Not even Andre Russell’s sensational unbeaten fifty could save Jamaica Tallawahs from their second defeat as Guyana Amazon Warriors defended the lowest ever total in Caribbean Premier League history to snatch a dramatic 14-run victory in Trinidad on Saturday.
Chasing what should have been a straightforward target of 119 but on a pitch taking turn and proving difficult for stroke-play, Tallawahs found themselves suffocated especially by Amazon Warriors’ spinners and limped to a painstaking 104 for seven off their 20 overs.
The two-time champions were labouring on 36 for four at the half-way stage and when they lost three further wickets for 25 runs inside the next six overs, they appeared dead and buried at 59 for seven.
With the required run rate spiraling at 15 per over, Russell stepped up to blast a spectacular unbeaten 52 off 37 deliveries, counting four fours and five sixes.
But with 32 needed from the last two overs however, seamers Naveen-ul-Haq and Keemo Paul combined to limit Tallawahs to just 17 runs from the last 12 deliveries and see the last year’s losing finalists to an unlikely victory and their second in three games.
Left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd (second from left) celebrates his wicket on Saturday at the Brian Lara Stadium.
While they top the standings with four points, Tallawahs lie fifth on two points, with memories of last season’s nightmare already beginning to resurface.
Sent in, Amazon Warriors too struggled and their 118 all out off the first ball of the final over represented a huge disappointment for the star-studded unit.
Opener Brandon King top-scored with 29 from 19 balls while Chandrapaul Hemraj and New Zealander Ross Taylor both got 21 but Amazon Warriors found themselves mesmerised by 19-year-old Afghan off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3-14) and 20-year-old Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (2-8) and crumbled meekly.
Seamer Carlos Brathwaite helped with mopping up operations at the end to finish with three for 14 as Amazon Warriors posted the lowest total in this year’s tournament.
There was no hint of the carnage to come when King struck three fours and a couple of sixes in putting on 56 off 34 balls for the first wicket with Hemraj.
But the tide turned when King missed a slog at Mujeeb and had his stumps shattered in the sixth over and off the very next delivery, in-form Shimron Hetmyer played back, found himself cramped for room and lost his leg stump.
When Hemraj was taken at point off seamer Russell in the seventh over, Amazon Warriors had lost three wickets for one run in the space of four deliveries.
And there was no revival as the last seven wickets went down for just 61 runs.
The start to the Tallawahs run chase was even more dramatic as they lost Chadwick Walton to the first ball, lbw to off-spinner Chris Green (2-10), defending tentatively.
Nkrumah Bonner (4) followed in Green’s next over, the beneficiary of a poor lbw decision and when Glenn Phillips (0) guided left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd to Paul at point at the start of the fourth over, Tallawahs were in disarray.
Captain Rovman Powell laboured 30 balls for his 23, striking a four and a six in posting 30 for the fourth wicket with Asif Ali (14) in an attempt to rescue the innings.
But with pressure building, Asif skied to Hetmyer in the deep and Carlos Brathwaite missed a heave at the 14th ball he faced and was bowled by seamer Paul for five, leaving Tallawahs on 48 for five in the 13th over.
Powell finally holed out in the deep off Naveen in the 15th over with two runs added and Russell, who managed a single run from his first 11 deliveries, then exploded but the innings proved in vain.