CPL

Young Athanaze shines, as Royals bounce back to down Tallawahs

By September 01, 2023
Barbados Royals batsman Alick Athanaze plays a shot as Jamaica Tallawahs wicketkeeper Shamarh Brooks looks on during their CPL contest at Kensington Oval on Thursday. Barbados Royals batsman Alick Athanaze plays a shot as Jamaica Tallawahs wicketkeeper Shamarh Brooks looks on during their CPL contest at Kensington Oval on Thursday. CPL

Barbados Royals shook off their hefty defeat to Trinbago Knight Riders and returned to winnings ways in the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL), as they bettered reigning champions Jamaica Tallawahs by six wickets at Kensington Oval on Thursday.

The Royals won the toss and again opted to field first, but unlike it was again the Knight Riders on Wednesday, it proved an inspired decision on this occasion, as tidy bowling from Jason Holder, in particular, restricted the Tallawahs to 160-7.

Holder grabbed two wickets for 19 runs in four overs and Afghan spinner Qais Ahmad had two for 42 from his four, against Shamarh Brooks’ 41-ball 78 and Imad Wasim’s 33 from 24 balls.

Young left-handed batsman Alick Athanaze and Laurie Evans, then anchored the Royals reply with an 89-run third wicket stand that propelled them to 161-4 with an over to spare.

The 24-year-old Athanaze hammered three sixes and seven fours in his 48-ball 76, while Evans had four boundaries in his 30 off 26 balls.

Scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 160-7 (20 overs); Barbados Royals 161-4 (19 overs)  

Sent to bat, the Tallawahs struggled to find their boundary-hitting rhythm, especially after Holder accounted for captain Brandon King (one) and Englishman Alex Hales (12), in between overs.

Kyle Mayers earlier had Kirk McKenzie (seven) caught by Evans and the Jamaican franchise was reeling at 23-3 at that point.

Brooks and Raymon Reifer tried to repair the damage and started out well, putting together 54 for the fourth wicket. However, Reifer (16) fell with the score at 77, as he played all over a delightful deliver from Ahmad and was bowled.

Still, Brooks, who slammed four sixes and seven fours in his knock, found another useful partner in Wasim, as they added another 54 runs for the fifth wicket to add some semblance of respectability to the Tallawahs innings.

After Brooks holed out to Rovman Powell off Ahmad, the hard-hitting Fabian Allen (two) was undone by a beauty from Dutchman Roelof van der Merwe, bowling his slow left-arm spin, and Wasim, who had two maximums and two fours in his knock, was run out off the final ball of the innings. 

The Royals were always favoured to overhaul the target on what was a decent batting strip, coupled with the dew factor coming into play, provided they didn’t crumble like they did against Knight Riders.

When Wasim and Chris Green combined to remove the opening pair of Rahkeem Cornwall (17) and Mayers (four) –both of whom are yet to really fire this season –a sense of déjà vu may have hit the Royal fans that they were in for another disappointing night.

But Athanaze and Englishman Evans ensured it was not so. The young Dominican played the aggressor, as he took Tallawahs top trio of Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Salman Irshad to task with some lofty blows showing decent foot work and innovation in a mature innings.

Though Green had Evans caught by Amir midway the 16th over and Irshad bounced back to have Athanaze caught by Hales on the fine leg boundary, the damage was already done and whatever hopes Tallawahs had of a batting collapse, were erased by Rovman Powell and Jason Holder, who ended unbeaten on 10 and nine, respectively.

Despite the win, the Royals remain fifth in the standing on five points, same as fourth-placed Tallawahs, who have a slightly better net run-rate. St Lucia Kings (six points) head the pack, ahead of Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders, who are also on five points each.

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are at the foot of the standing on two points.

Action will resume on Saturday with a triple header –Amazon Warriors against Patriots at 8:00am Jamaica time, Barbados Royals women against Trinbago Knight Riders women at 2:00pm and Royals against St Lucia Kings at 6:00pm.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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