Last year’s runners-up Guyana Amazon Warriors joined 2018 champions Trinbago Knight Riders on two wins from two in the early stages of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots at Providence Stadium.
Having restricted the Patriots to 153/8, thanks largely to the efforts of spin twins Shadab Khan (2/20) and Chris Green (1/18), the Warriors made light work of the chase after getting the perfect platform from openers Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj before Shimron Hetmyer showed his class to steer his side to victory with a superb unbeaten 70 from 47, including a six to seal the win.
After a watchful couple of overs to begin the chase, the innings burst into life with three boundaries from Sheldon Cottrell’s second over, and two Hero Maximums from Hemraj off Usama Mir took the score to 55/0 and the target down to double-figures by the end of the Power Play.
Hemraj departed for a lively 39 from 24 to a fine diving catch from Fabian Allen at point off Carlos Brathwaite, but that just brought Hetmyer to the middle.
Initially looking to put pressure on the fielders with hard running between the wickets, Hetmyer was soon finding the boundary regularly as the Warriors stalked their target.
Back-to-back fours off Brathwaite really got him going before a glorious shot played inside-out and on the up over extra-cover off Rayad Emrit brought four more.
He lost King for a well-compiled 27, smartly caught low down by Usama Mir at short third-man off Cottrell but Hetmyer was unfazed. He immediately pulled Cottrell away behind square-leg for a one-bounce four and went four, four, six off Alzarri Joseph in the 14th over to bring the target down to a run a ball.
From there it was a simple task for Hetmyer and the vastly experienced Shoaib Malik, the winning runs coming with eight wickets and seven balls to spare thanks to Hetmyer’s third Hero Maximum.
Unlike the Warriors, the Patriots were just never really got going in their innings – until Allen joined Devon Thomas late in the piece – despite a gift from Keemo Paul in his first over, the second of the innings.
He appeared to have reduced the Patriots to 9/1 with the final ball of the over when he rearranged Kjorn Ottley’s stumps, but replays showed he had overstepped. Not only did Ottley get a reprieve, but also a free hit to go after. That was smashed over midwicket for four with Paul having overstepped again. Another free hit and another boundary, this time flashed down to third-man off a thick outside edge.
From an apparent 9/1 off two overs, the Patriots instead found themselves 19/0. But they couldn’t capitalize. Ottley fell in the very next over, a disastrous mix-up leaving him stranded mid-pitch as Green gathered Nicholas Pooran’s throw and removed the bails.
Evin Lewis launched a Hero Maximum down the ground but was caught at square-leg off the impressive Shadab soon after.
Thomas was initially watchful but was the one Patriot able to find the boundary with some regularity. Third-man was a particularly profitable area via a combination of expertly played glides and a couple of slightly more fortunate thick edges off the luckless Paul.
Thomas dominated a 54-run stand for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez, whose patience eventually ran out when he sliced Shadab to long-off for 14 from 18 balls. Patriots skipper Brathwaite was caught at midwicket second ball pulling Paul, who this time did have something behind the front line – just.
Allen provided Thomas with decent support, though. The Patriots keeper went through to a fine half-century in spectacular style with back-to-back sixes down the ground and over midwicket off the previously unhittable Shadab – his other 22 deliveries brought just eight runs in total.
Shadab wasn’t finished, though, producing an excellent sprawling catch in the deep to end Thomas’ innings at 62 from 49 and hand Green his only wicket in a typically miserly spell – only 18 runs came from his four overs.
Allen took on the senior role, driving Romario Shepherd imperiously over extra-cover for a Hero Maximum but lost Jason Mohammed for just 4.
The final over was a good one for the Patriots despite the loss of both Allen for 33 and Mir without scoring with 17 runs coming from it. Ten of those came in the last two balls as Joseph lifted the total beyond 150 with a six over midwicket and a four belted down the ground but it never looked likely to be enough.
Guyana Amazon Warriors will come against Barbados Tridents at 17:00h at the Guyana National Stadium. The Trinbago Knight Riders will come up against St Lucia Zouks at 12:00h at Queen’s Park Oval.