A brilliant all-round display from Man of the Match Andre Russell led Jamaica to a hard-fought five-wicket win over Guyana in their Caribbean T20 encounter at Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia yesterday.
It was the first match of the St Lucia leg of the tournament, and promised to be something spectacular between two regional heavyweights. Instead, it was another low-scoring affair where 15 wickets went down. Guyana, the 2010 CT20 champs, were in to bat and dismissed for 93 in 19.4 overs, with Russell taking four for 22.
Jamaica were two for two early in their chase, but rebounded to reach 94 for five off 18.1 overs to move on to 13 points on the standings with just one more match to play.
It placed them second on the standings on net run rate before leaders Trinidad and Tobago's meeting with hosts Windward Islands in the late match last night.
T&T, who need a win in one of their two matches to ensure a playoff berth, play their final round robin match against Barbados at Beausejour from 8 p.m. tonight.
A Jamaica win in their final match against the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) on Friday will also ensure Jamaica's place in the CT20 playoffs, for which the top three teams from the preliminaries will qualify.
In yesterday's early match, Guyana were off to a terrible start, losing two quick wickets in the second over of the match, bowled by pacer Sheldon Cotterrell as the batsmen continued their struggle in the tournament despite a change in venue.
Opener Trevon Griffith's miserable run of form with the bat continued, as he got a leading edge to Nkrumah Bonner, before key batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was lbw off the last ball of the second over to leave Guyana seven for two.
With the openers gone, it was up to experienced, discarded West Indies batsmen Ramnaresh Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine to get the innings back on track, yet they too struggled against the Jamaican pacers.
Sarwan (seven) fell to the short ball, hooking Russell to Krishmar Santokie at fine leg with the score on 24 in the eighth over, and Leon Johnson (first ball duck) edged the medium pacer to wicket-keeper Aldane Thomas two balls later.
Christopher Barnwell gave the innings some momentum with his cameo of 27 off 25 balls, smashing two fours and a six, while Royston Crandon chipped in with 20 off 14 balls, including three fours, to get the total closer to triple figures.
But Russell ensured the Guyanese never got there.
Jamaica's chase got off to a shaky start with Steven Jacobs grabbing two early wickets, one each in his first two overs to put some pressure on the Jamaicans.
The off-spinner had Bonner caught and bowled off the fourth ball of the innings for zero, before Jamaica skipper Tamar Lambert played into the hands of Sarwan at short mid-wicket for one.
Santokie's early entrance in the innings proved the decisive factor.
He smashed Veerasammy Permaul for six over long on to get the Jamaicans back on track, before sending Royston Crandon to the cover boundary for four and then over mid-wicket for his second six of the innings.
A couple more wickets for Guyana, including that of Santokie in the 16th over could have changed the tide of the match, but Russell continued where Santokie left off, smashing three sixes in his seven-ball 20 to bring home the win with 11 balls to spare.
Guyana will be in action on Thursday against the Leeward Islands and then on Friday against the Windward Islands, and hoping for two wins to edge into a playoff spot.
Today's CT20 Fixtures
(At Beausejour Cricket Ground, Gros Islet)
CCC vs Leewards, 4 p.m.
Barbados vs T&T, 8 p.m.
CT20 Points Standings
Teams GP W L NR Pts Net RR
T&T 4 3 0 1 13 +3.352
Jamaica 5 3 1 1 13 -0.218
Windwards 3 2 1 0 8 +0.702
Barbados 4 2 2 0 8 +0.557
Guyana 4 2 2 0 8 -0.625
CCC 4 1 3 0 4 -0.647
Leewards 4 0 4 0 0 -2.302
T Griffith c Bonner b Cotterrell 4
S Chanderpaul lbw Cotterrell 1
R Sarwan c Santokie b Russell 7
N Deonarine b Russell 13
L Johnson c wk Thomas b Russell 0
S Jacobs st wk Thomas b Miller 9
C Barnwell c wk Thomas b Miller 27
R Crandon c Lambert b Russell 20
D Christian not out 5
V Permaul run out 3
D Bishoo run out 0
Extras (lb 1, w 3) 4
TOTAL (all out; 19.4 overs) 93
Fall of wickets: 5 (Griffith), 7 (Chanderpaul), 24 (Sarwan), 25 (Johnson), 35 (Deonarine), 41 (Jacobs), 74 (Barnwell), 86 (Crandon), 92 (Permaul), 93 (Bishoo)
Bowling: Santokie 4-1-15-0 (1w); Cotterrell 3.4-1-8-2 (1w); Bernard 4-0-22-0 (1w); Russell 4-0-22-4; Miller 4-0-25-2
N Bonner c&b Jacobs 0
J Campbell c wk Christian b Bishoo 17
T Lambert c Sarwan b Jacobs 1
D Hyatt c Crandon b Deonarine 22
K Santokie c Chanderpaul b Deonarine 22
D Bernard not out 9
A Russell not out 20
Extras (w 3) 3
TOTAL (for 5 wkts; 18.1 over) 94
Did not bat: Miller, McCarthy, Cotterrell, Thomas
Fall of wickets: 1 (Bonner), 2 (Lambert), 36 (Campbell), 57 (Hyatt), 67 (Santokie)
Toss: Won by Jamaica who elected to field
Result: Jamaica won by 5 wkts
Points: Jamaica 4, Guyana 0
Player of the Match: Andre Russell (Jamaica)
Umpires: L Reifer and J Wilson
TV umpire: G Brathwaite
Match referee: K Felix
Reserve umpire: V Smith