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Hanging by a thread

Walton believes Tallawahs can still make CPL play-off after 81-run loss to Warriors

Observer staff reporter

Friday, September 20, 2019

Jamaica Tallawahs stand-in Captain Chadwick Walton is still rating his team's chances to sneak into the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) play-off, despite them slipping to their fifth loss of the campaign on Wednesday.

In their fourth home match they went down by a massive 81 runs to Guyana Amazon Warriors at Sabina Park .

It was another poor all-round display by Jamaica Tallawahs. They conceded a big total and failed to chase down in excess of 200 runs for the third time this season. They only mustered 137 all out in response to the Warriors 218-6 — the Guyana franchise's highest-ever CPL score.

Warriors Captain Shoaib Malik led from the front, raising his 11th CPL half-century with an unbeaten 63 off 37 balls, including six fours and three sixes.

Jamaican Brandon King made a 37-ball 59 at the top of the innings, including four boundaries and six sixes, while the aggressive Shimron Hetmyer hammered six boundaries and two sixes in a 25-ball 44.

On the flip side, only Andre Russell with a 19-ball 40 and Glenn Phillips with 40 off 32, offered any resistance in the Tallawahs' miserable batting display, which followed sub-par bowling and fielding performances. They put down four catches.

Russell had three fours and three sixes in his knock, while Phillips struck two fours and two sixes.

The latest result left them firmly rooted at the foot of the six-team standings on two points with a solitary win from six games, while Warriors made it a perfect five-from-five at the top of the pile on 10 points.

Scores: Amazon Warriors 218-6 (20 overs); Tallawahs 137 (17.3 overs)

By the look of things, the Jamaica franchise's chances of making the play-off are very slim, as they are required to win their remaining four encounters convincingly to erase a -1.559 net run rate, which could prove the deciding factor at the end.

Still, Walton remains upbeat that the team can fight their way into the top four from where they would have a shot of making it to the final.

They were scheduled to contest the first of those four fixtures against third-placed St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (six points) at Sabina Park yesterday.

“Guyana got the better of us tonight (Wednesday) but I am hoping that we can turn things around going forward. We have four matches remaining and we have to win all four and hope that we have enough points to qualify for the play-off. That is our main aim now,” Walton said in a post-game interview.

After breaking their duck with a win against Barbados Tridents on Sunday, Jamaica Tallawahs went into Wednesday's contest with their tails high, especially with the return of Russell from injury.

Add to that, Walton won the toss and opted to bowl first on a grass-layered strip that offered a lot of bounce to the pace bowlers in particular.

Frontline bowlers Oshane Thomas, Jade Dernbach and Russell, skilfully capitalised on that with a fairly decent start, as they restricted Warriors to 20 runs off the first three overs. Dernbach also accounted for Chanderpaul Hemraj in the process.

However, things went awry when the aggressive Hetmyer disrupted the order, dominating a 69-run second-wicket stand with King, who was far from comfortable, slashing and playing away from his body outside off with minimal success.

While King struggled against Dwayne Smith's wobbly seaming deliveries and was 9 off 15 at one point, Hetmyer was on the attack at the other end, playing some stylish shots off the front foot to short-pitched deliveries, complemented by a few deft touches that found gaps in the Tallawahs field.

Hetmyer later failed to pick one from Smith and was bowled, ending his entertaining innings.

King soon found his range and kept finding the boundaries on the charge in a 43-run stand with Malik, even hitting two sixes off Smith's final over to raise his half-century off 35 balls.

When King fell two balls later, caught by Walton off Ramaal Lewis with Warriors at 117-3 off 13 overs, Malik took up the mantle in a fourth-wicket stand with Nicholas Pooran (20) that valued 53 runs.

That partnership laid the platform for the Warriors record total as Malik took advantage of being dropped twice, while Sherfane Rutherford, who was also put down by Lewis, chipped in with 6-ball 15.

Russell, with the wickets of Pooran and Keemo Paul (five) led the Tallawahs bowling with 2-35, despite having two catches put down off his spell, while Englishman Dernbach had 2-50, after also removing Rutherford.

Chasing 219 for victory, Tallawahs' innings never really took off. They were stifled by eight overs of the Warriors' spin attack and were left at 51-4 at one point.

Russell and Phillips staged a fight back, with some exciting stroke plays, but when they fell one behind the other, the writing was on the wall as Tallawahs lost wickets at regular intervals.

Keemo Paul, who was earlier taken to task by Russell, bounced back well to lead Warriors bowling with 3-34, while spinners Imran Tahir (2-21) and Qais Ahmad (2-32) gave support.

“We have to give credit to Guyana, they played really well and I think they actually played their shots well tonight, getting a big score, which was too much for us.

“We lost key wickets at crucial times, Dre Russ [Andre Russell] came in and gave us a good partnership with Glenn Phillips, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to get us over the line,” Walton lamented.