Sep 14, 2021 Sports
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Amazon Warriors are one win away from qualifying for their sixth final of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which is scheduled for tomorrow.
The Warriors have reached the Final in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 & 2019 and were always the Bridesmaid but never the Bride.
This year they would be aiming to clear the final hurdle but first they have to get past the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots today in the second semi-final at the Warner Park in St Kitts from 2:30pm.
Defending Champions and four times winners Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) oppose St Lucia Kings in the morning game at 10:00am in what has been a very competitive tournament.
For the first time all of the matches were played on one ground and fully vaccinated fans were allowed to enter the smallest International cricket venue in the Caribbean.
The Warriors began by beating TKR by nine runs in the opening game before losing their next two matches to the Patriots.
Warriors then defeated TKR in a super over after both teams ended on 138-9 off 20 overs before losing to Kings.
They beat Barbados Royals but lost to the same opposition in the next match before winning their last three matches to finish in second place on 12 points from six wins and four losses from 10 matches.
TKR finished at the top of the table while Patriots ended third and St Lucia Kings fourth. Jamaica Tallawahs were fifth and Barbados Royals last.
While the bowling is good with three Warriors bowlers among the top five wicket-takers, the inconsistent batting is the biggest worry.
Only once, when Mohammed Hafeez (70) and Shimron Hetymer (52) shared in 101-run second wicket, has two batsmen scored fifties in the same match.
Chanderpaul Hemraj, who featured in a 103-runs partnership for the first wicket with Brandon King who made 19, finished unbeaten 105 when the Warriors beat the Royals by nine wickets, was their only other century partnership.
However, the Warriors only managed three other half-century stands with the highest being an unbroken 67-run eight wicket partnership between Shepherd, who hit a magnificent 72 from 31 balls and Motie (5) after the pair joined forces with the Warriors on 75-7 in the last match on Sunday.
Although Hemraj became one of three centurions in the in the sixth round, he failed to reach another fifty and has 227 runs from 10 innings.
Skipper Nicolas Pooran, Warriors’ leading run-scorer with 237 runs from 10 matches including 75 in the ninth round, is the only other Warriors batsman to reach 200 runs.
Shimron Hetymer scored a responsible 54 in the Warriors’ opening win against TKR and followed it up with a wonderfully constructed and mature 52 in the third round but quickly fell back into his ‘old ways’ as his other eight innings produced just 67 runs.
Hafeez (179), Hetymer (173) and Brandon King (162) reached 150, while fast bowling all-rounders Odean Smith (117) and Romario Shepherd (108) were the only others to pass 100 runs in the team.
Pakistan International Shoib Malik has only managed 61 runs with a top score of 23 but he has played all 10 matches since wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble is the only other recognised batsman in their squad.
The Warriors’ highest score in 10 matches is 166-3 but they have only reached 150 on two other occasions, while they were skittled out for 98 against the St Lucia Kings.
Today the Warriors batsmen will have to step up collectively against a team which, under the new leadership of Dwayne Bravo, won their first five matches including both of their games against the Warriors.
Shepherd has been very impressive with both bat and ball and is tied with TKR’s Ravi Rampaul with 18 wickets despite missing two games.
The Berbician, who has won three Man-of-Match Awards, will spearhead the bowling attack and should get support from the genuinely quick Odean Smith who has 16 scalps.
Pacer Naveen-ul-Haq with eight wickets, should offer pace support to Shepherd and Smith, who could consider themselves unfortunate not to be in the T20 World Cup 19-man squad.
The spin department will be taken care of by leg-spinner Imran Tahir (13) and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie who has eight wickets with Hemraj’s useful left-arm spin, offering Pooran another spin option on what should be a good track.
The Patriots have a powerful batting line up on paper and will back on Evin Lewis who has scored an unbeaten 102 and two fifties in 343 runs. And along with Guyanese Sherfane Rutherford, who has three fifties in 226 runs, should lead the Patriots’ charge with the bat,
Keeper Devon Thomas has scored one half-century and is the other Patriots’ batsman to reach 150 runs with 196 and is also expected to play a key role with the bat.
Josh DaSilva, used as a Keeper for a few games, made a fifty on Sunday against TKR, opening the batting with Chris Gayle, who has just managed 123 runs with a highest score of 42.
The Universe Boss turns 42 on September 21 and has looked uncomfortable against quick short pitched bowling but the Warriors will be mindful of his ability to hit big sixes, while Fabian Allen and Dwayne Bravo are also capable of quick scoring on the small ground.
The Patriots bowling will be led by 23-year-old left arm fast bowler Dominic Drakes. The son of former West Indies pacer Vasbert Drakes is the Patriots leading wicket-taker with 13 victims, while pace support could come from Sheldon Cottrell and Bravo.
Left-arm spinner Allen, leggie Fawad Ahmed and 35-year-old off-spinner Jon-Russ Jaggesar should provide the spin for the host team.
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