By Sean Devers
Watched a vocal and colourful crowd of close 13, 000 flag-waving fans, the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) took their first step towards reaching their fifth final when they beat the St Lucia Zouks by 13 runs in their opening game of the 2019 Hero CPL T20 last night at Providence.
Led by a cameo 38 from 22 balls with three sixes and fours from Keemo Paul, 28 from Skipper Shoib Malik and Chris Green and a 26-ball 24 from Shimron Hetymer, the Warriors recovered from 50-2 in the 10th over to reach 155-9 off 20 overs.
Obed McCoy had 4-41 from his four overs while spinner Fauaz Ahmed supported with 2-25 for the Zouks which reached 142-9 in 20 overs despite a cameo from the burly Rakeem Cornwall, who took just 14 balls for his blistering 36 with seven fours and a six and 23 from 21 balls by Najibullah Zadran.
Leg-spinner Shadab Khan followed up his 3-14 in the practice match, to bag 3-16 and got support from off-spinner Green (2-28) and Romario Shepherd (2-18). Zouks invited the Warriors to bat under a clear night sky on a track with a tinge of green on a lightning fast outfield and Brandon King got off the mark with first ball of the 15th contest between the two sides in CPL cricket by square cutting Krishmar Santokie for four before he was caught behind off Kesrick Williams for seven at 14-1.
Chanderpaul Hemraj (14) looked in good touch when he smashed Santokie gloriously over cover for the first six of the night before he was deceived by a slower ball and was taken at long-on as Perera struck at 25-2 in the 12th over.
Shimron Hetmyer, who hit a sedate 24 from 26 balls and Skipper Malik, added 47 as the Warriors were kept on a tight leash with their 50 coming up in the 10th over as they played a patient rebuilding innings after the loss of the openers.
Hetymer’s first aerial shot went to Chris Barnwell on the cover boundary before McCoy bowled Nicolas Pooran first ball as two wickets fell at 73 to leave McCoy on a hat-trick. Sherfane Rutherford (10) survived the hat-trick ball and got a couple of delightful boundaries away before he was beaten by googly from Ahmed and overbalanced as Fletcher completed the stumping to the score on 84-4.
Ahmed had Malik stumped and it was 98-6 with the Warriors in danger of losing their fifth game against the Zouks. Paul played some big shots in his 48-run stand from 21 balls with Green who smashed a fee-hit from McCoy over midwicket and added two fours in the final over to lift the Warriors beyond 150 before sacrificing himself to a run out looking for an impossible second run from the final ball of the innings to depart for 28.
Paul and Shadab were dismissed in successive balls in the final over of the innings as McCoy found himself on a hat-trick for the second time in the night. Cornwall, who made his West Indies Test debut last week, blasted 36 from just 13 balls, including a huge six over long-leg and pair of fours as Ben Laughlin was introduced before he was LBW for Green at 53-3.
Green had also removed Andre McCarthy and Shadab Khan had dismissed Andre Fletcher in his first over. Cornwall’s explosions resulted in his team being ahead of the rate but the Zouks kept losing wickets when they threatened to take control.
Najibullah Zadran hammered some entertaining boundaries in his 23 before being caught at deep square-leg off Shepherd, and Shadab had his second wicket when Barnwell lunged forward and was stumped.
The experienced Perera and Daren Sammy came together with more than 70 runs needed and Sammy hit a four and a six from Green’s final over but the boundaries dried up and the run-rate started to climb.
When Sammy and Perera fell in successive overs, both caught in the deep, the game was done.
Caribbean Premier League
TEAM M W L PT NRR
GAW 1 1 0 2 0.65
TKR 1 1 0 2 0.55
STKNP 1 0 1 0 -0.6
ZOUKS 1 0 1 0 -0.65
JT 0 0 0 0 0
BT 0 0 0 0 0
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