Monday, 10 October 2022 11:41

Coley credits vibes in Tallawahs camp for CPL win

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Andre Coley, the Jamaica Tallawahs assistant coach, says players' sharing of responsibilities, team balance, and adaptability were central to the title-winning 2022 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign.

The Tallawahs, who entered last month's final against Barbados Royals as underdogs, cantered to an easy eight-wicket victory in Guyana to claims their third CPL Twenty20 (T20) crown.

"Throughout the tournament we played as a team. There wasn't an instance where there was overreliance on any particular player in any one particular department, whether batting, bowling, or fielding. Whenever it was required, somebody was able to stand up and hold his hand up," Coley said.

It was not all smooth sailing for the Shivnarine Chanderpaul-coached Tallawahs, who, after claiming victories in three of their first four matches, won only one of their next six outings — one of those was rained out.

But, after holding on to the fourth and final play-off spot, they defeated both St Lucia Kings in the Eliminator and Guyana Amazon Warriors in qualifier 2 to progress to the championship match. The triumph in the final made them the first-ever fourth-placed finisher to go on to win the trophy.

"There was a stutter in the middle where we lost a few games, but the belief never waned," the Jamaican explained.

"We always felt we could get it together and actually work out what it was that was missing. We lost games by close margins, so it was always about getting a handle on those things that could take us across the line," he added.

While Brandon King, who scored a superb 83 not out in the final and a century earlier in the tournament, topped the CPL runs chart with 422 runs in 12 innings, Coley noted the contribution from other players.

Captain Rovman Powell compiled 281 runs in 12 innings, while Shamarh Brooks, who scored an elegant century in the play-offs, tallied an impressive 241 in only seven knocks after he was mostly overlooked early on. Left-hander Raymond Reifer scored 225 runs.

"It's definitely a powerful batting line-up, but we also had batters who had the ability to show batsmanship whenever it was required, whenever there was a difficult period that we needed to get through. We believed we [would have been] able to bat based on what the pitch was giving us… and we always kept the mindset to keep scoring.

"Brandon King scored most runs, he had the ability to change gears so he was explosive when he needed to, and it was the same thing with Brooks. Raymond Reifer also played well, he has the ability to play 360° against pace and spin and can find the gaps either on the ground or over the infield. Rovman, as captain, led well. Everybody knows he's an explosive player, but [there were a] couple of matches when he had to get through tough periods when he got in early and had to bat deep," Coley, the West Indies A team head coach, said.

The bowling department was expertly led by left-arm spinner Imad Wasim (17 wickets) and left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir (16), the latter missing the final due to injury.

Left-arm spinner Fabian Allen, who grabbed a Man-of-the-Match 3-24 in the final, took 11 wickets overall, while fast bowler Nicholson Gordon and off-spinner Chris Green took nine and eight wickets, respectively.

"The statistics would show that we were quite economical, but aside from that we had someone like Amir whose strike rate in the Powerplay was quite phenomenal. Chris Green also had to bear the brunt of the bowling, and it's not easy for an off-spinner in the Powerplay. Imad Wasim, Fabian Allen and Nicholson Gordon, and [Mohammed] Nabi, who came in towards the end, were also very good," Coley said.

"I think our intensity in the field was quite good and supported the bowling, for the most part, although we may have put down a chance or two that we should have taken," he added.