Jamaica Tallawahs 162 for 2 (King 83*, Brooks 47, Holder 1-14) beat Barbados Royals 161 for 7 (Azam 51, Cornwall 36, Allen 3-24, Gordon 3-33) by eight wickets
A regal half-century from Brandon King
and three-wicket hauls from Fabian Allen
and Nicholson Gordon
thwarted favourites Barbados Royals and gave Jamaica Tallawahs their third - and first since 2016 - CPL title. Shamarh Brooks
, who scored a sublime century in the second qualifier against Guyana Amazon Warriors, also contributed handsomely, with a 33-ball 47, as Tallawahs chased down 162 with plenty to spare at Providence.
The odds were stacked against Tallawahs even before a ball was bowled in the final. Mohammad Amir, who had taken a chart-topping nine wickets in the powerplay
this season, was ruled out after having suffered a groin injury during the second qualifier. Then, his replacement, Migael Pretorius
, conceded 24 runs in his two powerplay overs and then jarred his back while attempting a catch in the outfield. In the absence of their overseas spearheads, local seamer Gordon, in his first CPL season, stepped up at the death with figures of 3 for 33.
It was left-arm fingerspinner Fabian Allen
who had launched Tallawahs' fightback after Kyle Mayers
and Rahkeem Cornwall
had slammed 63 off 35 balls for the first wicket. Allen got rid of the dangerous Cornwall with the last ball of the powerplay for 36 off 21, and proceeded to dismiss Mayers soon after, He later sent back Azam Khan
, who had top-scored for Royals with 51 off 40 balls.
It was déjà vu for the Royals franchise: they reached the IPL 2022 final but had fallen short
at the final hurdle there as well.
Cornwall's opening salvo
Despite variable bounce posing a threat to batters - some balls reared from a length while some shot low at shin height from a similar length - Cornwall stayed true to his role
of maximising the powerplay. He whipped Pretorius over square leg for six and then went 6, 6, 4 against offspinner Chris Green in the fourth over. In the next, Cornwall picked a fairly blameless non-turning ball from Imad Wasim
and launched it over midwicket for a massive six.
Mayers, too, was aggressive from the outset and punished anything that was full and in his arc. However, both the openers fell either side of the powerplay to trigger a wobble.
Allen and Imad pin down Royals
Allen had induced that wobble by exploiting the variable bounce on offer. After defeating Cornwall with extra bounce, he bowled Mayers with a slider that kept low. He then returned in the end overs to have an advancing Azam stumped. Allen was also busy in the field, patrolling the hotspots.
Imad Wasim, who was the Player of the Match when Tallawahs had won the title in 2016
, bowled inswingers in the powerplay and didn't let Azam get away either. Something had to give and that something was a promoted Jason Holder missing a slog and being castled by Imad for 17 off 19 balls.
Azam went on to notch up a 39-ball half-century but couldn't find a higher gear to hurt Tallawahs. Najibullah Zadran was also responsible for Royals' slowdown, managing just six off 12 balls.
Gordon thrives at the death
Gordon wasn't even needed with the ball during the Eliminator against Kings, but in the final, Rovman Powell
needed him to do the tough job of bowling at the death. He varied his pace cleverly and bowled into the pitch to best Najibullah, Devon Thomas and Corbin Bosch. Thrown in at the deep end in his first CPL season at the age of 30, Gordon repaid Tallawahs' faith and proved that his chart-topping tally
in the inaugural 6ixty that preceded the CPL was no fluke.
King: Batting royalty from
Before CPL 2022, Powell had been quite vocal about getting the local Jamaica boys together in their quest for unlikely success. King moved from Guyana Amazon Warriors and Allen from St Kitts and Nevis Patriots; it was quite fitting that the pair played starring roles for Tallawahs in the final.
Mayers struck in the first over of the chase to york Kennar Lewis, but King repaired the damage with an 86-run second-wicket partnership with Brooks off 58 balls.
After patiently seeing off the new ball - King was on a run-a-ball 25 at one stage - he cranked up the tempo to raise his half-century off 36 balls. Along the way, King also surpassed his West Indian opening partner Mayers to become the highest run-getter this season.
Spin has been King's nemesis in the past, but he found a way past Mujeeb Ur Rahman and left-arm fingerspinner Joshua Bishop, who had been picked ahead of legspinner Hayden Walsh Jr on the day. King took Mujeeb and Bishop for 44 off a mere 19 balls, including eight fours and a six. He iced the game with another six, off Obed McCoy, to spark wild celebrations in Tallawahs' camp.