Jamaica Tallawahs kept their hopes of glory alive in the 2014 Caribbean Premier League final with an four-wicket victory over the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, thanks to Andre Russell's heroics with the willow.
The Tallawahs decided to insert Trinidad and Tobago upon winning the toss, and it took an impressive 70 from 44 balls from Ross Taylor to prop up the Red Steel's total at 155-6 from their 20 overs.
Jamaica's top order fell in a heap trying to chase the total, but with the target looking remote, Russell swooped in to breathe life back into the chase with a 27-ball 62.
|Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel Scorecard|
|Kevin O'Brien||c Gayle b D Bernard||11||12||1||0||91.7|
|Evin Lewis||c N Bonner b D Bernard||18||17||2||0||105.9|
|Nasir Jamshed||c N Bonner b D Bernard||4||5||0||0||80.0|
|Ross Taylor||c Jerome Taylor b Theron||70||44||7||3||159.1|
|Darren Bravo||c N Bonner b Theron||33||35||2||1||94.3|
|Nicolas Pooran (wk)||c Theron b A Russell||3||4||0||0||75.0|
|Dwayne Bravo (c)||not out||2||3||0||0||66.7|
|Kevon Cooper||not out||1||1||0||0||100.0|
|Extras||13||(b - 0 w - 12, nb - 1, lb - 0)|
|Total||155||(20 Overs, 6 Wickets)|
|Did not bat:||Jason Mohammed, Sulieman Benn, Shannon Gabriel|
Guyana Amazon Warriors await the winners, with a place in the final up for grabs on Thursday night.
It began quietly in Basseterre: Red Steel openers Kevin O'Brien and Evin Lewis limped along, and David Bernard's medium-fast bowling proved difficult to get away. After a double-strike in the fifth over, Trinidad and Tobago were in trouble at 36-3.
Taylor found support from Darren Bravo—they added 110 runs together, and the partnership took the team through to the penultimate over.
From the point he was dropped Ross Taylor scored 43 more runs from 17 balls.— Peter Miller (@TheCricketGeek) August 13, 2014
But without the New Zealander's display, which included three maximums, as the pace of Jerome Taylor and Russell took particular punishment, the Red Steel would have had nothing of note to defend. Even the three quick wickets to fall after Taylor's exit only served to show how difficult it was to get going.
Jamaica's reply looked troubled from the moment Chris Gayle fell for just one run. One batsman after another came and went as the Tallawahs reached just 39-4 as the required run rate crept up.
|Jamaica Tallawahs Scorecard|
|Chris Gayle (c)||lbw b Shannon Gabriel||1||3||0||0||33.3|
|Chadwick Walton (wk)||c Jason Mohammed b S Benn||8||12||1||0||66.7|
|Nkruma Bonner||run out (K Cooper)||39||41||1||2||95.1|
|Adam Voges||run out (E Lewis)||1||2||0||0||50.0|
|Jermaine Blackwood||lbw b S Benn||4||6||0||0||66.7|
|David Bernard||c Ross Taylor b S Benn||6||14||0||0||42.9|
|Andre Russell||not out||62||27||5||4||229.6|
|Rusty Theron||not out||18||13||0||1||138.5|
|Extras||19||(b - 0 w - 18, nb - 0, lb - 1)|
|Total||158||(19.4 Overs, 6 Wickets)|
|Did not bat:||Jerome Taylor, Daniel Vettori, Nikita Miller|
Nkrumah Bonner was the only man in the top six to break into double figures for Jamaica.
But when he departed, having limped to 39 from 41 balls, and the score at 76-6, it looked sure to be the end of the road for the Tallawahs, until Russell kicked into gear.
The sixes rained down—four of them—before he added a further five boundaries. The game, so long in the pocket of the Trinidad and Tobago fielders, suddenly slipped out of skipper Dwayne Bravo's control.
Russell's 50 came in just 22 balls after some remarkable striking, but had the opposition held their nerve, there were chances to catch him as the game entered the penultimate over.
Another catch went down—this time of Juan Theron—as the pressure kicked up another notch. But with four required from the final three balls, Theron used his reprieve to crunch a maximum over extra cover and seal the game.