The Jamaica Tallawahs pulled off a sensation in the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League final, beating overwhelming favorites Guyana Amazon Warriors by seven wickets.
The game at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Saturday did not live up to the excitement of many matches throughout the month-long tournament, but Tallawahs were only concerned about upsetting the odds.
Warriors had beaten Tallawahs twice in earlier matches in the tournament. Everyone was aware that Guyana teams have historically won many inaugural finals. But that was not the case this time.
Although the teams had names aligned to countries, all six in the tournament had a mix of nationalities including players from other parts of the world. The blend seemed to work perfectly.
Many Jamaican fans in the Cayman Islands congregated at Welly’s Cool Spot to watch the TV action – and when they won the premises erupted.
One mega-fan who could barely contain himself was Robert Drysdale. He said, “I expected us to win because we couldn’t lose to Guyana a third time.
“We had an influx of players and Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lankan batsman/wicket-keeper) brought a different blend to our team.”
Drysdale feels the Jamaicans depend too heavily on captain Chris Gayle, the world’s best batsman in the T20 format. Perception was that if the Warriors got Gayle out cheaply they would coast to victory. Gayle is often guilty of throwing away his wicket with rash strokes, but this time the Jamaican opener and former West Indies captain, gave a measured display, scoring 47 not out after the Warriors had only posted 128-5 in their allotted 20 overs.
“Sangakkara was a stabilizer for us, I was confident we would go all the way tonight,” Drysdale said.
“I said before the game that if Guyana made 140 or 145 we would be in problems because their bowling is so tight with players like Lasith Malinga and Sunil Narine. So 128 was easily achievable. I call it soup.”
Drysdale feels the Caribbean Premier League is an excellent introduction to the region. “It will get people to come out and support our cricket. I think it’s going to get better and better every year it will eventually rival the Indian Premier League because the Caribbean is the one and only.
“Our sunshine, atmosphere and cricket is different to anywhere else in the world. People get envious about it.”