BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Veteran Chris Gayle slammed his 22nd Twenty20 hundred but Evin Lewis unleashed the fastest-ever half-century in Caribbean Premier League history, as St Kitts and Patriots completed the highest-ever run chase in franchise cricket, to stun Jamaica Tallawahs by four wickets on Tuesday night.
In pursuit of a CPL record 242 at Warner Park, Patriots were propelled by Lewis’s 53 off 18 balls and a top score of 71 off 40 deliveries from fellow opener Devon Thomas, to reach their target still with seven balls to spare in a breathtaking exhibition of batting.
Englishman Laurie Evans chipped in with 41, West Indies all-rounder Fabian Allen struck an unbeaten 37 off 15 balls while Shamarh Brooks lashed a cameo 27 also off just 15 balls.
The result was still in the balance with Patriots on 188 for five after 15 overs but the hosts swiftly gathered 54 runs from the next 23 deliveries, Allen hitting the winning runs when he top-edged a short ball from pacer Andre Russell to the fine leg boundary.
The victory was the first of the campaign for Patriots after losing their opening two encounters but the result kept Tallawahs winless in two outings.
Gayle had bossed the first half of the encounter, belting a sensational 116 off 62 balls to propel the visitors to 241 for four off their 20 overs – the highest-ever total in CPL history.
He lost partner Glenn Phillips for eight after they were sent in, but then put on a spectacular 162 for the second wicket with fellow Jamaican Chadwick Walton whose whirlwind 73 came from a mere 36 balls.
The left-handed Gayle punched seven fours and 10 sixes – mostly leg-side strokes – while Walton lashed three fours and eight sixes.
Gayle took 17 runs from the game’s first over from left-arm spinner Allen but even so, his first fifty was not particularly swift, requiring 36 deliveries.
However, he upped the tempo considerably and his next fifty needed only 18 deliveries as he completed three figures in the 17th over with a couple to deep mid-wicket off seamer Rayad Emrit.
Gayle, who turns 40 later this month, is just 48 runs shy of 13 000 runs in T20s.
Walton, meanwhile, reached his half-century off 25 deliveries in the 12th over with two sixes in three balls off fast bowler Alzarri Joseph (2-39) before eventually perishing in the 18th, taken at long on by captain Carlos Brathwaite for the second of his four catches.
Gayle’s innings finally ended off the first ball of the final over when he holed out to long on off Allen, who finished with two for 30 from two expensive overs.
Needing to make history in order to overhaul their target, Patriots were handed a rollicking start by Thomas and Lewis who pummelled 85 off just 33 deliveries for the first wicket.
Thomas smashed eight fours and three sixes, en route to his second straight half-century off 30 balls while Lewis blasted three fours and half-dozen sixes.
The left-handed Lewis reached his landmark off a record 17 balls with a top-edged boundary to fine leg off Russell but was out the very next ball, gloving a catch behind in the sixth over.
Evans joined Thomas to keep the run rate ticking along at nearly 15 runs an over, in a second wicket partnership worth 76 off 39 balls.
Fast bowler Oshane Thomas, who claimed four for 53, got the breakthrough when he had Evans caught at cover, and then snatched three wickets in the 14th over to trigger a slide that saw four wickets tumble for 16 runs in the space of 14 balls.
With their run chase now in danger at 177 for five in the 14th over, Patriots were bailed out by a daring 50-run, sixth wicket partnership between Allen and Brooks, putting the game back in the hosts’ favour.
Allen struck five fours and two sixes while Brooks counted three fours and a six. By the time Russell bowled Brooks with a slower ball at the start of the penultimate over, the equation was a simple one for Patriots and Allen finished off with aplomb.