the understandable caution they exhibited in the second quarter of the innings, perhaps saw them finish a few runs light of what would’ve been a more pressuring total.
Pietersen did his best to repair the damage smiting a flurry of boundaries as the innings wound to a close. Having scored 56-3 from the first ten, the Zouks managed an impressive 102-1 from their last ten.
The Zouks didn’t bowl well early on however, and once they let the Tallawahs slip there was no stopping them.