Guyana Amazon Warriors 148/4 (Hetmyer 79*, Green 25*, Lamichhane 2/12, Cottrell 2/21) beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 146/5 (Gayle 86, Cutting 15, Cooper 15, Paul 2/16, Tanvir 1/24) by six wickets with 21 balls remaining
By Clifton Ross
A brutal half-century from Shimron Hetmyer steered the Guyana Amazon Warriors to a thumping 6-wicket win over the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in Thursday evening’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) sold out, opening game played at the Providence National Stadium, Guyana.
A packed Providence Stadium was treated to a fine victory by their home team who got off to a win in their first of three home games. Hetmyer, who is fresh off a ton at Providence in last week’s ODI series versus Bangladesh, hammered his maiden Hero CPL fifty which helped the Warriors gun down the Patriots 146-5 to end on 148-4 in 16.3 overs.
Hetmyer imposed himself early as he scorched an unbeaten 79 from 45 deliveries which included 9 fours and four sixes, sharing an unbeaten, match-winning 62-run partnership with Aussie Chris Green who ended on unbeaten on 25. Patriots were indebted to spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (2-12) and Windies left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell (2-21).
It was an innings built around the power-hitting and subtlety of Captain Chris Gayle who finessed 86 off 65 with seven fours and five monster sixes. His innings was the cornerstone of the Patriots 146-5 in 20 overs.
Guyana and Windies all-rounder Keemo Paul was the Warriors star with ball, grabbing 2-16 while a wicket each from overseas trio of Chris Green, Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir helped seal off a reasonable bowling outing.
After being clobbered for a few fours by his countryman Chadwick Walton (09), Cottrell rebounded in a major way as he ripped the stumps of Luke Ronchi for a duck. Lamichhane soon got into the action when he removed Walton who was easily caught at mid-on by Ben Cutting to leave Guyana reeling at 9-2.
Warriors Captain Shoaib Malik (14), opened up his account with a trifecta of eye-catching fours off Cottrell before the West Indies fast-bowler produced a beauty to remove the Pakistani who was caught behind by glove-man Devon Thomas.
The in-form Hetmyer announced himself in the middle with a four and two thumping sixes off spinner Tom Cooper. He then clobbered his former Windies U19 teammate Alzarri Joseph for a six and two fours to help the Warriors speed to 61 inside the 5th over.
Hetmyer took his score into the 40’s as the scoreboard kept ticking towards the total but the same could not be said about his then partner Jason Mohamed (16) who hit a four and a six and seemed to be looking decent before gifting his wicket to Lamichhane. A tuck for two through mid-wicket would see the Windies star batsman reaching his first CPL fifty.
Green and Hetmyer prolonged the frustration with the Patriots bowlers having to toil as the boundaries continued to flow from both ends. Hetmyer continued to bat in assault mode, hammering Cutting for two fours and a six as he raced into the 70’s.
The final nail in the coffin was put in by Hetmyer who whacked one straight down the ground off Joseph as he and Green celebrated the Warriors first win of the tournament.
Earlier in the match, it was Green who drew first blood for the Warriors when he knocked over left-hander Evin Lewis for 1 in the fourth over. Gayle seemed unflustered as he continued to find the ropes while Tahir was the victim of the World Boss’ first six; a thumping blow over long-on.
The Patriots reached their 50-run mark in the inside 10 overs with Gayle looking dangerous and Cooper (15) now finding his feet. Green came into some punishment in his final over, being taken for four by the Dutchman before Gayle smashed back-to-back sixes over the long-on region.
Cooper got a life thanks to Sherfane Rutherford who spilled a catch in the deep after a top-edge off Rayad Emrit. His luck would then run out when he fell LBW to Paul which left the Patriots two down. Gayle, who went past 11, 500 T20 runs with his six off Green’s final ball a few overs prior, then reached fifty with a single to which he humbly acknowledged with a brief raise of the bat.
Tahir was again dispatched for a six a few meters away from the Party Stand with Gayle looking to motor-on as the overs were near expiration. Emrit was the next to be launched back over his head by the big left-hander. Cutting smashed Tanvir for a six in the 17th over but had his stumps cleaned up the very next delivery.
The South African leggy then got his revenge, bagging the big wicket of Gayle who mistimed a shot and was caught by Rutherford in the deep, leaving Brathwaite (5) and Brandon King (01) stranded.
Guyana will look to make it two-in-two when they tackle the St Lucia Stars on Saturday from 16:00h at Providence.