Barbados Royals beat Jamaica Tallawahs by six wickets with one over remaining last night to bring up their first victory on home turf in four years.
Captain Rovman Powell won the toss for the Royals and opted to bowl first, looking to make up for Wednesday’s abysmal performance that saw them lose by 133 runs to Trinidad and Tobago Knight Riders at Kensington Oval.
Tallawahs posted 160-7 in their allotted 20 overs, thanks to a top score of 78 runs by Barbadian Shamarh Brooks. In reply, the Royals reached 161-4 with six balls to spare, to an outcry of emotion and cheers from the spectators, befitting a four-year wait to see their team win at the hallowed ground.
Alick Athanaze starred with the bat for the Royals, his score of 76 key to Barbados winning this game. His stroke-filled half century was brought up with a delicate clip off the pads to the fine leg boundary.
The diminutive left hander looked strong square of the wicket – cutting, pulling and gliding his way past the infield to register regular boundaries. His partner Laurie Evans (30) was graceful in his knock, but struggled to keep up with the run rate that was approaching nine an over.
He eventually perished trying to clear long-on, but only managed to sky it to midwicket.
With the run rate climbing to ten, only four overs left and 43 runs needed, the pressure was on Athanaze and new batsman Powell to bring it home. They did just that, thanks to some loose death bowling. Salman Irshad was the main culprit, conceding four leg byes and then five wides with a delivery that two wicket keepers would not have stopped.
Athanaze fell before the win was sealed, but two boundaries from Holder in the three deliveries he faced put matters to bed.
Up next for the Barbados Royals are Saint Lucia Kings on Saturday evening while Jamaica Tallawahs face Trinbago Knight Riders on Sunday morning.
Summarised scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 160-7 in 20 overs (Shamarh Brooks 78, Imad Wasim 33; Jason Holder 2-19). Barbados Royals 161-4 in 19 overs (Alick Athanaze 76, Laurie Evans 30; Chris Green 2-21). Royals won by six wickets. (JC)