A sterling century from Russell gave them, the Jamaica Tallawahs, a hard fought 19-run win over the Trinbago Knight Riders and a rematch with the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2016 Hero CPL Final this Sunday at Warner Park.
The Knight Riders lost on the Duckworth Lewis Method due to lengthy and frequent rain interruptions that forced the match to end in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The Tallawahs shot to 197 for 7. The Knight Riders in response could only have mustered 110, with C. Munro on 38 runs.
Shakib al Hasan took 3 for 23 for the Knight Riders. The finalists are probably hoping not to have the kind of rain interruption that has been plaguing the playoffs thus far.
Russell came to the crease with his team creaking at 67 runs with a loss of four wickets including that of his talisman Chris Gayle who made 36 runs from 26 balls. However, with innings in the balance at his departure, Russell knew the onus was on him to rescue the match. He really got things going after a fast bouncer from Knight Riders captain D.J. Bravo struck him on the hand, forcing him to seek some attention for a few minutes.
It seemed his hand was on fire after his recovery—from there onwards there was no stopping “Dre Russ”, as he is affectionately labeled on his jersey. “Honestly, I just want to say thanks to the Almighty. He makes all things possible. The way that I go about the innings today, getting off the bench, Chris (Gayle) was saying if I sure I want to bat, or to send someone else, and I said yes I’m ready. I want to go and do this…everything went according to plan,” Russell said. He said the century is very special to him as the performance came the right time. He admitted that the hit on his finger motivated him to play. “I am not good defending, I’m an attacking player,” he said.
As for captain D.J. Bravo, the game was a strange one for him. “Nothing much we can do. We started well, got some early wickets…one of the better T20 innings I see. They just took the game away from us. Disappointed to lose,” Bravo said. He assessed the CPL season as a very good one despite the obstacles. But said the Tallawahs played well, and it’s hard to win in that situation.