A lively Providence crowd were treated to a thrilling home victory in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League match between Guyana Amazon Warriors and the Red Steel. The game went to super over as it ebbed and flowed throughout. While there were some brilliant spells from spinners on both sides, the hero was the Red Steel’s 18 year old wicket keeper Nicolas Pooran. He played without fear and with excellent timing with the bat, but then dropped a catch off the last ball as the Amazon Warriors scampered two runs for the tie. Pooran was then bamboozled in the one over decider delivered by Sunil Narine as he failed to place bat on ball until the fifth ball which saw him caught in the deep.
The effective Amazon Warriors bowling attack were quick to put the Red Steel batsmen in a choke hold on a pitch that turned appreciably from the very first over. Even the gentle off spin of Mohammad Hafeez was beating the edge of the bat. Narine, not normally a massive turner of the ball, was getting it to talk. Fresh from recording the most economical spell of bowling in the history of Twenty20 cricket in the last game the Trinidadian caused massive problems here against his former team mates from his days as a Trinidad & Tobago player.
In challenging conditions and against superb bowling, 22 year old Evin Lewis made 39 runs off 51 balls. While a strike rate of 76 is not normally the order of the day in T20, without the efforts of Lewis the Red Steel could have been skittled out for under 100.
The ball was difficult to time on a surface that was slow and low, but the Red Steel’s teenage wicketkeeper Pooran managed to find a way to clear the ropes. With his teammates struggling to go at a run a ball, Pooran was going along at a strike rate of over 200, even smashing his very first ball for six. He managed to score runs off Narine when no one else could get him off the square. When he fell for 37 off 17 balls to the bowling of Krishmar Santokie he had taken his team to a competitive total that seemed unlikely for the majority of their 20 overs.
At the mid innings break the Red Steel would have been looking for their spinners to do a similar job to that performed by the Amazon Warriors tweakers. When Sulieman Benn struggled for control in his first over some alarm bells would have rung, but the introduction of Samuel Badree allowed the visitors to begin to hope of defending this small target.
Badree removed Hafeez with his fourth ball and Leon Johnson in his next over to bring Red Steel into the game. When he then picked up the wicket of Jimmy Neesham thanks to an excellent stumping from Pooran his side become favourites with the Amazon Warriors struggling at 43 for five.
While the carnage took place at the other end Lendl Simmons seemed to be playing a steady knock that could steer the Amazon Warriors to victory. He looked as comfortable as anyone apart from Pooran until he played around a full, straight ball from Benn that bowled him for 32.
Simmons’ departure brought together Christopher Barnwell and Narine who managed to keep the Amazon Warriors within touching distance. Barnwell may have felt that he was destined to take his team home when he was dropped by Dwayne Bravo in the 19th over. As it was he departed the very next ball, caught in the deep by Kevin O’Brien.
With 12 runs needed off the last over few would have backed the Amazon Warriors lower order to get close. Then Fidel Edwards fumbled a ball that spun past him to the boundary to even things up. As the last ball was bowled three were needed for the win. Ronsford Beaton skied a top edge that the unfortunate Pooran dropped what could have been a wicket but ended up being two runs to tie the game up.
The super over saw Kevon Cooper restrict the Guyana side to 11 runs, nine of which were scored by Barnwell. That left the Red Steel with the same target the Amazon Warriors had in the 20th over of their innings, 12 runs to win. Pooran had the chance for redemption for his dropped catch as he faced Sunil Narine. It was not forthcoming as he failed to repeat the heroics. Narine bowled a wicket maiden super over to end a remarkable match with a home win.