Spinners take Guyana Amazon Warriors to the top

Guyana Amazon Warriors continue to keep pace with Trinbago Knight Riders as their spin attack dismantled the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots at Warner Park, bowling out the hosts for 121 in 19 overs before romping past the target in a seven-wicket win last Saturday night.

Qais Ahmad was Man of the Match

Spinners accounted for seven of the first eight wickets to fall, a run out by Imran Tahir producing the other, before Keemo Paul wiped out the tail in a dominant bowling effort. Brandon King then clattered a rapid 49 in the Powerplay as half the target was knocked off by the end of the sixth over. Shoaib Malik and Nicholas Pooran picked up the slack scoring an unbeaten 24 and 18 respectively to take Amazon Warriors over the line with 25 balls to spare.

Amazon Warriors’ strategy of opening with spin from both ends has flummoxed opposition early in CPL 2019 and this match was no different. After struggling to get Chandrapaul Hemraj’s left-arm spin away in the first over, Devon Thomas was defeated by a skiddy delivery from Chris Green to start the second. Laurie Evans had done well to negotiate Green, Hemraj and Tahir through the rest of the Powerplay until the final ball when he tried to take on Tahir’s arm from short fine leg and was run out with a direct hit at the striker’s end for 26.

It proved to be a pivotal moment as Qais Ahmad was soon whittling through the line-up. Mohammad Hafeez, who was brought in to open in place of Evin Lewis after the local star was injured playing football in warm-ups, couldn’t get the elevation on a drive against Qais and picked out Shimron Hetmyer at long-off for 14.

Tahir then struck twice in the ninth, first trapping Jason Mohammed playing down the wrong line for 4 before Dominic Drakes top-edged a slog sweep that fell safely into the hands of Qais at midwicket in the ring for 2. Shamarh Brooks tried his best to counter-attack scoring 34 in a 44-run stand with Fabian Allen but eventually fell skying a drive to Hetmyer off Qais. Qais took his third three balls later when Allen fell sweeping to Keemo Paul at deep square leg, helping him earn Player-of-the-Match honours.

Green came back to knock over Joseph for the eighth wicket, skying a catch to King at point. By this stage captain Carlos Brathwaite was running out of partners and tried to take on Paul but only managed to find Green at long-on. Two balls later, Paul had his second to end the innings with one over to spare when he lunged to his left to pull off a sharp return catch off Cottrell. After the run-fest between the Knight Riders and Jamaica Tallawahs 24 hours earlier, Patriots’ performance looked especially limp.

Brandon King, 24-year-oldAmazon Warriors right-hander, just missed out on what would have been his second career T20 fifty. But King still did more than plenty to deflate what hope Patriots might have had of defending the meagre target by striking his 49 at better than 200.