Andre Russell starred with the bat and ball while Shakib Al Hasan chipped in with an important wicket as Jamaica Tallawahs came out in front by 19 runs against a spirited Trinbago Knight Riders on Monday.
Once Tallawahs hustled their way to 158 for 7, the bowlers lit up the stadium with their feisty spells up front to jolt Trinbago’s top-order, reports Cricbuzz.
Hashim Amla (42) and Denesh Ramdin (31) tried to revive Knight Riders' innings with a 44-run stand. Dwayne Bravo’s 13 took his side close but not close enough to cross the finish line.
It was the duo of Dale Steyn and Imad Wasim who were on the money in their opening spells and were rewarded with the wickets of Brendon McCullum (6) and Colin Munro (1), respectively.
Russell backed up the new-ball pair by probing away with purpose. In an attempt to break free, William Perkins (12) manufactured room to play the big shot, but could only slice it into the safe hands of Chadwick Walton stationed at sweeper cover.
By then, Tallawahs were in the pole position. However, Amla and Ramdin breathed life into Knight Riders' innings. Amla, in his trademark style, threaded the gaps with needlepoint precision to crunch a well-measured innings.
On the other hand, Ramdin looked to wrestle the initiative by thumping Shakib Al Hasan for 18 runs in the 14th over.
Just in the nick of time, Kesrick Williams landed the decisive blow by picking up Amla's scalp. Tallawahs then held their nerve to clinch a hard-fought victory. Russell starred with the ball by ending up with four wickets. The well-built Jamaican all-rounder had earlier composed a vital innings of 44 to lead Tallawahs' recovery.
For Tallawahs, Rovman Powell (44) compiled a neat and orderly knock, while Russell's dash of bravado in the slog overs drove the home team to a challenging total. In fact, Knight Riders were successful in keeping a check on the scoring rate, evidenced by the fact that even after 17 overs, the home team's run-rate was hovering around seven. However, Russell's impressive power lifted the tempo.
It was Kevon Cooper, the Trinidadian all-rounder, who gave the visitors a dream start by prising out the dangerman Chris Gayle for nought. Gayle's partner-in-crime, Walton, too, didn't last long and in an attempt to steal a non-existent single, he was run-out for 16.
Powell's fluent stroke-play, sprinkled by a diet of ones and twos kept the scoreboard moving. Cooper, though, again dented the opposition by picking up the crucial scalps of Kumar Sangakkara and Powell in the 13th over. In the same over, McCullum tried to cling onto a fiercely slammed cut shot by Shakib at backward point, but couldn't pull off the stunner.
At the other end of the spectrum, Russell, who had just come out to bat, bided his time before launching meaty blows. In the penultimate over bowled by Ronsford Beaton, he swiped Knight Riders' pacer for a boundary and a six to up the ante. In short, if it wasn't for Russell's timely acceleration, the home team might have fallen apart in the slog overs.
Cooper, with his box of variations, showed his class and quality to end up with three wickets. Sunil Narine bowled with unerring control and Bravo chipped in with a couple of scalps. Tallawahs have won five out of their seven matches and are now perched on top of the table with 11 points while Knight Riders have collected just six points from seven games.
Jamaica Tallawahs 158/7 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 44, Rovman Powell 44; Kevon Cooper 3-22, Dwayne Bravo 2-39) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 139/9 in 20 overs (Hashim Amla 42, Denesh Ramdin 31; Andre Russell 4-23, Dale Steyn 2-21) by 19 runs.