A four –wicket haul from Imran Tahir and an attractive 20-ball 37 from Sohail Tanvir saw the Guyana Amazon Warriors beating the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on Tuesday night in match 19 of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) by four wickets with one ball to spare at Warner Park.
Asked to make 169 for victory, the Amazon Warriors got over the line with one ball to spare after some anxious moments, in a start stop run chase, in a highly competitive match to begin the Patriots leg of five home matches in St Kitts.
Chadwick Walton was first to go after facing 17 balls while his opening partner Luke Ronchi was more productive in hitting two fours and two sixes in his 16-ball knock before the Patriots fought back through seamers Sheldon Cottrell, Ben Cutting and Carlos Brathwaite.
Jason Mohammed and Shimron Hetmyer consolidated but, with the good bowling resulting in the rising required run rate, they perished leaving the 33-year-old Tanvir to bring home the victory. Along the way Tanvir got assistance from Roshon Primus and Chris Green. With Green they scored the final 20 runs needed from 12 balls to ease the anxiety.
Earlier, the Warriors with four changes to the team that lost to the St Lucia Stars last Friday at the Darren Sammy Stadium, opted to bowl after new captain Rayad Emrit won the toss.
Emrit, who took over from Shoaib Malik who is back in Pakistan to prepare for the Asia Cup, was scratching his head after Patriots openers Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis cut loose after getting a feel of the wicket.
The pair were watchful for the first three overs but in Green’s second over and fourth of the match they began to open their shoulders. The lanky off-spinner who shared the new ball with Tanvir, after rejoining the Amazon Warriors squad following Malik’s departure, went for 11 runs that saw the hosts moving from 12 without loss after three overs to 23 after four as the Gayle-force arrived.
The Patriots captain launched an assault on Tanvir in the next over that went for 24 runs which was followed by 15 runs in the sixth, Emrit’s first, which saw the home team ending the power play at 62 without loss.
Green was brought back and kept Gayle and Lewis quiet as they were contented taking six singles in the seventh over before Keemo Paul was handed the ball. Paul who missed the previous game then tested Gayle with a bombardment of short balls before the ‘Universal Boss’ guided one straight into the waiting hands of Cameron Delport at backward point which opened a gap wide enough for the Amazon Warriors to get back into the game.
After the initial breakthrough, Imran Tahir was called into play and immediately stepped up to the plate when Lewis slashed hard and got a leading edge to short third man at 73/2 as the Patriots had now lost two wickets for two runs in six balls.
Brandon King and Devon Thomas who rescued the Patriots against the Barbados Tridents in their previous match then saw their team to the half-way stage at 78/2 before Tahir took off again.
First ball after the interval, King was trapped on the crease to a quicker and fuller ball that beat bat and pad as Tahir rearranged the stumps and took off celebrating his win, typical Tahir style, to send the crowd in uproar.
Thomas stuck around for a while before becoming Tahir’s third victim of the night at 97/4 as the hosts lost four wickets for 26 runs in five overs and were steering down the barrel.
Roshon Primus in his first game of the season trapped Tom Cooper LBW with the third ball he sent down in this year’s tournament before Anton Devcich flung his bat towards the backend of the innings.
Tahir then became the joint second leading wicket taker in the tournament when he accounted for Mahmudullah after the Bangladeshi added 22 with Devcich.
Tahir and Oshane Thomas have 11 victims each, two behind Andre Russell.
When Tanvir bowled Devcich at 144/7 with one over to go, Ben Cutting and Carlos Brathwaite then assaulted Emrit and took 24 runs off of the final over to go into the second half of the match with momentum.
Emrit went wicket-less for 55 runs from his full quota of four overs while Paul who only sent down two overs for seven runs was confined to the boundary.
The Patriots had an enforced change as Sandeep Lamichhane went back to Nepal for international duties and Hayden Walsh Jr got his first game while Jason Mohammed, Green, Paul and Primus found themselves in the Warriors side at the expense of Malik, Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul and Sherfane Rutherford.
The tournament continues on Wednesday with match 20 in Barbados when the Tridents host the Jamaica Tallawahs from 20:00h while the Amazon Warriors, with eight points in second place to the Trinbago Knight Riders, will next take on the Tridents on Friday at the Kensington Oval.
The Patriots who remain on six points will continue with their home matches when they take on bottom of the table Stars on Thursday. (John Ramsingh)