'We played brilliant cricket' - Gayle captures Jamaica Tallawahs spirit after CPL T20 victory
Captain of the Jamaica Tallawahs, Chris Gayle, has described as equally special the feeling of topping the 2016 HERO Motocorp Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 competition when compared to winning the inaugural staging of the championship.
In what was their second hold on the coveted title, symbol of regional Twenty20 supremacy, two-time finalists Tallawahs defeated three-time finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors by a crushing nine wickets in the final at Warner Park in St Kitts on Sunday night.
The triumph added to their victory over the said opponents in 2013 at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago.
"It's right up there as with winning the first one," stated Gayle, who emerged as the top six-hitter during the near two-monthlong tournament, which was played across six Caribbean countries and in Florida, USA
"I thought we played brilliant cricket, especially at home, before we lost the momentum in Florida when we lost two games in a row, and we came here and lost against Guyana in the first semi-final playoff.
"But then, we said, 'Listen, we can't lose four games in a row', and we won against Trinidad in the second playoff to keep the momentum with us heading into the final."
Slight underdogs heading into the final, the Tallawahs were inspired by an all-round bowling effort that saw them dismiss the Reyad Emrit-led Guyana Amazon Warriors for a paltry 93 runs off 16.5 overs.
Pakistani left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, who opened the bowling for the Tallawahs and claimed three for 14 off his four overs to capture the Man of the Match award, was the chief destroyer for the Paul Nixon-coached outfit.
There were also two wicket hauls for standout fast bowler Keswick Williams and Bangladesh left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, with all-rounder and Player of the Tournament, AndrÈ Russell, and teenage fast bowler Oshane Thomas picking up one wicket apiece.
The run chase was then spearheaded by Gayle, who crunched a 27-ball 54, which included six sixes and three fours.
Opener Chadwick Walton, 25 not out, and Sri Lanka great, Kumar Sangakkara, 12 not out, then steered the team home to 95 for one off 12.5 overs.
"The bowlers did a great job, especially in the final whereby we were able to actually restrict the number one team heading in the final to 93 runs and then the manner in which we went about finishing the game on a high was very pleasing," highlighted Gayle.
"Winning means a lot not only for me, but also for the country, the franchise, the owners and players as well."
The powerful left-hander, who finished with 425 runs, was the third highest run-getter in the tournament behind Australian Chris Lyn (454) of the Amazon Warriors and Andre Fletcher (441) of the St Lucia Zouks.
Gayle also had high praises for Amazon Warriors, whose other loss in a final came in 2014 to Trinbago Knight Riders.
"I want to commend Guyana as they played the better cricket to come out the number one team heading into the final," he stated.
D Smith c Powell b Thomas 17
N Maddinson c wkp Sangakkara b Russell 0
C Lynn c Foo b Shakib Al Hasan 7
Sohail Tanvir c Foo b Williams 42
J Mohammed lbw b Shakib Al Hasan 0
C Barnwell c Gayle b Imad Wasim 10
+A Bramble b Imad Wasim 0
*R Emrit st Sangakkara b Imad Wasim 0
S Jacobs b Williams 7
V Permaul not out 0
A Zampa run out 2
Extras (lb2, w5, nb1) 8
TOTAL (all out, 16.1 overs) 93
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-9, 3-50, 4-53 5-70, 6-70, 7-83, 8-91, 9-91, 10-93.
Bowling: Russell 2.1-0-5-1, Imad Wasim 4-0-21-3 (w1), Shakib al Hasan 4-0-25-2 (w1), Williams 2-0-12-2, Thomas 4-0-28-1 (w3, nb1).
C Walton not out 25
C Gayle c Jacobs b Emrit 54
+K Sangakkara not out 12
Extras (w3, nb1) 4
TOTAL (1 wkt, 12.5 overs) 95
Did not bat: R Powell, Shakib Al Hasan, A Russell, J Foo, Imad Wasim, O Thomas, G Mathurin, K Williams.
Fall of wickets: 1-79.
Bowling: Sohail Tanvir 4-0-17-0 (w1), Jacobs 3-0-33-0, Zampa 1-0-18-0 (w1), Emrit 3-0-13-1 (nb1), Permaul 1.5-0-14-0 (w1).
Result: Tallawahs won by nine wickets.
Series: Tallawahs win 2016 CPL title.
Man-of-the-Match: Imad Wasim.
Man-of-the-Series: Andre Russell.
Umpires: Leslie Reifer, John Ward; TV Johan Cloete.