Kesrick Williams defended eight runs off the final over to help Jamaica Tallawahs stretch their winning streak to four games with a two-run victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors in a low-scoring thriller at Providence Stadium in Guyana on Thursday (August 17).
Put in to bat first, Tallawahs managed only 128 from their allotted quota of overs, courtesy Glenn Phillips’ half-century, but Williams snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the closing minutes of the chase to narrow down the gap between table-toppers Trinbago Knight Riders to two points.
Warriors looked hardly troubled for the better part of the seemingly easy 129-run chase. The opening pair of Chadwick Walton and Martin Guptill had put on a solid 67-run stand in 11.3 overs to lay the groundwork. Overcoming a cautious start, Walton played the aggressor in the partnership and scored a brisk 37 off 33 before Williams managed a breakthrough for his side. Skipper Guptill survived only an over longer, making an uncharacteristic 33 off 41 deliveries.
The two wickets in quick succession hardly seemed to have troubled the Warriors. Babar Azam and Jason Mohammed continued from where the opening duo had left off and brought the equation down to 16 off the final two overs. Mohammad Sami conceded half of those, including a wide, in the penultimate over as the game slipped away from the visitors. Williams, however, held his nerves in the final over, taking out Azam and Roshon Primus in the space of three deliveries to deny hosts a win.
Azam was the first to depart, ending the third-wicket stand on 49 but with only four more to get off the last two balls. Jason, however, picked a single off the penultimate ball to leave the new batsman, Primus, facing the final ball with three to win. Knowing that the batsman would look for a boundary to finish things off, Williams sent down a slower one. Primus opted for a slog sweep but holed out straight to the deep midwicket fielder as the Warriors fell two short in the last-ball finish. Williams, who finished with figures of 3 for 30, was adjudged Man of the Match.
Earlier, it was Phillips’ fifty that gave Tallawahs bowlers a respectable 128 to play with despite a middle order collapse. Asked to bat, the opening pair of Phillips and Simmons crawled to 24 after five overs, before Rashid Khan got the breakthrough. Hammered for a six off the very first ball of the game, the leggie had his revenge with a googly that shattered Simmons’ stumps through the gap between the bat and pad.
Steven Jacobs took out the in-form Andre McCarthy and skipper Kumar Sangakkara in his successive overs to reduce the Tallawahs to 63 for 3 at the end of 12 overs. Phillips took on Rayad Emrit in the 15th over, slamming the pacer for a six and boundary but partner Rovman Powell, wasn’t as lucky. The batsman mistimed a pull but Rashid, running in from deep midwicket, stretched and held on to a low catch.
Jonathan Foo shared a brisk 33-run stand with Phillips that took Tallawahs past the 100-run mark. The opener raised his fifty with a single off Rashid at the start of the 18th over but it was Foo who smacked 14 runs off the next three deliveries to push for quick runs. Rashid counter-punched with a slower googly that ended Foo’s fireworks on 20.
Phillips fell in the penultimate over with the team’s score on 120. The tailenders could manage only eight more, in as many deliveries left, to set up a 129-run target for the hosts that eventually proved just enough.
Brief scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 128/7 in 20 overs (Glenn Phillips 51, Jonathan Foo 20; Steven Jacobs 2-18) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 126/4 in 20 overs (Chadwick Walton 37, Martin Guptill 33; Kesrick Williams 3-30) by two runs.