A brilliant bowling recovery from the Jamaica Tallawahs that instigated a dramatic batting collapse from the Trinbago Knight Riders was the key to the Tallawahs recording a four-wicket victory in Match 7 of the 2017 Caribbean Premier League.
After the Knight Riders had been sent into bat by the Tallawahs a sensational opening half of the innings saw them race to 109 for 2 after just 9.5 overs. However, they scored just 38 from the next ten overs and were bowled out with one ball to spare. The target of 148 proved too few for the Tallawahs who calmly managed a tight run chase, edging to the target with four balls to spare.
In the first half of the Knight Riders innings the new ball appeared to come onto the bat nicely and their powerful top-order of Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro and Darren Bravo feasted on some full bowling.
That should take nothing away from the brilliance of the Knight Riders batsmen whose stroke play was breathtaking early on. McCullum’s fast hands, Narine’s nonchalant flicks and drives, Munro’s strength and Bravo’s elegant power plundered an astonishing 12 fours and six sixes in the first ten overs of the innings.
In a sign of things to come both Narine and McCullum were dismissed by off-cutters. After Munro was caught on the long-on boundary from the penultimate ball of the first half of the innings the pace of the match was transformed.
Suddenly the Tallawahs pulled things back with a series of tight overs. Given their fast start the Knight Riders initially seemed content to regroup, but when they looked to push on once more they found runs far harder to come by. It seemed that as the innings progressed the dew on the ground made the ball softer and harder to hit.
In the latter half of the innings the Knight Riders batsmen struggled to time the ball as the Tallawahs bowlers—led by Kesrick Williams, Mohammad Sami and Odean Smith—dragged their lengths back and resorted to cutters and slower balls.
As the runs dried up the Knight Riders batsmen only swung harder but with little reward: in the second half of their innings they only hit two boundaries—one of them a top-edge over the wicket-keeper’s head. While runs were in short supply, wickets were not: seven of them fell in the second half of the innings as TKR desperately hit-out.
The Tallawahs—like the Knight Riders before them—made an excellent start to their innings, finding the new ball easier to hit. Lendl Simmons and Kumar Sangakkara’s 61-run opening partnership came in just 5.3 overs.
When Simmons and then Andre McCarthy were dismissed in quick succession the match threatened to take another turn as Knight Riders spin-twins, Narine and Shadab Khan, were deployed in the middle overs. However, after Sangakkara was dismissed off a no ball against Narine he put on 59 for the next two wickets with Rovman Powell and Shakib Al Hasan to keep the Tallawahs in control.
The increasingly softer ball meant that boundaries were hard to come by and even with a run-a-ball needed it seemed that a series of dots could turn the match. When Sangakkara was caught at long off with the Tallawahs still 25 shy of the target the Knight Riders, buoyed by vocal home support, seemed to believe that they could still win.
While boundaries were indeed harder to come by they were not impossible to find and when Jonathan Foo inside edged a four and then slammed a six over long-on that was parried over the rope by Shadab Khan the Tallawahs finally got home.