Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad:Jamaica Tallawahs assistant coach, Junior Bennett, says outstanding planning on the part of the players and coaching staff was a key ingredient in the team coming out on top in the final of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League on Sunday at Queen's Park Oval.
Tallawahs defeated pre-final favourites Guyana Amazon Warriors by seven wickets to claim the title.
Amazon Warriors made 128 for five to which Tallawahs responded with 129 for three.
"I thought we planned well. Guyana were the only team that beat us in the competition, and after losing twice to them we really regrouped," said Bennett.
"We had a lengthy team meeting on the day of the final where we discussed every single player on the Guyana team, and we came and executed efficiently.
"It was not as easy as it looks, but we worked extremely hard, and I think we deserved to be crowned champions."
Bennett, who assisted head coach, former England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon, also said credit must go to the bowlers, who performed "extremely" well to restrict Amazon Warriors to their total.
Tallawahs were led in the field by all-rounder David Bernard Jr, who opened the bowling and claimed two for 18 off his maximum overs.
"I believe we won the game in the field," Bennett said. "I think it was a wonderful bowling performance to restrict them to 128 runs.
"We have to also look at the captaincy of Chris Gayle. He was very proactive, was not laid-back, was right in the game, and his bowling changes were exceptional.
"He did not allow any batsmen to get used to a bowler, just kept rotating them, and that paid off for us," he explained.
As for Tallawahs batting, Bennett, who was recently appointed coach of the West Indies 'A' team, said though losing Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara and young Jermaine Blackwood at a critical juncture in the game, he was confident of victory.
Jamaica, who started fairly well with Gayle and Walton putting on 26 for the first wicket, struggled somewhat against the bowling of fast bowlers Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga and Krishmar Santokie, and off-spinner Sunil Narine.
They were 67 for three in the 12th over and needed 67 to win off 49 balls when André Russell joined captain, Chris Gayle at the crease.
The pair attacked the bowling and got the required runs with 15 balls to spare.
Gayle top-scored with a man-of-the-match 47 not out, while Russell chipped in with an unbeaten 33 off 18 balls. Walton made 13.
"I was not concerned at the loss of Sangakkara and Blackwood. It's always good to have wickets in hand going into the death, and as such I backed us to come out on top.
"If you look at most our victories throughout the tournament, they have been by seven and six wickets because we bat so that we have wickets in hand going into the death."