Saturday 25th July – Port of Spain, Trinidad: The Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel secured a place in the final of the Hero Caribbean Premier League with a win over the Guyana Amazon Warriors thanks to a brilliant bowling display from Samuel Badree and yet more wickets for Dwayne Bravo. Lendl Simmons top scored for the Amazon Warriors but his half century was a lone effort as no other batsman scored more than 12. Kamran Akmal made his highest score of this year’s event for the victors as the Red Steel secured victory with nine balls to spare.
Having won the toss and elected to bat the Amazon Warriors got off to a steady start, making it to 40-1 in their Powerplay. Assad Fudadin was replaced at the top of the order by Trevon Griffith but the move was not a successful one. Griffith managed one boundary before holing out on the mid-wicket boundary for five. That brought Denesh Ramdin to the crease, but it was Lendl Simmons that was doing the run scoring.
Ramdin never got going, eventually dismissed for six runs off 15 balls when he looped a catch back to the bowler, Sulieman Benn. Things got worse for the Guyana side when the experienced Brad Hodge smashed a ball straight to the man on the square leg boundary off Samuel Badree as they lost the benefit of the Powerplay.
In an attempt to reintroduce some impetus to their flagging innings, the Amazon Warriors promoted Sunil Narine up the order, but the spin bowler lasted just two balls before he was bowled by Badree for a duck. Things got even worse for the visitors when Umar Akmal also departed for no score, caught at first slip off Benn, as they slumped to 56-5 at the halfway point of their innings.
On a pitch that was taking turn the Amazon Warriors needed to give their excellent spinners a total that they could defend and Simmons stood firm on his way to 64, the best score by a distance. The only support that he got throughout the innings was from Christopher Barnwell who made 12 before he was run out by Dwayne Bravo.
Simmons departed, run out in the 20th over, but he had at least given his team a chance. Badree finished with figures of 2-9 off his four overs and Dwayne Bravo continued his wicket taking form with two more to take his tournament tally to an incredible 28 victims.
The Amazon Warriors got to three figures, setting the Red Steel 109 to win. Jacques Kallis and Cameron Delport opened the batting and it wasn’t long before Delport was gone, bowled by Veerasammy Permaul for three.
Kamran Akmal replaced the South African opener and immediately took a liking to the Guyana seamers as he smashed five successive boundaries off David Wiese. While Akmal was motoring, at the other end Kallis was struggling, eventually departing for eight, dismissed by Devendra Bishoo.
That wicket could well have seen a collapse in the Red Steel batting line up, but Akmal and Darren Bravo found the boundary regularly. Despite there being a number of dot balls strung together by the Amazon Warriors spinners, those shots getting to the rope removed the pressure on the batsmen.
Darren Bravo fell to the bowling of Marchant de Lange when he skied a catch to long on and Akmal also departed in the next over, bowled by Narine for 45, but the match had already become a formality by that stage. The Red Steel were able to keep the risks they needed to take against the tricky Amazon Warriors spinners to a minimum.
Dwayne Bravo and Jason Mohammad knocked off the remaining runs required, but Mohammad should have departed for a two ball duck when he edged the ball to slip but the umpire turned down the appeal. Mohammad made the most of his good fortune as he guided his side to victory.
The Red Steel have gone about getting to the final the hard way, having finished third in the group stage they have needed to beat the Jamaica Tallawahs and then get past the Amazon Warriors. The Barbados Tridents qualified automatically so have not played in a week. The Red Steel have played three matches since the Tridents last took the field so will certainly not have the problem of lacking match practice, but they may be weary.
Sunday’s Hero CPL Final takes place at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain at 4:30pm (EST) and will be preceded by a Brian Lara Masterclass from the West Indies legend.