Guyana Amazon Warriors made it sixth time lucky as they secured their first Caribbean Premier League T20 title with a comprehensive nine-wicket rout of the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) at the National Stadium in Providence, Guyana, last night.
Riding on the backs of a brilliant spell from South African pacer and Man-of-the-Match Dwaine Pretorius, who bagged four wickets for 26 runs, the Warriors steamrolled TKR for a miserly 94 before securing their massive victory to the delight of their flag-waving home fans.
With Warriors having failed to take the title in five previous tries, South African-born Imran Tahir, in his first season as skipper at the age of 44, finally led the team to the coveted CPL title and on home soil at that.
TKR skipper Kieron Pollard and his team, meanwhile, were left with the heartbreak of a missed opportunity to secure a fifth title in what was their fifth appearance in a final in the competition’s 11 season.
Speaking during the medal ceremony, Tahir said, “Great experience in playing for this beautiful franchise and playing for these beautiful people who always come and support us. Coming into the competition, I think everyone sending jokes that I become a captain, so I think those things motivated me so I actually want to thank the people who said that.”
He also thanked his family, the players and their families for their support throughout the season.
On his team’s loss meanwhile, Pollard said he was not disappointed by the players’ efforts this season, noting that they finished sixth last season.
“We were beaten by the better team today, Guyana, so well played to Guyana, I think they played well, they played consistent cricket throughout the tournament and they’re deserved winners tonight.”
In the Warriors’ run chase, Player of the Tournament Shai Hope and Saim Ayub steered the Warriors to glory with an unbroken 84-run second-wicket partnership after spinner Akeal Hosein got the only breakthrough for TKR with the wicket of pinch-hitter Keemo Paul (11) in the third over.
After that, TKR skipper Pollard tried a steady dose of spin but could not prise out any more Warriors wickets.
Ayub eventually sealed the Warriors’ win with a six off the last ball of the 14th over from pacer Ali Khan to finish on a well-played unbeaten 52, including five sixes and two fours. Hope was also unbeaten on 32 at the end.
Earlier, the Warriors got just the start they hoped for as they removed TKR openers Mark Deyal and Chadwick Walton inside the power play while restricting their scoring.
Deyal was bowled off an apparent inside edge as he tried to pull a delivery off pacer Pretorius in the 3rd over with the score on 24. Four balls later, Walton adjudged lbw to a delivery that kept low off Sheppard as TKR slipped to 29-2.
It was, however, to get even worse.
Skipper Tahir turned to his slower bowlers, introducing left-arm orthodox specialist Gudakesh Motie, who brought immediate results with a double-wicket strike in the seventh over.
First, he removed the prized wicket of TKR skipper Pollard, who was caught at deep mid-wicket by Saim Ayub for a duck after he tried to launch the spinner over the ropes to leave the men in red tottering at 42-4. With just two runs added, Akeal Hosein then played an injudicious shot and managed only to sky an easy catch to Hetmyer at long-off.
Tahir himself then ensured there would be no TKR recovery two and a half overs later when he removed their last hope by outfoxing the big-hitting Andre Russell into skying a slog sweep into the safe hands of Pretorius at mid-on.
After that, there was a steady procession of wickets as none of the TKR batters seemed interested in at least playing out the 20 overs. Pretorius put the icing on the cake with another double-wicket strike in the 16th over, which brought him the scalps of Sunil Narine (1) and Ali Khan (1) and started the party in the stands among the Warriors fans earlier than would have been expected.
Motie and Tahir were very economical with 2/7 and 2/8 respectively, as TKR were eventually routed for an embarrassing 94 in 18.1 overs.
Trinbago Knight Riders 94 (18.1) (Keacy Carty 38, Mark Deyal 16, Dwaine Pretorius 4/26, Gudakesh Motie 2/7, Imran tahir 2/8) v Guyana Amazon Warriors 99-1 (14) (Saim Ayub 52 no, Shai Hope 32 n/o, Akeal Hosein 1/21)