Guyana Amazon Warriors kicked off the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a 9 run win over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders.
The Knight Riders won the toss and put the Amazon Warriors into bat and despite Shimron Hetmyer’s 50 they were able to restrict their opponents to 142/7.
However, the Amazon Warriors were to produce an even better bowling performance taking wickets at regular intervals to get their campaign off to a winning start.
The Amazon Warriors began their innings well with Chandrapaul Hemraj striking two sixes but he was caught at short third man once Sunil Narine entered the attack.
The Amazon Warriors then sprung a surprise with the hard hitting Odean Smith entering at number three to maximise the PowerPlay overs. Smith justified his promotion with 24 runs from 15 balls but once he fell the Amazon Warriors innings lost impetus leaving them struggling at the halfway stage on 57/3.
When Isuru Udana removed Shoaib Malik for a laboured 2 runs from 12 balls and Akeal Hosein got rid of Mohammed Hafeez shortly afterwards it looked as if Guyana had given themselves too much to do.
Captain Nicholas Pooran walked in at a surprising number seven with five overs remaining and tried to up the ante with Shimron Hetmyer but Pooran then fell to a stunning Darren Bravo in-out-in catch on the boundary.
Vice-captain Hetmyer had anchored the innings throughout the flurry of wickets and he cashed in at the death with some lusty blows to score the first 2021 Hero CPL 50 and ensure Guyana ended on a tricky total to chase.
Despite losing the wickets of Lendl Simmons and Colin Munro in the PowerPlay the Knight Riders were ahead of the game at the end of the 6 overs.
The turning point came with the introduction of Imran Tahir as he removed both Sunil Narine and Bravo in quick succession and the Amazon Warriors then continued to take wickets at regular intervals.
Smith put the game in the balance when he forced Tim Seifert into a false shot to leave the Knight Riders on 78/5 after 12 overs and it was to go from bad to worse for the Knight Riders when Romario Shepherd got Kieron Pollard to nick behind to Pooran for 2 runs.
Late hitting from Dinesh Ramdin kept the Knight Riders in the game but when he fell to a smart catch from Malik all hope was lost.