Russell fires up Tallawahs to unlikely victory over Red Steel
BASSETERRE, St Kitts — A brilliant late-order batting performance from Andre Russell secured victory for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the first play-off in this year's Limacol Caribbean Premier League here yesterday.
It looked as if the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel had done enough to win this game, but Russell's arrival at the crease changed all of that. The Tallawahs were five wickets down and needing 12 runs an over when Russell came in to bat. Thanks to his efforts, the Jamaicans won the game with two balls to spare.
A fantastic innings from Ross Taylor meant that the Red Steel had a decent total, but with Samuel Badree ruled out with injury, they would have to defend it without their best bowler. Taylor was well-supported by Darren Bravo, and they would have won easily if it had not been for the Russell fireworks.
The Red Steel innings began slowly as three wickets inside the Powerplay left them struggling for momentum. Kevin O'Brien was the first man to go, edging the ball to first slip. After an excellent run of form in the middle of the tournament, the Irishman has struggled. His 11 runs here were his highest score in four innings. The Red Steel took a gamble with Nasir Jamshed who had not played since the Trinidad & Tobago side's second match. He replaced Javon Searles, but the change did not work as the Pakistani player pulled a ball from David Bernard in to the hands of Nkrumah Bonner on the square leg boundary.
Just three balls later, Evin Lewis repeated the trick, departing in exactly the same fashion as his teammate.
Taylor and Bravo went about steadying the ship, and they took the score from 36 to 146. The partnership could have been broken with the score on 87 when Taylor skied a ball from Andre Russell, but Nikita Miller and Bernard collided as both went to take the catch. Neither man was hurt, but the chance was gone.
Taylor made the most of his luck as he went on to score 70 runs from just 44 balls in a partnership of over 100 runs with the younger Bravo brother. Taylor accelerated after the chance was put down, scoring another 43 runs off 17 balls to really make the Tallawahs pay for their poor fielding.
When Taylor fell slogging into the legside, it slowed things down again for the Red Steel. Darren Bravo went in the same over to leave two new batsmen at the crease for the last seven balls of the innings. It was therefore not surprising that they only managed a run a ball from that point until the end of the innings.