Asif Ali, Glenn Phillips, spinners see off St Lucia Zouks
Pakistan batsman marks CPL debut with match-winning 47* off 27 balls for Tallawahs
Jamaica Tallawahs 160 for 5 (Ali 47*, Phillips 44, Williams 2-32) beat St Lucia Zouks 158 for 7 (Chase 52, Mujeeb 2-25) by five wickets
Against a Tallawahs batting line-up boasting Glenn Phillips, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Asif Ali and Carlos Brathwaite, St Lucia Zouks' 158 for 7 was never going to be enough. Roston Chase did his best to drag Zouks towards credibility, providing substance to the innings with his 52 off 42 - his maiden T20 half-century. But the batsmen who should have played more explosive innings around him were unable to raise the tempo for long enough - the next highest score on the Zouks' batting card being Najibullah Zadran's 25 off 21.
Zouks did make a good start with the ball, dismissing Chadwick Walton and Nicholas Kirton inside the powerplay, but soon Phillips got his big-hitting game humming, before Powell and Asif also produced aggressive innings. From the end of the powerplay onwards, there were no serious wobbles in the Tallawahs innings - they cruised home with seven balls remaining.
Zouks falter at the death
Although Zouks were never motoring through the course of their innings, they did seem to be in a reasonable position at 144 for 5 after 17.2 overs. The remainder of the innings, however, went horribly. Not only did they lose their set batsman Chase, they also failed to hit a boundary from that point on. In the last 22 balls, they managed only 14 runs, and a total that seemed to be headed towards 175 fell well short.
Tallawahs' spinners keep it tight
Offspinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman bowled two of his overs during the Powerplay and two at the death. Legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane bowled his four overs in one spell, through the middle of the innings. Together, they prevented Zouks from ever hitting a high gear, delivering their variations cleverly and accurately. Lamicchane was the more economical of the two, giving away 23 runs from his four overs, while taking the wicket of Najibullah Zadran. Mujeeb had the tougher job of course, and his figures were even more impressive - he dismissed Chase as well as Mohammad Nabi, and conceded only 25. Between these two young spinners, Tallawahs may feel they have the best slow-bowling combo in the league.
Asif Ali shows his wares
Although Asif is new to the Tallawahs, he has been lighting up T20 tournaments around the world, and his first outing for his new team emphasised his value. His 47 not out off 27 was better even than Phillips' innings at the top of the order. He announced himself with a slog-swept six off Rakheem Cornwall to make his first runs for the Tallawahs, before settling into a clinical innings, taking full toll of Zouks' bowling mistakes to clobber five fours and a further six. The leg side was his more productive half of the field, but it was through extra cover that he struck the winning runs.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf