Jamaica Tallawahs 177/2 (Taylor 60*, Powell 55*, Tahir 2-30) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 173/6 (Hetmyer 48, Mohammed 54, Powell 2-21) by eight wickets
A spectacular all-round show in batting, bowling, catching and fielding from Rovman Powell helped Jamaica Tallawahs complete the highest successful T20 chase in Guyana as the visitors romped their way past Guyana Amazon Warriors by eight wickets with 11 balls to spare.
Powell took three catches, including a stunning one-handed leaping effort on the boundary, to go with 2 for 21 with the ball and an unbeaten 55 off 34 balls in the record chase, putting the Tallawahs in second place on the CPL 2018 points table. Another loss by Amazon Warriors on Sunday night in their final regular season match against Trinbago Knight Riders would clinch a spot for the Tallawahs in the first qualification playoff against TKR, and force the Amazon Warriors to win two elimination playoff matches to reach the CPL final.
Green with Envy
Amazon Warriors went into the match with a new captain unveiled at the toss. Rayad Emrit, who had gone wicketless in four straight matches and six out of eight in the season, was dropped from the lineup with 24-year-old overseas Aussie Chris Green sent out for the toss. A batting order reshuffle was in the works as well for Guyana, in a bid to spark a better showing following a loss to Trinbago Knight Riders on Wednesday night.
Cameron Delport was moved into the opening slot while Chadwick Walton was bumped down to No. 5. Both men provided above average returns in their new roles as Delport clubbed a swift 34 off 23 balls. It took Powell's sensational salmon leap at long-on to end Delport's knock and give a much-deserved wicket to Samuel Badree, who had the most economical figures on the night with 1 for 24.
Walton scored an equally brisk 25 off 16 before he was runout by Glenn Phillips in the final over, hesitating for a bye. Jason Mohammed was the true star of the innings though, clattering 54 off 33 balls at No. 4 including a 61-run stand with Shimron Hetmyer. Powell induced a skier off Mohammed in the final over, before bowling Roshon Primus off the final ball to give the Tallawahs momentum heading into the break.
In a season of umpiring howlers, spinners have been the primary beneficiaries on lbw decisions. Imran Tahir was on the right side of another very wrong decision to break the Tallawahs opening stand. Brought on in the fifth over to deal with a rampaging Phillips, Tahir's third ball was one of his patented googlies.
It broke from well outside off stump to cannon into Phillips' pads in front of leg, a magical deviation that would have made Houdini jealous. Replays showed the incredibly sharp turn was less to do with Tahir's rubbery wrists but rather a massive deflection off an inside edge from Phillips' bat, but umpire Langton Rusere fell for the ruse and gave Phillips out.
Tahir struck again in the seventh as another googly beat Johnson Charles through the gate to leave the Tallawahs at 63 for 2. It put Tahir in a three-way tie for the CPL wickets lead alongside fellow leggie Fawad Ahmed and Tallawahs opening quick Oshane Thomas, who took one in the first innings, but it would be the last bit of shouting on the night for Amazon Warriors.
On raw stats, Ross Taylor's average of 42.33 over the first seven matches looks outstanding for a T20 player. But his inability to finish innings strongly saw him get dropped from the Tallawahs' lineup for their last two matches. Given a recall on Saturday night, he redeemed himself with his best knock of the season.
Taylor entered after Tahir's second blow, and unlike his previous innings this season where he struggled to generate momentum early on, the New Zealander's first two scoring shots were his bread and butter cuts through point off Green for a pair of boundaries. He went wild on Primus in the 14th, clubbing a six over midwicket before two more boundaries in a 15-run over and eventually brought up his half-century in 32 balls.
Powell was unfussed at the other end during their 114-run unbroken stand. When the Jamaican lifted Sohail Tanvir over long-on for six in the 15th, it brought the equation down to a run a ball. Powell swatted a full toss from Keemo Paul over midwicket to bring up his half-century in the 18th over, before ending the match bashing another full toss for four off Primus on the first delivery of the 19th.
Guyana Amazon Warriors
Amazon vs Tallawahs
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Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna