(CRIC NATION 592) – The Universe Boss, Chris Gayle, lifted his own trophy as the Patriots won the inaugural men’s SKYEXCH 6IXTY. In the poetry of cricket, Gayle was dropped twice in one over before he hit the winning runs to see his team over the line. You couldn’t have scripted it better. It was written in the stars.
When put in to bat in the men’s final the Trinbago Knight Riders had a tricky start to their innings losing two early wickets and finding themselves 6/2 after just nine balls. Sunil Narine, who had batted so brilliantly in the semi-final, was dismissed without scoring before some incredible wicket-keeping from Da Silva saw the back of Tion Webster.
Andre Russell looked to be the difference and was striking the ball well, but a stunning piece of fielding put an end to his efforts before Terrance Hinds and Seekkuge Prasanna were both sent packing. Resistance in the form of an unbeaten 37 from Tim Seifert meant the Patriots needed 85 to win.
The chase started with gusto from the Patriots who unlocked the extra Powerplay for the first time in the tournament and they raced to 43/0 after just 20 balls. Russell made the initial breakthrough bowling Lewis for 21 and Narine made light work of Dewald Brevis who went without scoring. But the excitement really started when the Universe Boss strolled out to bat.
With a trophy named after him and eternal bragging rights on the line, he came out with his usual intent and went aerial. This always has its dangers and with just 13 needed from 12 the ball found Jayden Seales, who dropped him before just two balls later he was also dropped by Anderson Phillip.
With seven needed off the final over,Gayle and Fletcher rotated strike until with four required, it was the man after whom the trophy was named to face. In his usual style, he swung hard and found the boundary on the on side. As the ball raced away for four, the Patriots were already celebrating, and Gayle’s wry smile was just an indication of what it meant to win the inaugural title and lift a trophy named after him.
Earlier in the day, four men’s teams had taken to the field across the two semi-finals. The first of the day saw St Kitts & Nevis Patriots get the better of the Jamaica Tallawahs as they made history with the highest successful run chase of the tournament. The game also saw the Universe Boss Chris Gayle launch his first SKYEXCH maximum of the tournament to raucous cheers from the partying crowd.
In semi-final two the Barbados Royals came flying out of the traps much due to the rockets being launched off the bat of Rakheem Cornwall. But when he was dismissed the run-rate slowed and the Royals could only manage 101/5 from their 60 balls. TKR raced to 43/1 after Sunil Narine was dismissed for 31 but Tion Webster batted well for his 27 which helped put a dent in the chase. In the end, it was a huge six from the bat of Hinds that saw them into the final winning by three wickets with eight balls remaining.
It truly was a ground-breaking tournament full of all the thrills and spills and everything in between and what better way for it to finish than with the image of the Universe Boss lifting the Universe Boss trophy.