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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO RED STEEL BEAT GUYANA AMAZON WARRIORS BY 6 WICKETS

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Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel caused Guyana Amazon Warriors to crack with the bat and then made fairly little fuss with the run chase to run out deserving winners in a must-win Eliminator match-up and earn a place in the final of the Caribbean Premier League against current holders Barbados Tridents. 
 
The hosts lost the toss but Red Steel captain Dwayne Bravo did not have too much reason for concern given what shortly followed. Amazon Warriors opener Lendl Simmons cracked the first two balls of the innings to the boundary and plundered 12 runs from the first over, but that was the highlight for Guyana as their innings halted and then quite spectacularly unravelled under intimate examination from the slower bowlers of the Red Steel attack.
 
Jacques Kallis bowed with customary economy to haul momentum back for the Red Steel, while Sulieman Benn was unplayable at times as he claimed 2/24 from his four overs. Yet the pick of the bowlers was Samuel Badree, who completed his allocation with figures of 2/9 – including one maiden – in a fine spell of bowling as the Amazon Warriors ground to a halt.
 
Brad Hodge departing for four runs from four balls was a significant blow, while the promoted Sunil Narine and Umar Akmal were both dismissed for ducks as Denesh Ramdin's team lost four wickets – and top order wickets – for just six runs. 
 
Christopher Barnwell was the only batsman to reach double figures bar Simmons, who performed heroically for his team in adverse circumstances. While his contribution was ultimately a losing one, the opener became the all-time leading run-scorer in CPL history courtesy of his 64 from 51 balls, and his knock was absolutely pivotal in the Amazon Warriors reaching treble figures for the innings and indeed batting out the overs. 
 
On a pitch that seemed to offer ample assistance for the spinners - and up against a vaunted spin attack including Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul and Narine – a facile Red Steel run chase was not a forgone conclusion.  
 
And the Amazon Warriors made a good start, restricting their opponents to 9/1 from the first three overs, and a run-out chance to dismiss Jacques Kallis not taken.  
 
Kallis was the second wicket to fall after the early departure of Cameron Delport, but then the Red Steel innings went to another level. Kamran Akmal struck 49 from 41 balls as he changed the game, and yet that 119.51 strike rate was notably wilder earlier in the wicket-keeper's innings as the Pakistani went on the rampage. David Wiese was the victim, Akmal striking five consecutive boundaries as he amassed nearly a fifth of the run chase in less than an over. 
 
Darren Bravo, a batsman in flying form, showed more than some evidence of the touch that he's enjoying right now and one of his two sixes found the top of the stand at Queen's Park Oval as the hosts looked like chasing down their target of 109 very quickly indeed.
 
Yet the Amazon Warriors did pull back their opponents as captain Ramdin let Narine, Bishoo and Permaul bowl out their allocations as he desperately searched for wickets. The match situation did look potentially interesting at brief moments, including when the Red Steel required 14 runs from 18 balls, but the hosts always had plenty in hand and they never seriously looked like coming up short at any stage. 
 
Ramdin said: “This was not a pitch where you could blast it out. They bowled well but we had no partnerships and we kept losing wickets in blurts. I think we were short by 30-35 runs.”
 
But the captain had no complaints about the bowling efforts of his team here or throughout this year's tournament. 
 
“Credit to our bowlers throughout the entire CPL – I think we bowled brilliantly. We just didn't bat right, but hopefully we can regroup for next year.”
 
Winning captain Dwayne Bravo said: “This really is a special feeling – you can't ask for better than to play in front of your own fans. We had a very slow start at the beginning of the tournament, but to perform like this is a great achievement.
 
“Before the game started I thought we were going to win this game. It was our gameplan to bowl first actually and everything went right.”
 
And Bravo also could not help but mention the partisan home crowd that will hope to cheer on the Red Steel to victory in Sunday's final.

“The fans are the reason why we won this game. They put pressure on the opposition and they really are our 12th man. I know there will be another packed house on Sunday. We are looking forward to a good final – I'm very excited and we are going to deliver for our fans.”
 
 

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