Russell lauds Tallawahs all-round effort

...Stars' Pollard defiant

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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Despite not starring with either bat or ball this time around, Jamaica Tallawahs Captain Andre Russell was still pleased, as he praised his team's all-round effort in a six-wicket win over St Lucia Stars in match seven of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 tournament.

Russell, who picked up a hat-trick and blasted a breathtaking unbeaten 121 in a one-man show victory over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders last week, was a mere spectator at Sabina Park on Tuesday, as Tallawahs registered win number two on the trot.

The result saw the Tallawahs moving to the top of the standing on four points.

The explosive all-rounder's 2-48 from his four overs, was overshadowed by a man-of-the-match display of 3-27 from Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa and 3-39 from Oshane Thomas in restricting the Stars to 175 from their allotment.

In the batting department, Russell only contributed three runs, as blistering knocks of 58 from wicketkeeper/batsman Glenn Phillips and an unbeaten 43 by Rovman Powell saw the Tallawahs to 176-4 in 19.4 overs.

“I think the all-round team effort was really good, it is not all about a one man show and it just goes to show tonight (Tuesday) that when one man doesn't come to the party, the other one plays a crucial part. So it is very good that we can actually have a balanced performance like this. Rovman Powell smashed it at the end and what a start it was from Glenn Phillips, so I am happy,” Russell said in a post-game interview.

The Stars, who won the toss and took first strike, placed themselves in a good position to secure the first CPL victory for a St Lucia franchise since July 2016 with solid contributions from Andre Fletcher (43), Lendl Simmons (22), Kieron Pollard (26), Darren Sammy (36) and Kavem Hodge (21).

However, Thomas and Zampa gradually pulled things back in favour of Tallawahs with Pakistani Imad Wasim, who, despite not getting among the wickets, bowled a mean spell of four overs for 24 runs.

“It was a very good deck and we know that 175 was 'chase-able' on it and given the start that they got, I thought that we were going to chase closer to 200, but it was very good in the middle. [Adam] Zampa and Imad [Wasim] came on and pulled it back. So we just have to continue growing from strength to strength and hopefully our big game (against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots) goes well,” Russell noted.

Russell also joked about his brief stay in the middle as he was caught off the bowling of his opposite number Pollard.

“It is always fun when Pollard is in; he is always stopping and doing funny stuff because we are good mates and I always give him a little trouble as well. But it was a good game between us, as I planned that it was either him or me that would end with the last laugh. So he got the win tonight but the two points is more important,” he said, before bursting into laughter with Pollard.

Besides that, Pollard had very little to smile about as his team was suffering it's third-consecutive defeat this season, which left them at the foot of the stand still without a point.

“So near yet so far! We wanted to put the Tallawahs under pressure and make it as tense as possible, but every time we try to do that we tend to bowl a bad over and bring them back. The batting was good, but again, too close but not good enough to get over the line,” Pollard lamented.

“In order to win games and win championships you need to play consistently for 40 overs and we have not been doing that. But having said that, I think 175 was always going to be a challenging total and as you can see, we brought it right down to the end.

“If we had taken a couple of our catches and a couple more tight overs it could have been a different ball game. But always speaking about this could have, would have, should have, we need for it to happen,” he added.

However, the Trinidadian and his team are still not ready to throw in the towel just yet and they next aim for that elusive victory against the defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders in two days' time.

“Yeah, I know we can turn it around. I have played with a franchise [Barbados Trident] where people thought we were out and we came back and won the tournament.

“So for me and the guys, the belief is still there and until mathematically we are out of this tournament, we are going to continue to fight. We are looking forward to our next game against Trinidad who has lost two on the trot, so that could be the kind of contest that we can win to get back into the tournament,” Pollard reasoned.

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