Thursday 9th July – Kingston, Jamaica: A Chris Gayle masterclass set up an easy win for the Appleton Estate Jamaica Tallawahs against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel in the Hero Caribbean Premier League. Gayle made 105 as he was a class apart from any other player on show, recording his first T20 hundred in front of his home crowd. This Sabina Park pitch was far from easy with the spin bowlers getting real purchase but Gayle alone came to terms with it.
The Red Steel were always going to struggle to find someone to match Gayle’s efforts when Daniel Vettori picked up 2-22 as the wily New Zealander was the pick of the Tallawahs bowlers. Only Jacques Kallis put together an innings of substance for the Red Steel, making 46 (36) but his effort was never enough.
Gayle was in the party mood from the very beginning at Sabina Park, getting off the mark with a six and reaching 47 by the end of the Powerplay, including eight boundaries with half of those Hero Maximums. The Tallawahs’ captain really is in the most outrageous form, and he brought up his fifty with a massive six off Samuel Badree. That shot also made Gayle the highest run scorer in this year’s CPL and in the history or the tournament.
While the lively Sabina Park crowd were still cheering on the fifty from their hometown hero the Tallawahs lost their first wicket, Chadwick Walton trapped LBW by Badree for 13 (16). He may have lost his opening partner but Gayle continued to dismiss the Red Steel bowling with ease. In his last nine T20 innings he has made 675 runs at a batting average of 169.
Chris Lynn could not stay with his captain for long as the Queenslander was dismissed by a peach of a ball from Sulieman Benn that turned into him sharply as he was dismissed LBW. Benn made it two wickets in the over when he induced an edge from Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardene.
Johan Botha got into the wicket taking action as he dismissed Narsingh Deonarine as the Tallawahs lost three wickets in 10 balls for 11 runs. These quick wickets forced some introspection from Gayle as he reined in his shots somewhat, but with Gayle a more conservative approach still means boundaries.
It was as if Gayle was playing on a different surface from his team mates as he made 105 off 57 balls, the first century of this edition of the CPL as he guided his side to 180-6. This was the highest total ever made in a Twenty20 match at Sabina Park, going past the 171-7 made by a West Indies XI vs Ireland in 2010.
The innings ended with a Rusty Theron six that was taken one handed by a spectator for a Guardian Group catch earning the fan US$1000 and the chance to win a trip to the Grand Final in Trinidad to compete for US$1million.
The Red Steel had hardly got going when Daniel Vettori picked up the first wicket of the innings in the second over, Cameron Delport getting a thick edge that ballooned to backward point. Krishmar Santokie picked up the second in the next over when Darren Bravo tickled a catch to the keeper to a ball that was heading down the leg side. Both Bravo and Delport were dismissed for nought.
Jerome Taylor got into the wicket taking act when he dismissed Kamran Akmal for two when the Pakistani wicket keeper missed a full straight ball to become the third man to go as the Red Steel chase never really got going. When Andre Russell dismissed Dwayne Bravo for a first ball duck it had screeched to a complete halt.
Jacques Kallis stood firm but he could not get his side up to and in front of the rate. He put on 47 runs with Mark Deyal but both men fell within four balls as an innings that had struggled to start stuttered to a conclusion. Once Kallis went the Red Steel just kept losing wickets as they ended on 130-9.