Guyana Amazon Warriors (173-5) beat Barbados Tridents (166-4) by 7 runs
In front of a packed and vibrant crowd, a brilliant hundred from Dwayne Smith was not enough to secure victory for the Barbados Tridents as they lost to the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League. A fantastic spell of death bowling from Ronsford Beaton set up the win for the visitors when it looked as though all hope was lost, with Smith combining with Shoaib Malik in the biggest partnership of this year’s tournament.
A fantastic opening stand between Lendl Simmons and Martin Guptill got the visitors off to a brilliant start. Simmons was timing the ball superbly from the very start of his innings as he hit four sixes, two of which cleared the roof of the Kensington Oval stands. When he fell, he had made 64 off 40 balls, and while he was at the crease, it looked like the Amazon Warriors were going to set a massive total. When he lost his wicket, his side had already reached triple figures in the twelfth over.
Guptill was happy to play the supporting role while Simmons was hitting the ball so well, the issue was that he struggled to take up the baton. As Guptill continued to work the ball around, wickets fell at the other end. The chief destroyer for the Tridents was spinner, Jeevan Mendis. He picked up the wickets at a run a ball for his first three overs as the Amazon Warriors lost the wickets of Ramdin, Jimmy Neesham and Christopher Barnwell in the space of 17 balls for the addition of just 18 runs. The brakes were applied superbly by the Tridents and the strangle was on with the Amazon Warriors finding it difficult to break free.
All of that changed with the arrival of Mohammad Hafeez. He struck his first ball for four and raced along at a strike rate of over 300. He took 14 runs off the last Mendis over to ruin his otherwise excellent figures. He finished with 30 off just 10 balls to give his team a total that they could defend.
Guptill finished undefeated on 55 off 51 balls in an innings that never really went from steady to explosive. The final score of 174 was reasonable, but far less than the Amazon Warriors should have achieved after such an excellent start. With Sunil Narine still absent, the Guyanese would have worried that the go slow in the middle of the innings meant that they did not have enough runs to play with. They were perhaps 15 runs shy of feeling confident.
The visitors could well have got off to the best possible start. In the very first over, Dwayne Smith edged a ball from Hafeez only for it to be dropped by Ramdin. In the next over, Krishmar Santokie picked up the wicket of Shane Dowrich, caught in the covers. It could have been two in two for Santokie had Ramdin not dropped another edge, this time from Shoaib Malik. It was a much more difficult chance diving to his right, but a keeper of Ramdin’s class should have taken it.
Both drops proved extremely costly as Smith and Malik put together a partnership of 148 that seemed to have their side cruising to victory. Malik was on 50 when he called Smith through for a run that just wasn’t there to see himself short of his ground thanks to a direct hit. Despite the loss of the well set Malik, at that stage, the Tridents were cruising to victory.
Ronsford Beaton had limped off injured after bowling just two of his allocation. When he returned to bowl the eighteenth over, he produced two overs that won this game. Dwayne Smith was well on his way to yet another T20 hundred, his second of this year’s CPL, and the home side still had eight wickets in hand. As he began his third over, the Tridents needed just 22 runs off 18 balls. The game was there for the taking by the Bajans, who were fiercely proud of their 100% home record in the CPL. Smith cut his first ball away for four.
From that point onwards, Beaton conceded just five runs in 11 balls, including the wicket of Kieron Pollard and a superb run out of Mendis that was all his own work as he swooped on the ball in his follow through. Having taken the blame in his team’s last game when he bowled a ball that was too short and was hit for six by Darren Bravo, he showed immense character to come back in this match to produce the game's defining performance. More importantly, the Amazon Warriors proved to the other teams in the tournament that they are capable of winning matches without the brilliance of Narine.