Barbados Tridents 148 for 7 (Mayers 85, Mujeeb 3-14) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 112 for 9 by 36 runs
Barbados Tridents' spinners turned the screw on the Jamaica Tallawahs to complete a convincing victory at Queen's Park Oval, after Kyle Mayers' career-best 85 had laid the platform in the first innings.
The Tallawahs came into the game on a high after beating the Guyana Amazon Warriors last night, while the Tridents had lost their last three, but news that Andre Russell would miss the match due to a flare-up of his long-standing knee injury served as a major blow. Rovman Powell, the Tallawahs captain, said he hoped to have him back "for the back end" of the CPL. "It's a little bit of pain [in his knee] and some swelling in his foot," he said.
Mayers obliterated the Tallawahs' seam attack, hitting eight sixes in his innings and hitting the final five balls of Carlos Brathwaite's 18th over for 28 runs as he made a maiden T20 half-century, despite struggling to rotate the strike against the spin pair Sandeep Lamichhane and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
And with Jason Holder having two legspinners and a slow left-armer at his disposal against a team containing 11 right-handed batsman, the match-ups always looked likely to work in the Tridents' favour. Tallawahs never got going in their run chase as the required rate soared and wickets tumbled, with Mitchell Santner - who took 2 for 10 from his four overs - the standout performer.
Mayers makes hay
Mayers came into this game averaging 14.77 and with a strike rate of 110.7 in his T20 career but tucked into the Tallawahs' pace-on options early on. He hit four sixes in the space of 14 balls faced between the fifth and eighth overs, lofting Veerasammy Permaul inside-out over cover, heaving Fidel Edwards over midwicket and slapping Rovman Powell for two in the space of three balls.
He looked utterly bemused by mystery spin, managing a combined 11 off 24 balls against Lamichhane and Mujeeb and completely failing to pick either of them out of the hand, but the carnage resumed as soon as the medium pace returned.
Brathwaite started with a wide and a dot in the 18th over, but was then carted for four sixes and a four to concede 29 from the over as Mayers took the Tridents up to a competitive score. He holed out to deep cover at the start of the 19th, but a total of 148 looked slightly above par.
Mystery spin at it again
Mujeeb and Lamichhane's combined figures across the tournament are now 19 for 170 in 40 overs, with a collective economy rate of just 4.25. They were at it again here, ripping through the Tridents' batting line-up as they both displayed their full range of variations: Lamichhane bowled 18 googlies and only six legbreaks, while Mujeeb was keen to use both his googly and his carrom ball.
It is easy to forgot given their vast experience in leagues around the world that these two talents are only 19 and 20 years old: there could be few better adverts for the global T20 circuit than two spinners born in the 21st century, one Nepalese and one Afghan, bowling in tandem for Jamaica.
Tallawahs fluff lines
Powell had slammed his side's "atrocious" batting performance against the Amazon Warriors at the start of this week. While they showed some improvement in the return fixture last night, they were hopeless here against a side that matched up well against them.
It is a damning indictment of the Tallawahs' team construction that they again fielded a side made up exclusively of right-handed batsmen, not least against a Tridents attack featuring two legspinners and a slow left-armer. Santner struck in his first over to remove compatriot Glenn Phillips, and Holder's two early wickets left them reeling at 26 for 3 after the Powerplay. Hayden Walsh Jr. managed his first scalps of the tournament, while Rashid Khan bowled better than his figures suggested.
Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner attempted to rebuild but chewed up too many dot balls as the required rate sky-rocketed. The Tallawahs faced a 85 dots in that defeat against Guyana last week - the joint-most ever in a major league - and managed to rack up a further 76 tonight.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98