More often than not, you’ll find a side chasing down a 130-odd target with ease in a Twenty20 clash. However, on a track with some help for the bowlers, the onus is put back on batsmen to work for their runs and guide the team home.
Jason Mohammed was crafty, worked hard for his a run-a-ball 41 in chase of 132 but once he was dismissed, the Guyana Amazon Warriors chase fell apart as they slipped to a four-run loss against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League 2017 clash at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Florida, on Sunday (August 6). Patriots got to a fighting score on the back of Chris Gayle’s half-century but with the late burst not arriving from the left-hander, they had to settle for a modest total.
The Warriors chase started with a wobble as both openers – Chadwick Walton and Steven Taylor – were dismissed inside four overs with just 12 runs on the board. Babar Azam and Jason Mohammed brought the innings back on track with a partnership of 55 before the former mistimed a hoick to the on side – off Mohammad Nabi – and was caught at long-off.
Patriots were sloppy in the field with both Mohammed and Azam dropped early on in their innings. Mohammed was calculated in his approach, judiciously combining the odd boundary with with the singles and twos he took to bring the equation down to 47 in the last six overs.
Patriots, though, fought their way back in the game after an spectacular effort from Finn Allen, the substitute fielder, to dismissed Mohammed. Finn covered some good ground at deep extra cover running to his left and plucked out a left-handed diving stunner. Warriors still needed a manageable 31 off the last four overs but the wicket gave Patriots the small opening they were desperately looking for.
One wicket led to another as the pressure mounted on the chasing side with 18 needed off the last two overs. Gajanand Singh scored 28 before he threw away his wicket in the last over. Brathwaite gave away just three runs in the last over, picked up a wicket and ensured his team recorded consecutive wins.
Earlier, Gayle scored unbeaten 66 to pull Patriots and give his bowlers something to work with. Gayle is synonymous to brute force and power but questions over his ability to recreate the same old magic are raised more often now. It’s not a hidden fact that the left-hander’s abilities to muscle the ball are waning. The scorecard will, of course, show that Gayle scored an unbeaten 66 but such is the reputation he carries that the fact he failed to kick on left many disappointed.
His innings lacked panache, the audacity Gayle brings to the game even against some of the best. It was a struggle that lasted 55 balls lacking any sort of momentum, flow or timing. Gayle, however, batted all 20 overs and was also the main reason Patriots reached a fighting score on a dying track.
With spinners and slow bowlers becoming extremely hard to get away, Gayle successfully managed to take on Rashid Khand put the legspinner under pressure. The 18-year-old gave away 36 from his four overs allowing Patriots some room to breathe when the other Warriors bowlers tightened the noose.
Patriots got off to a slow start with just 29 runs coming in the powerplay at the cost of Evin Lewis. Gayle and Hafeez tried to get the innings going but the latter was run out for a 14-ball 11.
With 34 for 2 on the board in the eighth over, the Patriots innings needed some serious resurrection job. Brandon King (39 off 35) played second fiddle to Gayle in the 97-run stand before he was run out in the final over of the game. Gayle brought his half-century off 43 deliveries with a boundary to fine-leg in the 17th over. He faced 12 deliveries in the last three overs after that, scoring 14, which included just one boundary and pushed the team past the 130-run mark.
Brief scores: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 132/3 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 66*) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 128/8 in 20 overs (Jason Mohammed 41) by four runs.