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Spotlight on: Guyana Amazon Warriors!

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By Author CPL
Three years, three play-off appearances. However, the pattern of previous Caribbean Premier League seasons continued for the Guyana Amazon Warriors with play-off elimination instead of tournament glory.
 
We review the Warriors' season, highlighting some of the key moments, players and what the franchise has to look forward to in 2016…
 
Key stats
 
Played 10 W 5 L 4 NR 1
 
Table: 2nd
 
Play-off result: 2nd play-off semi-final - LOST by 6 wickets to the Red Steel
 
Leading run-scorer: Lendl Simmons (317 runs @ 39.62)
 
Leading wicket-taker: Sunil Narine (14 wickets @ 13.78)
 
Three things that went well
 
In conditions that favoured spin bowling, the trio of Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo were simply outstanding. Combined over the six weeks, the trio sent down more than 100 overs, taking 34 wickets at an average of 16.32. While their ability to take wickets was never in question, it proved to be equally as difficult to score runs against all three, with on average each bowler only conceding around five runs an over, an astonishingly low figure in the T20 format.
 
While the bowlers led from the front, praise should also be heaped on the experienced batting trio of Lendl Simmons, Brad Hodge and Denesh Ramdin. Simmons was again in scintillating form, becoming the first batsmen in CPL history to pass 1,000 runs. There may not be a more stylish batsmen in the Caribbean. Hodge belied his 40 years to top the Amazon Warriors' averages with 298 at 42.57, while Ramdin provided the glue in the middle order with several vital contributions throughout the tournament.
 
Speaking of Ramdin, the wicketkeeper’s all-round game and leadership must also be praised. Entering the third week of the ‘Biggest Party in Sport’, the franchise’s play-off hopes looked slim, but under the expert guidance of the 30-year-old - who also became a father during the competition - the Amazon Warriors rebounded strongly in the second half of the group stage. His energy and canny tactical decisions were a fundamental factor behind their upswing in form. Behind the stumps he also shone, leading all teams with 14 dismissals.
 
What didn’t go so well
 
If Ramdin, Hodge and Simmons deserve praise, the rest of the Amazon Warriors batsmen deserve criticism for, ultimately, failing to offer the support that was needed to mount a serious title challenge. Perhaps the most telling statistic that underlines the struggles with the blade comes in the fact that the much lauded trio contributed almost two-thirds of the franchises runs in the whole tournament. Even minor contributions from the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Umar Akmal and Shiv Chanderpaul could have proved to be the difference between third and a winners' medal.
 
Away from the batting woes it’s hard to pick holes in what was another strong campaign for the Amazon Warriors. That said, three consecutive years of play-off appearances have resulted in just two victories. For a team that possesses a string of experienced members, it will be frustrating that they are yet to win the whole competition.
 
Best moment
 
In 1993, legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne delivered what has come to be known as the "Ball of the Century" to England’s Mike Gatting. Fast forward to 2015 and match 14 of the CPL to witness Devendra Bishoo deliver a ball that should be regarded in the same breath as that famous Warne delivery.
 
The helpless batsmen on this occasion was Red Steel captain Dwayne Bravo, who was confounded by the perfect leg-spinner - drifting into the batsmen, pitching outside leg-stump before hitting the top of the off-stump. If nothing else, it will be a ball that Bishoo will treasure for the rest of his life.
 
 
Season MVP
 
With no outstanding candidate and a handful of players, mentioned above, putting in consistent performances, this is a difficult award to hand out. While Ramdin led from the front, the edge just goes to the spin wizard Sunil Narine - who continues to confuse batsmen with his mystery deliveries. In helpful conditions, on several occasions the 27-year-old was almost unplayable, leading the bowling attack with 14 wickets at a measly average of 13.78.
 
The player we are going to hear more about
 
Ronsford Beaton. Playing second fiddle to the likes of the Marchant de Lange and David Wiese throughout 2015 gave the young fast bowler, from Montserrat, the chance to learn and hone his craft in the shorter format. When given the opportunity, however, he showed immense promise taking 11 wickets @ 13.54, including a sparkling 4-9 against the Tallawahs to suggest the 23-year-old will be ready to move into the spotlight in 2016.
 
What they said
 
“We fought hard and got ourselves off the bottom of the table. Reaching a semi-final was good but not good enough. Our bowling was fantastic throughout the tournament but I think our batting let us down" - Warriors captain Denesh Ramdin
 
Hopes for 2016
 
Speaking after the tournament, Ramdin made the statement that the franchise will need to “go back to the drawing board” ahead of the 2016 tournament. In truth, the Amazon Warriors will feel that they are not too far away from lifting the trophy. Undoubtedly, they will need to find extra batting depth to make the step from a play-off team to a championship unit, but if the trio of Narine, Permaul and Bishoo are kept together and remain fit and firing, the Amazon Warriors chances of lifting the CPL will remain strong.

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