The Guyana Amazon Warriors continued to match the Trinbago Knight Riders stride for stride in this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League on Saturday night.
Less than 24 hours after TKR routed the Jamaica Tallawahs by 41 runs in Kingston s to go top of the six-team table with eight points, the Warriors crushed the St Kitts Nevis Patriots at Warner Park by seven wickets to return to the top of the table on a better net run rate.
After leg-spinners Qais Ahmad, Imran Tahir and off-spinner Chris Green completely bamboozled the home team’s batsmen to skittle them out for 121 inside 20 overs, opener Brandon King then blasted a rapid 47 to set the foundation the Warriors needed to cruise to their fourth straight victory.
With a small total on the board, King seemed to have plans for after the match, as he hit seven fours, three sixes and shared in a 64-run opening partnership with Chandrapul Hemraj which knocked the fight out of the Patriots and their fans.
King was particularly severe on pacer Sheldon Cottrell, who was back from injury, hitting him for one maximum and three fours in just the third over of the innings. He also belted left-arm orthodox spinner Fabian Allen for two maximums and a four in the first over he saw from him, just the fifth of the innings, as Patriots skipper Carlos Brathwaite tried desperately to break the partnership.
King’s innings finally came to an end when he flicked Mohammad Hafeez behind square and took off for a run, only to see Hemraj send him back after Jason Mohammed collected and sent a return to wicket-keeper Devon Thomas to execute a run out. Patriots may have been dreaming of a comeback when the in-form Shimron Hetmyer was out eight balls later, hitting Hafeez straight down long-off Laurie Evans’ throat to be dismissed for one with the score on only 66-2.
But the Warriors would not be denied on this night and Hemraj added 20 more runs with skipper Shoaib Malik before he was out for a well-played 22, to ensure there would be no fightback. Nicholas Pooran (18 no) was with Malik at the close.
Earlier, Green, Ahmad and Tahir mesmerised the batsmen, taking seven wickets between themselves, with Tahir also running out the in-form Glenn Phillips to signal the home side’s fate on the night.
Already without the hard-hitting Evin Lewis through injury in the warm-ups just before the match, Patriots were set on the back foot early on when off-break bowler Green got the dangerous Devon Thomas for just one. Having been pegged down in the first over from Chandrapaul Hemraj, Thomas tried to break the shackles with a flick off the back foot from the first ball he saw from Green and lost his off stump with the score on just one.
Paul, Hemraj and Tahir then combined to stifle Patriots skipper Mohammad Hafeez and Laurie Evans in the first four powerplay overs. Needless, to say, when pacer Keemo Paul was brought into the action in the sixth over, the Patriots batsmen tried to up the ante.
Off the last ball of Paul’s first over, however, Hafeez flicked straight to the veteran Tahir at short fine leg. Evans called Hafeez through for a quick single but Tahir, 45, picked up cleanly, rifled the ball at the stumps and hit it dead on one bounce off the turf as Patriots slipped to 36 for two. Evans, who had provided impetus at the top when the Patriots needed it in previous matches, hit 26 including four fours.
The situation got even worse in the eighth over when Ahmad drew Hafeez (14) down the wicket for a lofted drive which was caught at long-off by Hetmyer, the Patriots slumping to 47 for three.
Tahir then blew the match wide open with a double strike in the ninth over. First, he got Jason Mohammed (4) to play down the wrong line and trapped him plumb in front his wicket with his first delivery. After the incoming Dominic Drakes was dropped by Hetmyer on duck, Tahir got his man two balls later when he skied a googly and was taken by Ahmad coming in from midwicket as Patriots collapsed to 53 for five.
After that, Patriots were in survival mode until the 16th over when Ahmad produced a double strike of his own. He got Shamarh Brooks (34) caught by Hetmyer at long-off for off the first ball and off his fourth he got the dangerous Fabian Allen (16) caught by Paul at back square-leg after he mistimed a sweep.
Patriots limped to 107 for seven at the end of that over and were dismissed 13 runs later as Paul got into the act with the wickets of Patriots skipper Carlos Brathwaite (3) and Sheldon Cottrell, a brilliant caught and bowled effort, in the penultimate over
ST KITTS NEVIS PATRIOTS 121 all out (Laurie Evans 26, Shamarh Brooks 36, Qais Ahmad 3/28, Imran Tahir 2/17, Chris Green 2/28, Keemo Paul 2/24) v GUYANA AMAZON WARRIORS 122-3 (Brandon King 49, Shoaib Malik 24 no, Chandrapaul Hemraj 22, Rayad Emrit 1/15)
Result: GUYANA AMAZON WARRIORS WON BY 7 WICKETS
Man-of-the-Match: Qais Ahmad