Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad:There were scenes of wild celebration on Saturday after Jamaica Tallawahs defeated favourites Guyana Amazon Warriors by seven wickets in the final of the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League at Queen's Park Oval.
Shouting and thumping their fists, Tallawahs players and officials were in constant delight.
The victory, which was the first by a Jamaican outfit in Twenty20 cricket, saw Tallawahs first limiting Guyana Amazon Warriors to 128 for five off 20 overs with all-rounder David Bernard Jr leading the way with two for 18 off his four overs.
Led by Man-of-the-Match, Chris Gayle, who made an unbeaten 47, Tallawahs then achieved their target of 129 for three off 17.3 overs.
"Words can't describe what this moment feels like," said captain, Gayle. "It has been weeks of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, and to know that we are champions is a wonderful and amazing feeling.
"Congrats must go to players, who match by match gave it their all, the coaching staff, who provided invaluable support, and our fans and sponsors, who have been there for us," he added.
Tallawahs were led in the field by Bernard Jr, and his opening ball partner, South African Vernon Philander.
The duo bowled well up front and created pressure on openers Lendl Simmons and William Perkins, who was the first wicket to fall with the score on 20 in the fifth over.
The dangerous Sri Lankan batsman, Tilakaratne Dilshan, then took the crease, however, after facing two balls he was bowled by Bernard Jr without scoring.
In a spot of bother Warriors then sent wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin in the hope of rotating the strike and looking to Simmons to break free and play his shots.
The move, however, backfired somewhat, as not only did Ramdim struggle to get the ball off the square, but Simmons was constantly kept in check.
Bernard Jr, Philander, off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and left-arm spinner Nikita Miller led the tightening of the screws for Tallawahs.
It came as little surprise when Simmons was dismissed for 40 with the score on 79 in the 15th over, caught by Kumar Sangakkara at long off Miller.
With the game threatening to become a one-sided affair, Amazon Warriors, were to however get a boost through New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin.
Demoted as a result of the Ramdin experiment, Franklin hit two sixes off nine balls to end on 17 not out, and along with Chris Barnwell, who hit a six in making nine off 10 balls, shared an unbroken 30-run sixth wicket stand.
Tallawahs, in their victory pursuits, opened with Gayle and Chadwick Walton, and their 26-run opening stand got a fairly decent start.
After hitting part-time off-spinner Dilshan for a four and a six off successive deliveries, Walton went for a sweep of the next ball and missed, and was duly given out leg before wicket for 13 in the fourth over.
Gayle was subsequently joined by Sri Lankan Sangakkara, who claimed the Man of the Match in the semi-finals after making 50 not out.
However, fast bowlers Lasith Malinga and Krishmar Santokie, bowling tidy lines and lengths, and off-spinner Sunil Narine, getting the ball to turn big, Sangakkara struggled somewhat to score freely, and was dismissed for 13 in the 11th over with score on 61.
After Jermaine Blackwood was sent out ahead of notoriously slow starter Danza Hyatt and soon after dsimissed for three runs, Gayle was joined by in form all-rounder Andre Russell and together they put on an unbeaten 62 for the fourth wicket to start the celebrations.
"It is one of those things," said Amazon Warriors captain Ramnaresh Sarwan. "We entered the final knowing that we were the only team to defeat Jamaica in the first round, and believed we had what it takes to make it three in a row.
Toss: Jamaica Tallawahs who fielded.
Man of the Match: Chris Gayle (Jamaica Tallawahs)
Player of the Series: Krishmah Santokie (Guyana Amazon Warriors)
Guyana Amazon Warriors: 128-5 (20 overs)
Lendl Simmons c Sangakkara b NMiller 40
William Perkins c D Hyatt b D Bernard Jr 14
Tillakaratne Dilshan b DBernard Jr 0+ Denesh Ramdin b Chris Gayle 29Sunil Narine run out 9James Franklin not out 17Christopher Barnwell not out 9
Extras: b1 lb7 w2 10
Total for 5 wkts (20 overs) 128
Did not bat:Ramnaresh Sarwan, Veerasammy Permaul, Krishmar Santokie, Lasith Malinga.
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-27, 3-79, 4-94, 5-98.
Bowling: David Bernard Jnr. 4-0-18-2, Vernon Philander 3-0-8-0, Nikita Miller 4-0-27-1, Muttiah Muralitharan 4-0-13-0, Chris Gayle 4-0-42-1, Andre Russell 1-0-12-0.
Jamaica Tallawahs: 129-3 (17.3 overs)
Chadwick Walton lbw T Dilshan 13Chris Gayle not out 47Kumar Sangakkara c J Franklin b C Barnwell 13Jermaine Blackwood c and b L Malinga 3Andre Russell not out 33
Extras: lb3, w17 20
Total: For 3 wkts (17.3 overs) 129
Did not bat: Danza Hyatt, +Carlton Baugh Jr, David Bernard Jr, Vernon Philander, Nikita Miller, Muttiah Muralitharan.
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-61, 3-67
Bowling: Krishma Santokie 4-0-31-0 (7w), Latish Malinga 3.3-0-28-1 (2w), Tillakaratne Dilshan 4-0-32-1 (1w), Sunil Narine 4-0-9-0, Christopher Barnwell 2-0-26-1