Cricket

Tallawahs pile on agony on hapless Stars with six-wicket win

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 27, 2017

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The Jamaica Tallawahs condemned the hapless St Lucia Stars to their eighth defeat in nine games as they registered a convincing six-wicket victory in the first of their four home games in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty 20 tournament at Sabina Park on Friday.

Chasing a target of 173 for victory, the Tallawahs raced to 176-4 in 19 overs, led by a magnificent half-century from Captain Kumar Sangakkara who struck a season-high unbeaten 74 to virtually secure his team a spot in the play-offs for a fifth-consecutive season.

The former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper/batsman was in top notch form, hammering nine boundaries and three sixes from 46 deliveries, as he starred in a crucial 71-run third-wicket stand with the in-form local star Andre McCarthy.

McCarthy struck 36 off 32 balls, including one boundary and three sixes, while opener Glenn Phillips contributed 21, to prolong the misery of the Stars, who are still in search of that elusive victory to spruce up their campaign.

In the ironic batting showdown of the captains, Shane Watson played a destructive innings of 80 off 45 deliveries, which was lined by three fours and seven sixes, as he finally came to the party in his team's failed campaign.

The win saw the Tallawahs solidifying their position in third on 10 points from seven games, behind Trinbago Knight Riders (14 points) and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (11 points) — both of whom have already qualified for the play-off round.

Scores: St Lucia Stars 172-8 (20 overs); Jamaica Tallawahs 176-4 (19 overs).

The Stars, in their penultimate game of the season, were desperate for a win, and as such made three changes to the starting line-up as well as to their batting order, dropping Johnson Charles down the order.

As such Rahkeem Cornwall was promoted to open with Andre Fletcher, but the move proved futile on a good batting surface as the Tallawahs opening bowlers led by local star Krishmar Santokie enjoyed some amount of purchase.

The left-arm seamer, who had earlier unsettled Fletcher with some in-swinging Yorkers, was duly rewarded in the third over when he had Cornwall caught by Jonathan Foo for seven.

With the pressure slightly mounting, Fletcher attempted to free his hand with a few lusty blows, but went for one big hit too many and picked out McCarthy at deep midwicket off the third ball of the sixth over bowled by left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin. His innings of 20 included three fours and one six.

Watson and Marlon Samuels kept the scoreboard ticking, with the former adding a little bit of impetus to the innings taking 17 off the eight over bowled by Mathurin.

However, order was quickly restored first ball of the following over when Rovman Powell bowled countryman Samuels for four with the score at 60-3.

And the Tallawahs could have tightened the screws even further had it not been for a poor display of fielding which saw the spilling of five catch opportunities, one of which proved very costly.

Watson, on 22, was put down by Santokie at short-fine leg, after Kesrick Williams had tucked him up in the 11th over, and from there the Australian grew in confidence and raced to a deserved half-century off a mere 30 balls.

Amidst Watson's party, the Tallawahs removed Charles, who was also put down early for 20 and former Captain Darren Sammy for eight.

But the skipper continued his one-man show and dished out some literal punishment on Pakistani pacer Mohammad Sami, hitting two consecutive sixes, followed by a firm drive which connected the bowler in the midsection in the 17th over.

Watson hammered another six off Sami in the 19th over before holing out to Powell in the deep to a slower ball dragged wider of the crease by Sami.

Kyle Mayers then had a cameo of 13 to push the Stars up to 172, just two runs shy of the total chased down by the Tallawahs in their previous meeting earlier in the season.

Mathurin with two for 26 and Santokie with two for 33 were the pick of the bowlers for the Tallawahs.

Having chased down a similar target against the same oppositions, it seemed that the Tallawahs had the upper hand in this game, but that perception briefly swayed.

Along with a slightly slow start to their reply, the Tallawahs lost Lendl Simmons, trapped in front to Jerome Taylor, for 11 with the score at 27 -1.

Sangakkara came in at number three and got his show on the road with a boundary off Taylor, but he was mainly a bystander to young New Zealander Phillips who took the attack to the Stars bowlers.

The two orchestrated a positive 42-run, second-wicket stand, before Phillips unfortunately dragged a delivery from Cornwall onto the stumps for a well-played 21.

This brought Sangakkara and McCarthy together, and from there it became an easy task for the Tallawahs as they injected impetus into the innings, which dampened any chances of a Stars victory.

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