Sangakkara, Thomas take Tallawahs through to playoffs

Defending Champions Jamaica Tallawahs sealed their spot in the playoffs with a comprehensive 41-run victory against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on Wednesday (August 30). Skipper Kumar Sangakkara laid the platform for their winning total of 157 with his third successive half-century of the season before Krishmar Santokie and Oshane Thomas registered three-fers to choke the Patriots line-up.

Put in to bat at Sabina Park, the Tallawahs suffered an early blow when opener Lendl Simmons bagged a golden duck, cleaned up by a perfect yorker from Sheldon Cottrell. However, that was the only success the visitors would enjoy for a long time as the in-form duo of Glenn Phillips and Sangakkara stitched together an 81-run stand in the 11 overs that followed.

Mohammad Hafeez’s two-over spell, for only three runs, stood out as Patriots managed to keep a lid on the scoring for the most part of the powerplay. Still feeling the early loss, Tallawahs had only 18 runs on the board after their first four overs but Ben Hilfenhaus came in the firing line as the captain sent all but one ball of the fifth over to the ropes. Sangakkara hit three boundaries and a couple of sixes to loot 24 off the over as the home side finished the powerplay with a respectable 43 for 1.

The visitors however came back stronger in the middle overs, employing their spinners to good effect. Three overs after his stunning assault, Sangakkara was dropped on 33 off Mohammad Nabi but that had little effect on the captain who went on to anchor the innings for the umpteenth time. Nabi opened his account with Phillips’ scalp, in the 12th over, ending the reassuring partnership. Phillips, subdued for better part of his 32-ball stay, contributed 31 to the cause.

Sangakkara brought up his half-century in the following over but Andre McCarthy bagged a rare failure. The wicket brought Rovman Powell to the crease and the duo put on 44 runs for the fourth-wicket stand that put the side on course for a fighting total.

Hilfenhaus had his revenge when Sangakkara tried one scoop too many but Powell’s late surge, that included consecutive sixes off Cottrell in the final over, ensured that his bowlers had enough on the board to play with.

All the hardwork done by the bowlers was down the drain when Patriots were reduced to 93 for six, courtesy a fiery spell of fast bowling from Thomas. The young pacer took all of three balls to make an impact, taking out Chris Gayle for a duck to dent the chase early. Lewis hit the bowler for three boundaries and a six in the space of four deliveries across the two overs, but Santokie slipped in a fine two-over spell worth only four runs to keep things even.

Mohammad Sami had a dreadful start as Lewis continued his assault and dispatched him to the boundary ropes thrice consecutively. One ball later, the batsman upped the ante and slammed his second six of the night. However, Lewis’ luck ran out as Sami caught him off his own bowling to end the over on a high.

New man in the middle, Devon Thomas carried on from where Lewis had left off and welcomed Kesrick Williams into the attack with a 16-run over to finish the powerplay with 59 on the board and with Patriots well in command of the game.

With 99 required off 84 remaining deliveries, Patriots would have fancied their chances of a win that would have taken them to the second spot in the points table. That, however, wasn’t meant to be. Sami made a solid comeback by inducing an edge off Devon through the ‘keeper to end the fireworks prematurely. Likewise, Williams too got his act together and opened his account with the wicket of Jonathan Carter, thanks to an acrobatic catch from Jonathan Foo.

With 80 for 4 at the halfway mark, the match was still firmly in Patriots’ grasp but Oshane returned for a fine spell where he took out the destructive Carlos Brathwaite and Nabi, and, with that, Patriots’ hopes. Brathwaite was done in by a bouncer while Nabi mistimed his pull to offer a straightforward catch back to the bowler. Oshane’s 3-31 in his four-over quota turned the game back in the home team’s favour.

By the time Mahmudullah finished his quota of four overs, giving away only 18 runs, the equation was down to a stiff 63 required off the final six overs. Santokie hit the final nail in the coffin as he sent Hafeez and Hilfenhaus packing off successive balls in the 16th over when the visitors were still 55 shy. Patriots could only manage another 13 before Santokie wrapped up their reply on 116, in 17.5 overs.

Brief scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 157/5 in 20 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 69, Rovman Powell 43; Sheldon Cottrell 2-38) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 116 all out in 17.5 overs (Evin Lewis 40, Mohammad Hafeez 21; Krishmar Santokie 3-10, Oshane Thomas 3-31) by 41 runs.

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