By Peter Della Penna
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 124 for 6 (Brathwaite 31, Carter 29*) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 123 for 7 (Walton 60) by four wickets
(ESPNcricinfo) Carlos Brathwaite channeled his World T20 heroics from Kolkata, producing a superb late cameo to lift St Kitts and Nevis Patriots past Guyana Amazon Warriors by four wickets in a low-scoring affair in Lauderhill. A sluggish pitch in the opening American affair of CPL 2017 produced an attritional contest that saw Patriots chase a target of 124 with an over to spare.
Chadwick Walton accounted for nearly half the runs in the Amazon Warriors’ total of 123 for 7, but a decisive double-wicket maiden by Sheldon Cottrell in the final over of Guyana’s innings denied the Warriors momentum. Rayad Emrit took 2 for 3, including a wicket-maiden in his first two overs, to helped keep Patriots in check early in the chase but Brathwaite took control with a top-score of 31 off 19 balls before Jonathan Carter’s unbeaten 29 secured victory.
Patriots bowlers were framed with hands on heads early and often in the first innings as three catches were shelled, nearly all of them straightforward with Brathwaite central to the plot. In the second over, Walton was on 1 when Samuel Badree induced an aerial drive to Brathwaite on the circle at mid-off but the knee-high chance clanged off the heel of his hands. Brathwaite also had Babar Azam dropped twice off his bowling in the 11th and 13th overs.
Captain Martin Guptill said on the eve of the tournament that Walton’s sharp cricket brain impressed him. Walton sized up the pitch quickly, recognizing that batting was a grind. After his early life, he set a base with singles before launching in the final few overs.
He was on 44 when he drove Badree for a straight six to bring up his 50 off 44 balls and then connected with another terrific inside-out lofted cover drive for six later in the over. His knock at least gave his bowlers something to aim at.
Cottrell’s military maiden
The Amazon Warriors entered the final over on 122 for 4 and were eyeing a strong finish after Walton set a strong platform. But Sheldon Cottrell produced a magnificent six deliveries which resulted in three wickets and a stolen bye off the final ball as the only run.
The over started with Walton slashing to third man to end his innings. Two balls later, Carter produced a spectacular diving catch on the run to remove Keemo Paul.
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Brathwaite has struggled at times to fulfill the expectations placed on him in the 18 months since his seminal world-title winning cameo for West Indies. In that chase against England, he thrived towards the final few overs of the innings. Though the task wasn’t as daunting as the 49 off 27 balls against England that day, things were looking shaky for Patriots when he entered at 57 for 5 in the 11th over with 67 needed to win.
Brathwaite revived the Patriots with a crucial 31 off 19, getting off the mark with a six off Veerasammy Permaul in the 12th over. He targeted the left-arm spinner twice more in the 14th, clearing midwicket first before going straight for his third six in the space of nine balls to bring the equation down to a run-a-ball before Carter and Mohammad Nabi took over to clinch victory.