Guyana 187 for 4 (Barnwell 88, Griffith 41) beat Jamaica 183 for 6 (Gayle 122*) by six wickets
A commanding knock of 88 from Christopher Barnwell stole the thunder from Chris Gayle's eighth T20 century and took Guyana past Jamaica in the Caribbean T20 playoff. Guyana now play table-toppers Trinidad and Tobago in the final on Sunday.
They started their chase of 184 poorly, losing opener Derwin Christian in the first over. Although Ramnaresh Sarwan struck three boundaries and a six to keep up with the required run-rate, he dragged one on to his stumps in the fourth over. Trevon Griffith and Barnwell batted responsibly to keep them in the hunt, adding 79 off 55 balls. After that, Barnwell controlled the chase.
His innings was full of strokeful boundaries. Arriving to the crease at the fall of the second wicket, ahead of the regular No. 4 Narsingh Deonarine, he maintained a balance between pushing the scoring rate to keep his side in the contest, and cutting the risks. The three-over period between overs 15 and 17 produced 53 runs, and swung the match in Guyana's favour. The 17th over, especially, epitomised Guyana's confidence and their opponents' lack of it, when strike bowler Krishmar Santokie bowled two balls down the leg side and a full toss, to give away 19 runs in the over. Santokie's injury while fielding, however, might have affected his bowling, but by then Jamaica were out of the contest.
Jamaica looked favourites when Gayle, playing his second match of the competition, smashed 122 off 61 deliveries - his second-highest Twenty20 score - to propel his team to 183 for 6. He ruined the figures of spinners Devendra Bishoo, Royston Crandon and Veerasammy Permaul, who was smashed for 28 runs in his only over. He smashed 12 sixes, breaking his own Caribbean T20 record of the maximum number of sixes in an innings (9) that he had gained in his previous knock. Rain, which delayed the start of the game, made it hard for bowlers to grip the ball.
Gayle began his big hitting in the second half of the Jamaica innings, helping them score 142 runs in the final ten overs after scoring 41 off the first ten.
Of the other seven Jamaica batsmen, only two got into double figures. Captain Tamar Lambert, who scored 23, spoke in the post-match presentation of the failure of the other batsmen to score alongside Gayle. He stressed that one man couldn't single-handedly win the game for the side all the time.
But the difference between victory and defeat for them lay in the Guyanese batsmen's resolve and a slip in momentum in the middle overs by the Jamaica bowlers.