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Match 18 – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Jamaica Tallawahs

Patrick Noone analyses Glenn Phillips’ pivotal innings as the Tallawahs piled on the misery for the Patriots

Throughout this CPL, Jamaica Tallawahs’ batting has promised a lot but delivered very little. Packed full of power hitters like Asif Ali, Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell, their middle order looked a formidable unit on paper. So far, it hasn’t quite worked out that way, with the slow, spin-friendly pitches of Trinidad ill-suited to many of their batsmen’s games, while the Tallawahs’ lengthy tail has perhaps prevented them from ever really putting their foot on the throttle, even when the opportunity has been there.

For the most part, Glenn Phillips has been the sole member of the Tallawahs batting lineup to make good on his potential. The New Zealander has scored 207 of his side’s 771 runs, nearly 27% of the total even after registering two ducks. Today in Port of Spain, it was Phillips again who played the key innings, finishing unbeaten on 79 from 61 balls as the Tallawahs kept their campaign alive with a win over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.

Phillips might have ended the innings with a healthy run rate, but that doesn’t tell the whole story as the opener took a long time to get going, moving through the gears at the back end of the innings. After facing 24 balls, Phillips had just 13 runs to his name, the fewest he’d ever recorded after batting for that length of time. Yet by the end, he’d posted his fifth highest score in his T20 career; only twice had he faced more than 60 balls in an innings and finished with a higher score.

The explanation for Phillips’ slow start can partly be put down to the amount of spin the Patriots were bowling. Only one of the first 19 balls he faced was from a seamer and he was unable to score a boundary off either Jon-Russ Jaggesar or Imran Khan. But Phillips only played three false shots during that period – he was in control but not scoring, backing himself to catch up when the seamers returned. It was a high-risk strategy, and if Phillips had been dismissed before his late innings onslaught, he would have come in for some criticism for the approach.

As it turned out, Phillips raced from 37 to 55 with three successive sixes off Sheldon Cottrell after he returned to the attack in the 17th over. He then hit two further sixes as well as a four against Rayad Emrit to give him an overall run rate against seam of 12 runs per over, compared to just 4.62 against spin.

This was quite clearly the match-defining innings as no batsman from either team was able to pass 27 and it moved the Tallawahs up to third in the points table behind Trinbago Knight Riders and St Lucia Zouks. For all the ups and downs the Jamaica franchise have had this season, they are still well in the mix for the top four and, on their day, are capable of beating just about anyone.

The same can sadly not be said of the Patriots who slumped to a fifth defeat from six and remain rooted to the bottom of the table. The sequence of three wickets for three runs in the space of 14 balls after the Powerplay rather summed up their campaign, as did the fact that they made three changes to their XI for the fourth time this season.

The Tallawahs meanwhile will be hoping that this win is a springboard to finish off the group stage strongly. They will know that there are tougher tests to come, with Trinbago Knight Riders awaiting them in their next match, but this was a step in the right direction for one of the more enigmatic sides of the CPL.

Patrick Noone is a CricViz analyst

@patnoonecricket

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