Blazing knocks by Chris Gayle and Rassie van der Dussen, complemented by a devastating cameo by Mahmudullah, helped St Kitts & Nevis Patriots clinch the fourth and final playoff spot in CPL 2018 with a dramatic seven-wicket win over Jamaica Tallawahs via the DLS Method at Warner Park. Patriots were cruising at 65 for 1 in 6.3 overs, chasing 207, when rain sent the players off for a 40-minute delay.
The match had already been delayed an hour at the start due to early evening rain. With more interruptions anticipated, Patriots captain Gayle’s decision to bowl first was vindicated, when the target was revised to a very manageable 53 off the final 4.3 overs following the restart. Despite a brief stumble, characterised by two wickets in the first four balls after play restarted, Mahmudullah erased any doubt with 28 not out off 11 balls to finish off the match with five balls to spare.
Having not faced a single ball because he was held back – a strategic blunder that cost Patriots a win over Barbados Tridents in Florida – Rovman Powell has made up for lost time in his last three innings with a total of 183 runs. Sunday night featured his career-best knock in T20 cricket, as he smoked the Patriots attack at better than two-runs-a-ball.
Powell entered in the seventh over following the loss of Johnson Charles and Kennar Lewis and wasted little time in tearing into the Patriots bowling unit. He ended the eighth over by smashing Fabian Allen’s left-arm spin for six, four and six, and barely slowed down after that.
Powell brought up his half-century off 26 balls and got a second life a short while later, when Sheldon Cottrell dropped a straightforward chance at deep midwicket – one of several sloppy efforts in the field for the Patriots. The Jamaican seemed to be in with a good chance of bringing up a maiden T20 century before missing out on a knee high full-toss to Ben Cutting with nine balls to go in the innings. But by that stage, the Tallawahs had a very competitive total.
Not standing pat
Gayle got the chase off to a scintillating start by scorching 18 off the opening over from Krishmar Santokie. Tallawahs hit back in the first ball of the second, when Oshane Thomas cleaned up Evin Lewis with an inswinging yorker. But that was a minor speed bump for the Patriots as van der Dussen came in and stroked four boundaries to help take the hosts to 62 for 1 in the Powerplay.
A potentially costly miss for the Tallawahs occurred on the last ball before play was stopped, when van der Dussen’s flat drive off Santokie toward Russell at long-off was spilled despite a phenomenal diving effort by Russell. The let-off ensured any recalculations with overs lost would remain favorable to the Patriots.
Following the 40-minute delay, Gayle drove the first ball from Santokie for six over long-on, but fell two balls later, skying a catch to the point sweeper. Legspinner Adam Zampa was brought on for the eighth over and struck immediately, going past Cutting’s swipe across the line to bowl him for a golden duck. At the time, the visitors needed 47 off 23 balls.
Enter Mahmudullah. The Bangladesh allrounder had only faced nine balls in the previous four matches for the Patriots, and had batted at No. 9 in his most recent innings. After a few singles against Zampa, Mahmudullah showed that he has plenty of firepower to contribute when needed.
Van der Dussen also swung momentum back the Patriots’ way, heaving a pair of sixes over the leg side off Thomas, before Mahmudullah took center stage. Two glides behind point – one streaky and one much more deliberate – went away for fours, before a clean wallop over midwicket made it 27 for the over, meaning Patriots had wiped out more than half the required runs in six balls. Another glorious inside-out six over extra cover two balls later, off Zampa, brought the required rate under a run a ball. Mahmudullah then slapped Powell over the infield for a brace, in the first ball of the final over, to seal Patriots’ spot in the playoffs.