Chris Gayle hit the first ever Limacol CPL century as the Jamaica Tallawahs started the defence of its title with a seven wicket win over the St. Lucia Zouks.
The crowd at the National Stadium had swelled throughout the day to see local boy Andre Fletcher play for the Zouks, and they would soon get a chance to see him in action as Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle won the toss and put St Lucia in to bat. The Zouks openers Johnson Charles and Henry Davids got off to a fantastic start reaching 41 after five overs. However Tallawahs spinner Nikita Miller who took 1-11 in his four overs made the breakthrough removing Johnson Charles stumped after good work by Carlton Baugh Jr.
Grenadian Fletcher came to the crease and cemented a solid partnership with Henry Davids as the South African made 50 on his CPL debut. Davids didn’t kick on from there as he was removed by new Tallawahs player Juan "Rusty" Theron. This brought Darren Sammy to the middle and despite losing partners at the other end the captain helped the Zouks to a formidable 161-5 off 20 overs.
The Jamaica Tallawahs got off to a flying start with Chadwick Walton scoring a six and two fours in the first over. It wasn’t long before Gayle also got in to the groove clearing the ropes with ease on a regular basis punishing spinners and seam bowlers alike to finish with ten sixes and five fours and end up with 111 not out from 63 balls.
After Walton and Jermaine Blackwood fell Adam Voges contributed sensibly, picking up singles to get Gayle back on strike. After Gayle had reached his hundred, to rapturous applause he then smashed another four and a six to seal the victory with an over to spare.
Tallawahs coach Mickey Arthur said; It’s great to be a coach and have Chris on your team! I didn’t give him any instructions; he just went out on the pitch and put on a world class display.
Man of the Match Gayle, said: I couldn’t ask for a better start to the tournament. Chadwick Walton gave us a great start and I’m happy I could build on that momentum to deliver the victory.
St. Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy, was philosophical in defeat; We thought 160 was a good total but Chris batted brilliantly. I prefer playing with him when he’s in that kind of form.
The Jamaica Tallawahs next play on July 17th vs the Hawksbills in Antigua (3:30pm ECT), while the St. Lucia Zouks visit the Guyana Amazon Warriors on July 19th (4pm ECT).