Bowlers take Tallawahs to convincing win
Jamaica Tallawahs 97 for 2 (Walton 43*, Gayle 37) beat Antigua Hawksbills 96 (Vettori 3-14) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The decision to bat after winning the toss backfired in spectacular fashion for Antigua Hawksbills as they stumbled to 96 all out before Jamaica Tallawahs cantered to an eight-wicket victory at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. Tallawahs move to 2-0 with the win and continue to look as sharp as their title-winning squad from a year ago. Meanwhile Hawksbills, who missed the playoffs last year, remain winless and could be in for a rough season.
The Hawksbills suffered their first setback in the second over when opener Shacaya Thomas was trapped lbw for 1, playing across the line to Jerome Taylor. Hawksbills captain Marlon Samuels looked unflustered by the early loss and hit Taylor for boundaries off three consecutive deliveries, a pair through fine leg followed by a lofted drive over cover, later in the over. The early burst was halted at the start of the third over when Samuels was pinned on the back foot by a quicker ball from Daniel Vettori. Danza Hyatt played down the wrong line to Vettori for the third lbw decision of the innings to make it 15 for 3 and Hawksbills' struggles only got worse from there.
After brief resistance was offered by Ben Dunk and David Hussey, Rusty Theron came on and struck in the eighth over to bowl Hussey for 15 with a fullish ball that kept a touch low. Vettori got back into the fray in the ninth while fielding at short fine leg as he seized on confusion between Dunk and Devon Thomas between the wickets, firing a throw to Carlton Baugh at the striker's end to remove Dunk for 12.
Two overs later, Thomas attempted to sweep left-arm spinner Nikita Miller but a top edge went straight to Owais Shah at short fine leg to make it 51 for 6. It was the only caught dismissal of the innings. Carlos Brathwaite missed a flick across the line to give Vettori his third wicket in the 14th before Sheldon Cottrell was bowled in the following over by a yorker from Andre Russell for an innings high score of 21. Russell was on a hat-trick after gaining the Tallawahs fourth lbw decision of the match with a full and straight delivery that was too good for Ben Laughlin to make it 80 for 9.
Miguel Cummins and Brad Hogg managed to squeeze out 16 runs between them before another yorker from Taylor accounted for Cummins to wrap up the innings in just 18.3 overs. Vettori finished with 3 for 13 in his four-over spell and later received Man-of-the-Match award for his efforts.
Chris Gayle and Chadwick Walton negotiated the swing provided by the new ball during the first three overs of he chase, taking their side to 14 for 0. Gayle started to open up at the end of the fourth over, smashing Samuels' offspin down the ground and into the sightscreen for his first six, before the opening pair tore into Cummins in the fifth for 22 runs to take the score to 45 for 0. Gayle ended the over with back-to-back blasts for six over midwicket.
Hawksbills had a glimmer of hope in the ninth when Gayle miscued a slower ball from Brathwaite to Samuels at short midwicket for 37. Jermaine Blackwood fell two balls later without scoring when a short ball was gloved to the keeper Thomas to make it 62 for 2. Hogg entered the attack two balls later to start the ninth with his left-arm wrist spin but his first ball was a half-tracker and was duly disposed over long-on for six by Walton. Hogg found his length at the start of the 12th, but it didn't matter to Walton, who shuffled down the track and lofted him over long-off for another six.
Walton and Adam Voges combined for an unbroken 35-run stand to end the match, with Walton finishing the job by striking the winning runs with a pulled four over midwicket three balls into the 15th over. Voges finished 12 not out while Walton was unbeaten on 43 with two fours and three sixes.