Two spells of rain early on in the match might have dampened the proceedings, but Chadwick Walton’s entertaining 97 more than made up for it for the Sabina Park crowd that stayed put during the course of the hour-and-a-half rain-break on Wednesday (July 20). The music never stopped in the stands, neither did the dance as Jamaica Tallawahs put up a dominating show to defeat Barbados Tridents by 36 runs to top the table and seal a spot in the final.When rain interrupted play early on in the match, eating into four overs of the game (two overs per innings), the hosts had managed only eight runs off 1.4 overs after being put into bat. The outfield was soggy, but the groundsmen did a good job to ensure ball travelled at a good pace along the ground.Gayle resumed the innings after the second spell of shower with a boundary off the last ball of the second over. He departed soon after being undone by a short-pitched delivery off Ravi Rampaul which ended up in the hands of Raymon Reifer at short fine leg.From thereon began Walton’s carnage, an innings that for a period of 34 balls witnessed eight boundaries, five sixes and only two dots. Just for a bit of variety to the knock, when boundaries had become a norm, he kept rotating the strike. Having scored 87 off 40 balls, the Tallawahs opener looked well in course to record the fastest century in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history.Despite Kumar Sangakkara, who has been in sublime touch, struggling with edges and failed attempts at improvisation, the run-rate had shot up to around 10 by the fifth over itself. It stayed such till the 12th over when Walton decided to mete out special treatment to Rampaul, and take it well past that.The frustration of Kieron Pollard, Barbados Tridents’ skipper, grew manifold by then as he kept venting it out animatedly on the field at his players and fielders. If the wet outfield wasn’t good enough to trouble the bowlers, an aggressive counter-attack only made them lose their rhythm as they kept spraying the ball all over the field.Shoulders dropped in the field as time and again ball kept falling annoyingly short of the fielders, only aiding the duo in piling more misery on the visitors. While a few balls went just over Pollard while he was fielding at long on, a difficult return catch in the 14th over was put down by him while he was bowling. They managed to put on a 127-run stand off 67 balls.However, Barbados Tridents did well to pull things back with David Wiese managing to snare the wickets of Sangakkara and Andre Russell in a space of four balls in the following over. While the former was undone by the lack of pace, the latter edged a quicker one. Walton was also contained well as he managed to score only 10 runs off his last 14 balls.Walton, whose innings had become fidgety towards the end finished it by swatting a length delivery to Ahmed Shehzad at long on. Even as wickets kept tumbling towards the end, Rovman Powell’s 14-ball blitz, which included five sixes and a boundary took the hosts to 195 for 5 – the highest total in this year’s CPL.Tridents’ chase never gathered momentum. In the face of a tall asking rate needing 196 runs off 18 overs, their batsmen failed to replicate the efforts of the counterparts with the bat. The top order failed to find a middle ground in orchestrating the chase as they oscillated between forward defense and scratchy slogs.On the other hand, the big total had already made the task easier for the Tallawahs bowler, who stuck to a conventional line of attack. Dale Steyn was the most potent of them all, testing the batsmen with his nagging outswingers. Openers Kyle Hope and Shehzad returned to the pavilion after edging the ball to the wicketkeeper.Akeal Hosein was promoted to No. 3 to hit some lusty blows, but the move backfired. He struggled to middle the ball in his 13-ball stay at the crease, which yielded only eight runs.A Tallawahs’ outfit were pumped up on the field as well. To reward them for their efforts, the catches offered were rather easy. They took some and dropped as many. Timroy Allen dropped a sitter when Hosein offered a chance, but he became the beneficiary when Steyn and Powell made no mess in accepting the offers by Hosein and Malik respectively. Walton too gobbled an easy chance and allowed Nicholas Pooran a reprieve.Steyn returned to the attack for his second spell to further dent their chances by dismissing Pollard and Wiese in the 12th over. Celebratory dances by the domestic West Indian players let out enough signs that they had smelt victory even with six overs remaining in the match.If Tridents had any luck going their way, it happened in the last five overs with edges shooting past the wicketkeepers head and the third man region for boundaries. But the task at hand had become too tall for their lower-middle order to pull off the unexpected. Pooran whacked six sixes and a boundary in his 25-ball 51, but the effort could do little stop the dancing crowd.Steyn bagged his fourth by getting Navin Stewart to edge the ball to the wicketkeeper. With this win – sixth in eight matches – Tallawahs have maintained their top spot in the CPL 2016 points table.Brief Scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 195/5 in 18 overs (Chadwick Walton 97, Kumar Sangakkara 50; Ravi Rampaul 2-35, David Wiese 2-45) beat Barbados Tridents 159 in 17.4 overs (Nicholas Pooran 51, Kieron Pollard 16; Dale Steyn 4-27, Timroy Allen 2-27) by 36 runs.
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