By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Mon. Aug. 20, 2018: Jamaica Tallawahs came into the weekend match-up in Lauderhill, Florida riding high, after being unbeaten in the 2018 CPL Tourney from three games. Those included wins over the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the Trinibago Knight Riders on their home turf.
The rematch between both teams on Saturday and Sunday at the Central Broward Stadium was promoted as a “home game” for the Tallawahs, especially since it was being played in Lauderhill, or as it is known, ‘Little Jamaica,’ in South Florida.
There is no denying the new Tallwahs skipper, Andre Russell, 30, was expecting a repeat of the team’s performance in Providence, Guyana and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
What they were not expecting obviously was back-to-back losses in the re-match.
First, the Guyana Amazon Warriors walloped the Tallawahs on Saturday night before a massive crowd of Guyanese supporters, many of whom had traveled from as far away as Jacksonville and Orlando to see their team.
Warriors Shimron Hetmyer handed the Jamaicans their first dose of defeat and Russell seemed unable to handle it.
Hetmyer, 21, struck his maiden T20 century in the Caribbean Premier League off 47 balls to send the Warriors to the top of the League table with a 71-run win and four points on the board to date. In so doing, Hetmyer became the youngest centurion in CPL history.
Guyana posted 209 for 7, the highest CPL total made at the venue, after they opted to bat first. The Tallawahs for their part collapsed to all out for 138 in the 17th over.
Russell failed to make an impact with the bat as he had in Trinidad and was superbly caught on the boundary by Hetmyer off the bowling of Devendra Bishoo for just 1.
The loss seemed to anger Russell who reacted unlike many professional sportsmen. Instead, the new Tallwahs skipper shared his anger with the world through the media and seemed to blame the Guyanese fans who were there to support their team.
“Honestly, I’m very unhappy at the moment,” Russell said after the game. “The guys fought tonight … but based on tonight’s game, it wasn’t like a home game. It didn’t feel that way.”
And then came the kicker that proved the win for Guyana had left the skipper with a bad case of sour grapes.
“Guys were upset. I was upset. When I got off the field, I was throwing shoes, everything all around the changing room, things that fans don’t need to see, but that’s how upsetting these things can be,” he was quoted by ESPN CricInfo as saying.
On Sunday night, the Knight Riders, the CPL defending champion, handed the Tallawahs their second consecutive defeat in the tourney.
The Riders won by four wickets, off the last ball with Javon Searles, the unlikely hero in a match that had fans on the edge of their seats. The Tallawahs had earlier reached 182 for five off their 20 overs. The Riders were able to reach 184 for six off their 20 overs. This sent the Riders into second place on the CPL points table, ahead of the Tallwahs, who are now in third spot.
One can only wonder what Russell’s excuse was Sunday night or his post-match locker room actions? Will he also now blame Trinidadian fans in South Florida or Jamaicans who did not show up to cheer for him and the Tallawahs for his case of sour grapes?