All-rounder Raymon Reifer’s incisive performance, coupled with a priceless unbeaten fifty from Glenn Phillips, guided Barbados Royals to their first win of the new Caribbean Premier League season as they brushed aside Jamaica Tallawahs by 15 runs on Saturday.
After suffering back-to-back losses, Royals finally found their stride, recovering from crisis at 51 for four at the end of the seventh over to reach a competitive 161 for five off their 20 overs.
New Zealander Phillips carved out an unbeaten 56 off 46 deliveries, adding 31 with Azam Khan (13) for the fifth wicket and a further 79 in an unbroken sixth wicket with Reifer who made 31 not out from 20 balls.
Reifer returned with his left-arm seam to snatch three for 31 as Tallawahs’ powerful batting lineup was held to 146 for nine off their 50 overs.
Pacers Thisara Perera (2-17) and Mohammad Amir (2-23) grabbed a couple of wickets apiece as only Shamarh Brooks with 47 off 45 deliveries and Carlos Brathwaite, 29 off 27 balls, managed to get decent starts.
“I call him my banker. He’s a big day horse. He’s done it time and time again for us over the years,” Royals captain Jason Holder said of Reifer.
“It’s good the selection panel could give him that confidence to bring him in. He didn’t start [the tournament] but he was very, very supportive off the field, and it’s really good to see him come in and succeed.”
He added: “It’s good to get over the line finally. Credit to all the boys, I think everybody played a really good part in this victory.”
In reply, Tallawahs slumped to 33 for four in the sixth over, captain Rovman Powell (9) the fourth wicket to fall when he was brilliantly run out by Hayden Walsh Jr at the striker’s end, attempting a sharp single with Brooks.
A 66-run, fifth wicket partnership between Brooks and Brathwaite then ensued, reviving Tallawahs’ hopes of reeling in their target.
But Reifer made two key strikes in the 15th over, first getting Brathwaite to hole out to deep cover after the right-hander struck three fours and a six, and then claiming the prized wicket of Andre Russell for a first-ball ‘duck’ in identical fashion at 103 for six.
Brooks stroked half-dozen fours but failed to find the acceleration necessary, and 23 runs from the last over was always a stretch.
“In the last five overs [when we bowled] we strayed a little bit away from the plan and when we batted, I think I got run out at a very important time and we lost Andre at a key time of the game,” said Powell.