Evin Lewis, Devon Thomas and Fabian Allen combined to stifle Hurricane Chris Gayle, as the St Kitts Nevis Patriots stunned the Jamaican Tallwahs by four wickets in a record-breaking Hero Caribbean Premier League run-chase at Warner Park in St Kitts on Tuesday night.
After Gayle hit a blistering 62-ball 116, his 22nd career T20 century and fourth in the CPL, to guide the Tallawahs to a record 241 for four, Lewis hit the fastest ever CPL 50, Thomas a quickfire 71, while Allen delivered the final blow as the Patriots got home with seven balls to spare in a match which broke several world T20 and CPL records.
The result moved the Patriots to two points from three matches and third on the six-team table behind joint leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders, who both have six points. Tallawahs remained winless from their two games, as are the St Lucia Zouks and Barbados Tridents, who play the Patriots Wednesday.
Earlier, while many wrote them off after Gayle’s century gave the visitors the highest ever CPL total, Lewis and Thomas took on the visiting bowlers, getting the Patriots off to a blistering start to give the home fans hope of an upset victory.
The Patriots openers shared in an 85-run partnership to set the platform the team needed. Lewis’ record 18-ball 53, laced with three fours and six sixes, kept them well ahead of the required 12-plus an over required run rate.
When Thomas lost Lewis, who gloved an Andre Russell delivery to wicket-keeper Glen Phillips going for a cut shot, Laurie Evans came to the crease with the Patriots still with over 14 overs left.
Evans himself contributed a 20-ball 41from the other end as Thomas continued to take the fight to the Tallawahs bowlers. They compiled a 76-run partnership before Evans was caught by Russell on the cover boundary after he checked his shot off pacer Oshane Thomas.
Patriots were precariously poised at 161-2 and any result was possible at that stage. Then came the 13th over, where a three-wicket burst from Thomas gave Tallawahs the impetus they felt had swung the momentum back in their favour for good. Thomas bagged the prized scalp of Thomas off his first ball but had to thank a superb one-handed catch by a sprawling wicket-keeper Phillips, after Thomas got a thick outside edge on a delivery lined on off stump. Three balls later, Patriots skipper Carlos Braithwaite lofted Thomas towards the deep cover boundary but picked out Russell to be dismissed for a three-ball duck. And off the last ball of the over, Jason Mohammed gloved a short delivery lined on the leg stump to Phillips for a two-ball duck as Patriots slipped to 177-5.
But with the home fans willing them on, Allen combined with Shamarh Brooks (27) in a 50-run sixth-wicket partnership to steer the Patriots to within reach of a thrilling victory.
Brooks was bowled by Russell off the first ball of the penultimate over to leave Patriots on 227 for six. But Allen slapped Russell’s third delivery over the deep mid-wicket boundary for six then hit the next two for boundaries to bring fireworks from the fans off the field.
Earlier, Gayle, who turns 40 later this month, began his birthday celebrations in style, relishing the close boundary lines on one of the smaller grounds in the CPL.
Gayle and Chadwick Walton dealt in boundaries and maximums, with Walton actually passing Gayle in scoring at one stage, before Gayle changed gears. The Jamaican all-rounder brought up his fifty with a six straight over the head of deposed West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite. He reached this milestone off 36 balls with the150th six of his CPL career.
Walton had beat Gayle to the half-century mark the over before, upper-cutting pacer Alzarri Joseph over third-man to achieve the feat off just 25 balls and including fours and six sixes in it.
Gayle eventually pressed on to his hundred, which included seven fours and 10 sixes.
And just as the fans had caught their breath Man-of-the-match Lewis brought them off their seats again before Patriots delivered their run as the two teams combined for almost 500 runs in one of the most stunning matches thus far in the tournament.
JAMAICA TALLAWAHS 241-4 (Chris Gayle 116, Chadwick Walton 73, Fabian Allen 2/30, Alzarri Joseph 2/39) v ST KITTS NEVIS PATRIOTS 246-6 (Devon Thomas 71, Evin Lewis 53, Laurie Evans 41, Fabian Allen 37, Oshane Thomas 4/53, Andre Russell 2/54)
Result: ST KITTS NEVIS PATRIOTS WON BY 4 WKTS
Man-of-the-Match: Evin Lewis (STKNP)