Providence, Guyana: The Guyana Amazon Warriors brushed aside the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel in the Hero Caribbean Premier League thanks to a brilliant innings of 65 not out from Lendl Simmons and four wickets from Marchant De Lange. The Guyanese spinners also played their part as they restricted the Red Steel to just 117-8 off their 20 overs. The Red Steel really struggled to come to terms with the slow nature of the Providence pitch as the Amazon Warriors made full use of home advantage to secure second place in the table.
The Red Steel won the toss and chose to bat first. While all of the talk ahead of this fixture was about how well the spin bowlers would perform on this dry Providence surface, it was quick man Marchant De Lange that collected the hugely important wicket of Jacques Kallis. The South African all-rounder edged the ball behind to the keeper for just three runs.
Javon Searles came in at first drop but he never really got going as he made it to six off nine balls before he too fell to the bowling of De Lange, caught off a leading edge in the covers. De Lange claimed his third wicket when, in-form batsman, Darren Bravo edged a lifting delivery through to the keeper.
While there were wickets falling at the other end, Cameron Delport was putting together a hugely important innings. While none of the top order got into double figures or managed a strike rate of over a run a ball, Delport made 44 runs off 30 balls. He lost his wicket in unlikely fashion when he attempted to cut the part time spin of Brad Hodge through the off side only to be well caught by Simmons.
With Delport’s departure the Red Steel run rate plummeted, scoring at just four an over in the aftermath of his dismissal. After a first over that went for nine runs, Sunil Narine returned brilliantly as the rest of his spell cost just eight runs. He combined with his fellow spinners, Devendra Bishoo and Veerasammy Permaul, as they choked the Red Steel innings.
The only man to join Delport with a double figure score was Johan Botha who made 22 runs from 33 balls before he chopped the ball on to his stumps off Bishoo. De Lange returned for the final over and picked up his fourth wicket, a stunning performance on a pitch that didn’t suit his bowling as the Red Steel set a target of 118.
The Red Steel’s efforts to defend that total could have got off to the best possible start. Simmons drove the ball in the air off Derone Davis and it should have been caught by Dwayne Bravo but the ball burst through his fingers. Simmons punished the Red Steel straight away by striking seven boundaries inside the Powerplay, including one massive six that smashed the press box windows.
While Simmons was going brilliantly, at the other end Assad Fudadin was finding scoring very difficult. At the end of the six over Powerplay the Amazon Warriors were 47-0 and Fudadin had just six of those runs. Luckily for Fudadin, Simmons was taking all the pressure off him as he made his highest score of this season’s Hero CPL.
Simmons appeared to get lucky again when, on 43, a ball that looped into the hands of Botha was adjudged to be a bump ball when the replays suggested otherwise.
Fudadin was eventually out when he pull a ball off Dwayne Bravo to Kevon Cooper at mid-wicket. He had made nine runs out of a partnership of 54. Denesh Ramdin came in at the fall of the first wicket, but he too struggled to get going. He had made just five when he was stumped off a wide from Johan Botha.
As with Delport in the Red Steel innings, Simmons was struggling to find someone that could keep him company. That problem was solved when, T20 veteran, Brad Hodge arrived at the crease. His 33 was the perfect foil for Simmons efforts as the Amazon Warriors got home with 18 balls to spare.
This win means that the Barbados Tridents are confirmed as the table toppers after the group stage meaning they qualify automatically for Sunday’s final, with the Amazon Warriors in second. The Red Steel will now face the Appleton Estate Jamaica Tallawahs in the eliminator match on Thursday at Queen’s Park Oval at 6pm (EST). The winner of that match will face the Amazon Warriors for a place in the final.