Trinbago Knight Riders skipper Kieron Pollard and his teammates will have a lot of soul-searching to do today, after being humbled by the Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, in their latest Hero Caribbean Premier League matchup last night.
Set 186 for victory thanks to a late batting charge from the Warriors’ tailenders, TKR were restricted to 166-5 by the visitors’ spin combination of Chris Green, Imran Tahir and Shoaib Malik. The three Warriors spinners combined to root out the heart of the TKR batting and by the time they were done not even a fighting 112-run partnership in quick time from Pollard and Darren Bravo could save the TKR cause.
Still, the Warriors needed a brilliant penultimate over from medium-pacer Keemo Paul when Pollard and Darren Bravo were threatening to pull off what would have been a brilliant rearguard action to secure the win.
The victory was a CPL record eighth consecutive win for the unbeaten Warriors, who moved to 16 points on the six-team table. TKR (9 pts) remained in third behind the St Kitts Nevis Patriots (10 pts), but the defending champions must now be more worried about their form heading into the playoffs. Having started the season with four straight wins, last night’s loss was their third in the last four matches and both their bowling and batting just did not have the punch again last night.
But TKR can make amends to their fans tomorrow night when they host the Barbados Tridents at the same venue where, hopefully, a win in their penultimate round-robin match can boost their confidence heading into the playoffs.
The Warriors signalled their intention very early last night when leg-spinning veteran Tahir removed Mark Deyal (10), in for the injured Sunil Narine, caught behind by Nicholas Pooran in just the second over of TKR’s innings.
South African off-spinner Green then accounted for the dependable Colin Munro off the last ball of the next over, the New Zealander caught in two minds about which shot to play and eventually offered Keemo Paul a simple catch at cover point as TKR slipped to 25 for two.
Tight bowling and scoreboard pressure then led to Green’s second wicket in the seventh over, that of the in-form Lendl Simmons (16), who got a thin edge as he tried to push Green into the covers for a single to give Denesh Ramdin strike. Two overs later, Malik took the air out the Oval when he got Ramdin (4) to hole out to Shimron Hetmyer at deep midwicket as TKR tottered to 53-4.
Pollard and Bravo fought on and got close but needed 38 runs off the last two overs. And after Paul restricted them to just nine runs in the penultimate over, Tahir bowled Pollard for a 37-ball 71, which included eight fours and three sixes, to signal the end. Bravo finished unbeaten on a 45-ball 58 with six fours.
Earlier, the Warriors recovered from a very slow first half in which they crawled to 68 for one to get 117 runs in the second 10 overs and propel themselves to a competitive total. That drive was powered by some hard hitting from bowlers Romario Shepherd, who hit an unbeaten 13-ball 32, and Keemo Paul (12) in a 42-run partnership.
Dropped off Ali Khan on 15 in the 19th over by Lendl Simmons, Shepherd’s late hitting heroics helped the Warriors take 25 off the final over by debutant pacer Chris Jordan to register a total they did not think they could have mustered at the end of the 16th over.
Prior to this, Hemraj’s 42-ball 66 had stood out as the TKR bowlers made scoring tough with some fairly tight bowling. Hemraj, who got a life before he got to 50, was finally out in the 14th over when he edged a wide delivery from Javon Scantlebury-Searles to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin with the Warriors on 111-2.
Scantlebury-Searles then delivered a double strike in the 16th over as TKR got their tails up. He removed Nicholas Pooran, caught by Jordan at long-on for three and Hetmyer, who had blasted him for two fours and a six, caught by Khary Pierre at deep cover for a 38-ball 48 as the Warriors slumped to 136-4 with fours overs left.
But Shepherd then combined with Paul at the back end of the innings to give the Warriors a defendable total.
GUYANA AMAZON WARRIORS 185-6 (20) (Chandrapul Hemraj 66, Shimron Hetmyer 48, Romario Shepherd 32*, Javon Scantlebury-Searles 3/39) v TRINBAGO KNIGHT RIDERS 166-5 (20) (Kieron Pollard 71, Darren Bravo 58, Chris Green 2/18, Imran Tahir 2/32)
Result: GUYANA AMAZON WARRIORS WON BY 19 RUNS
Man-of-the-match: Romario Shepherd (GW)