Despite finishing third of four teams in the Hero Caribbean Premier League, the Jamaica Tallawahs looked a powerful unit and highly fancied for a place in the final of the competition and maybe a third trophy in six years.
However, nobody told the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, they weren’t favourites and they duly produced possibly their best batting performance of the tournament, chasing down the 191 set by the Tallawahs to win by two wickets with just a ball to spare.
Sent into bat, the Tallawahs, with the ever-present Glen Phillips at the top of the order, started steadily, despite the early loss of Johnson Charles.
Charles went in the third over with the score on nine, but Ross Taylor, 33 from 23, and Phillips 103 from 63, made sure the innings never lost momentum.
By the time Rovman Powell struck 15 from nine, Andre Russell 10 from six, and David Miller, 19 from 13, did their bits, the Patriots were facing a daunting total.
That total was despite some good death bowling from Carlos Brathwaite, Tabrais Shamsi, and Ben Cutting, who stopped the score from going over the 200 mark as it looked set to become.
A big target still faced the Patriots and to make matters worse, last year’s beaten finalists were to be without Evin lewis, who has been looking like something of his old self, at the top of the order. Lewis had damaged a finger while fielding and could not open the batting.
The Patriots began with a cautious Devon Thomas and Chris Gayle. Thomas did strike three fours in his 13 from six deliveries, while Gayle could only manage 26 from 30, the big left hander looking watchful until his attempt to cut loose against the bowling of Ish Sodhi, ended his fight to bat deep into the innings.
With the loss of Gayle, one would have thought the Patriots may not have the power to stay ahead of or compete with a challenging run rate.
One would have been wrong.
Enter man-of-the-match Anton Devcich, who made an enterprising 50 off 23 deliveries, first batting with Rassi van der Dussen, 20 from 22, and then Fabian Allen, 23 from 10, made the middle overs miserable for the Tallawahs, who gave up more than 50 runs in just three of the 20 overs.
The innings of Brandon King must not be understated either, as the Jamaican middle-order batsman struck 21 from just eight deliveries, striking thee sixes in the innings.
Russell and Oshane Thomas were called in to stop the bleeding and they did, Russell ending with figures of 4 overs, none for 28, and Oshane Thomas, who came in for some stick in his first two overs, coming back well to pull back some of the scoring and grab a couple wickets as well. He ended with figures of 3-43.
Steven Jacobs, who was good in his first few overs, was one of those that were hit to all parts by a rampant Devcich in the middle overs, but still ended with admirable figures of 4 overs, 1-31.
Rovman Powell had not bowled a ball all innings but was tasked with stopping Ben Cutting and Carlos Brathwaite from scoring 15 runs in the final over.
Powell started poorly and was hit out of the park by Brathwaite before turning it around to having the big right-hander caught on the boundary in stunning fashion by Russell.
Hayden Walsh came to crease but would not have much to do, as Ben Cutting versus Powell was the order of the day.
Powell bowled a couple of deliveries well outside offstump at full length and had Cutting missing, but then a wide call from the umpire rattled the bowler, who followed up with three other wides.
Needing six runs off two balls, Powell then served up a length ball, maybe fearing to be called for another wide and was duly dispatched well beyond the midwicket boundary with a ball still left to spare.
The Patriots will now face the Trinbago Knight Riders the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago.