The St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots scored the most amazing victory in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when they chased Jamaica Tallawah’s 241/4 in one night when six flew and records dropped at Warner Park.
The Tallawahs appeared at home and hosed midway after Chris Gayle returned to torment the team he had led in the past two seasons. The Universe boss smashed 116 of 62 10-by-10 balls to mark his 22nd century T20. Chadwick Walton, who was able to keep up with Gayle in his own 36-ball innings of 73, shared a hero-CPL record partnership of 162 to propel the Tallawahs the highest total in the history of the tournament.
It was a record that would only take two hours, as the Patriots reached 242/6 with seven balls remaining. The sixes simply flew on, the records just kept falling. Evin Lewis hit six hero maxima and three fours when he shot 50 in only 17 balls – another hero CPL record – and brought the Patriots in Power Play to 85/0 before being caught off guard by an extra rebound and caught by Glenn became Phillips of Andre Russell.
But he had shown the way and his teammates followed his lead.
Nevertheless, the patriots came. Shamarh Brooks joined Fabian Allen and immediately hit his first hero maximum and the 35th game – yes, that’s another record. The next ball was struck in the middle, and the Patriots needed only 43 of 24 balls.
Allen produced the 200 with the biggest six, waiting for a slower ball from Jerome Taylor and sending him miles from the stadium. A 4 Down Down Ground for Brooks lowered the required rate from the last 18 balls to under 10 and more.
Shamar Springer started with a nervous long shot in the deciding Eighteenth and was hit by Brooks for four minutes before a couple of twos and a single one kept track. Allen then headed the last ball of the passing short third. Suddenly the Patriots needed only 15 out of 12.
Another twist in this extraordinary spectacle seemed possible when Russell cleared Brooks for 27 at the beginning of the 19th century, but Allen had absolutely none of it. A hasty Legbye brought him back on strike and he smashed the last 14 runs of the next three balls to make an exciting victory.
Not only had the Patriots chased the highest sum ever made in the Hero CPL, but they had done so with more than an excess. It had all looked so unlikely when Gayle dominated the first half of the night.
He made his intentions clear from the start as he played Allen’s left-arm spin for four through the square leg and then huge Hero Maximums over Long-On and Midwicket in successive balls.
Alzarri Joseph dismissed the dangerous Phillips – who celebrated a century against the Patriots last season – for only 8, but Gayle was not about to be stopped.
Opposite borders before Rayad Emrit drove Gayle into the 30s and he found in Walton a willing ally.
After failing to hit the first six balls he faced, Walton took only nine more shots to reach 30, reaching 50 out of 25 in total. A Gordon Greenidge-style pull fired against Dominic Drakes, knocking him out with a hero maximum. The next ball was pumped to the ground for a one-bounce four.
Usama Mir’s first attempt was pulverized. One shot brought Walton four goals before landing six times in a row. The first hit landed on the roof of Warner Park.
The 50 partnerships ended in 39 balls before another big over before Usama. Only Walton and then Gayle made their way to bring the Tallawahs on three figures and leave the leg spinner breast-pieces of 0/33 of two overs.
Walton won the race at 50, although he gave Gayle a three-point lead and did not hit his first six balls. Inevitably he came with a hero’s maximum, which had been carved over a third party. Gayle was not far behind, pumping Joseph down the floor to reach a double landmark. It not only took him from 37 balls to 53, it was also the 150th heroes’ maximum of the hero-CPL career of the Universe boss. No other player has reached 100 so far.
Walton initially won the six-match race in Brathwaite and set his seventh inning to belittle the Patriots skipper’s numbers. And still the six came. Gayle shattered three more of Emrit’s third and Walton added his eighth with a ball over Drake’s fine leg.
Gayle launched the 150 partnership, with three consecutive six seasons, to start Brathwaite’s fourth and final partnership from scratch. Thoughts about six-six in an over ended with a single from the fourth ball, but Brathwaite, who only had six runs in his first two overs, still ended up with the bloody numbers of 0/42.
Gayle reached his hundred after a nervous wait, while the third referee checked that Walton had completed the second run needed to bring Gayle from 98 to 100.
Walton’s delay, however, was short-lived and was well caught by Brathwaite after he had lost one of Joseph. Relief for the patriots – until they saw Russell go to the crease.
Gayle, however, was still the lead actor. He picked up three consecutive fours from Joseph, the third of whom Russell desperately dodged as the ball whistled past him at the non-striker’s end.
Russell himself started a few sixs before he passed, like Gayle, in the final – both caught by Brathwaite, who crashed all four tallawahs – when Allen got some revenge.
There was time for one last big goal in the innings when Springer got the last ball and let him sail over the ropes to score the goal after 240 minutes. Remarkably, it would be far from sufficient.