Port of Spain, Aug 24 (IANS/CMC) The Jamaica Tallawahs have fixed an appointment with the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament here Saturday night at the Queen's Park Oval.
The Tallawahs Friday night eliminated the Barbados Tridents by seven wickets, in the second semifinal, as big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell and veteran Sri Lankan left-hander Kumar Sangakarra steered them home with nine balls to spare.
Replying to the Tridents' 148 off 20 overs , the Tallawahs romped to 152 for three (off 18.3 overs) with Russell not out 29, off just 6 balls, and Sangakarra unbeaten on 50 off 36 deliveries.
With the Tallawahs needing 32 from 20 balls when he came to the crease, Russell crushed the ambitions of the Tridents in the 19th over with a thrilling display of shot-making as he plundered three big sixes off former Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood.
Bowling the last of his four overs, after earlier capturing the prized wicket of Chris Gayle (three runs) cheaply in the fourth over of the innings, Mahmood produced some fodder deliveries to the Jamaican all-rounder who fired them into the stands and secured the advance of the Tallawahs.
Man-of-the-match Sangakarra, mixing aggression with clinical strokeplay, guided the team in the difficult overs and also shared an important second-wicket partnership of 71 with opener Chadwick Walton, who benefited from a dropped chance before he was off the mark and scored 45 off 40 balls.
Walton, who was eventually run out by wicketkeeper Johnathan Carter, punished the Tridents for the early left-off and pulled around the game with the help of Sangakarra for Russell to launch his amazing blitz in the late overs.
The Tridents , who struggled and recovered to post a competitive total in their innings, generally kept themselves in the game up until the 18th over , when the Tallawahs needed 15 from 12 balls, and up until Russell exploded.
The Tridents were sent in to bat and were set-back early, losing the wickets of opener Dwayne Smith and promoted all-rounder Jason Holder with just six runs and three overs into the innings.
Young left-handed opener Ramon Reifer then joined with Shoaib Malik to put on 102 runs for the third wicket, off 14 overs, before both fell is successive balls in the 17th over. Reifer was run out for a well-played 36 off 43 balls, while Malik, seeking to hit Chris Gayle out of the ground, was caught at deep mid-wicket for 49 off 46 balls.
From 108 for 3 - Mahmood (14), captain Keiron Pollard (13) and Kyle Mayers (12) added 40 runs off the last three overs to set-up what was anticipated to be an interesting tussle for a place in the final.
As it turned out, the Tallawahs made light work of the target and qualified to face the Warriors who defeated them twice in the preliminary rounds.