The Jamaican Tallawahs started 2016's Caribbean Premier League in a winning fashion. Chris Gayle's side overcame St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by five runs, despite a late rally from Devon Thomas at the backend of their chase.
A quickfire half-century from Gayle propelled the Tallawahs to 153/7 from their 20 overs, although they were kept in check thanks to a superb bowling spell from Tabraiz Shamsi, which saw the left-arm spinner pick up two wickets.
The Tallawahs appeared to be cruising towards an inevitable victory, Kesrick Williams never allowed the Patriot's chase to gain momentum as he took three wickets for very few runs although a late attack from Thomas gave them an unlikely hope of victory.
World Boss shows his talent again
The highest run scorer in the Caribbean Premier League shone again tonight. Gayle led his side on the field and with the bat as he raced to 51 off just 36 deliveries as he took the Patriots attack to all corners of the ground. The highlights being three magnificent sixes straight back down the ground.
The powerful opener's innings was needed as just two of his teammates joined him in passing twenty, Andre Russell and Kumar Sangakkara scored 34 and 26 respectively. Russell's runs coming at the quickest rate as he ended the Tallawahs innings with some explosive hitting, his 34 coming from just 21 balls scoring two fours and three sixes.
The Tallawahs recovered well from a middle order collapse as they lost three wickets for just 33 runs. The collapse started when Rovman Powell was caught by Samuel Badree off the bowling of Shamsi for just four runs. Shakib Al Hasan fell soon after, another victim of Shamsi's bowling, as he could only muster seven runs. The third wicket finally saw the back of Chris Gayle, Thisara Perera taking the crucial wicket.
Imad Wasim provided the crucial anchor while Russell was providing the fireworks. The lower order batsman faced 14 deliveries, scoring 19 runs. William's innings was needed as he shared a 45 run partnership with Russell, ending the middle order collapse.
Devon Thomas gives Patriots a chance
The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots' chase never really got going, losing their first wicket in just their second over. Kesrick Williams took his first scalp of the night, removing Evin Lewis for just eight runs. Lendl Simmons provided resistance to the Tallawahs bowling attack, the opening batsman scoring a run a ball 29 before he was bowled by Wasim.
Faf Du Plessis and Jonathan Carter then shared a stand of 43 runs from 28 deliveries until the latter was caught and bowled by Jon-Russ Jaggesar having scored 27, Du Plessis soon followed having also scored 27.
Regular wickets followed as just two of the next five batsmen made it into double figures. Perera could only make seven runs before Williams made him his second wicket. Brad Hodge could use his experience to make a difference, he only scored 12 runs before Williams secured his man of the match award as he cleaned up the Australian's stumps.
Carlos Braithwaite was next to fall, he fell to Dale Steyn, the pace bowler sending the all-rounder's stumps flying. The Tallawahs weren't prepared for what came to the crease next.
Devon Thomas came to the crease with his side floundering. Thomas was explosive from the minute he came in. He only faced seven deliveries yet he scored 25 runs, achieving a strike rate of 357.14. He smashed three huge sixes in a row in the final over, but ultimately his side fell agonisingly close. The Tallawahs winning by just five runs.