Friday 3rd July – Basseterre, St Kitts – The Guyana Amazon Warriors secured their first win of this season’s Hero Caribbean Premier League with a comprehensive victory over St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at Warner Park. Some superb bowling from the Amazon Warriors’ spinners and destructive hitting from Denesh Ramdin and Lendl Simmons was enough for them to brush aside their opponents with ease. Ramdin, a new father this week, celebrated the birth of his son with an unbeaten 54 as he made the chase look very easy.
The Patriots started well as Martin Guptill, an Amazon Warriors player last season, combined with Evin Lewis to build an opening partnership off 66 in 9.3 overs and lay an excellent platform. Lewis was the first man to go when he was well caught by Brad Hodge off the bowling of Ronsford Beaton.
In an interesting move by Ramdin, left arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul opened the bowling and completed his entire allocation in one spell. His four overs cost 35 runs, which represented a reasonable return for a spinner with the new ball.
As ever, Sunil Narine was the pick of the Guyana bowlers, bowling a maiden in his first over as he again made it very difficult for batsmen to score. He bowled Guptill with a ball that the New Zealander tried to sweep. The very next ball Narine picked up the wicket of Orlando Peters, who also attempted an ill-advised sweep shot to a ball that turned the other way – trapping him LBW.
Shahid Afridi was sent up the order in an attempt to give the innings some much needed impetus, but the experiment failed when the Pakistani all-rounder skied a catch off Devendra Bishoo to cover. Bishoo became the second bowler to take two wickers in two balls when a frustrated Marlon Samuels charged the spinner, only to be smartly stumped. Tonito Willett also fell to spin when he played a lazy shot off Tillakaratne Dilshan, departing for just nine. Having been 83-1, the Patriots had lost five wickets for 20 runs.
A rebuilding effort of sorts took place between Carlos Brathwaite and Sohail Tanvir, who gave their side a total of some respectability. Braithwaite’s innings of 23 off 11 balls included three sixes and was vital in setting a target of 150. While it could have been a lot worse, it still looked a long way under par.
The Amazon Warriors got off to a sedate start to their chase, but Simmons should have been run out when he was only on five. He hit the ball to mid-wicket and set off for a non-existent run but Samuels missed with the throw. However, the Patriots got a breakthrough just two balls later when Dilshan mistimed a pull to Willett at fine leg.
Simmons got some luck again on 21 when he drove the ball in the air off Brathwaite. Willett timed his jump to perfection but the ball burst through his fingers. Simmons gave yet another chance on 25 when he pulled the ball into the legside but a despairing dive from Brathwaite wasn’t enough to claim the catch.
Eventually Simmons’ good fortune run out when he attempted to hit Tabraiz Shamsi down the ground for six, only to find Sheldon Cottrell on the boundary – dismissed for 41 off 33 balls. The big fast bowler celebrated with his customary salute, clearly delighted to finally see the back of last year’s leading scorer.
South African spinner Shamsi was a little unfortunate to finish with figures of 1-25 as both Hodge and Ramdin struggled to read his variations. He showed real promise in this spell and on another day could have gone for half the runs and picked up twice the wickets.
After Simmons’ departure, Ramdin picked up where the opener had left off and the Guyana captain was brutal in his treatment of Afridi in particular. He hit four consecutive sixes off the leg-spinner as Afridi’s final over cost 28 runs. At the end of those six balls the game was over as a contest, with the required rate having plummeted to less than four an over.
Hodge joined in the six hitting action as he top edged a Hero Maximum off Cottrell and followed it with another six pulled over long leg. Hodge went for one six too many when he was brilliantly caught by Willett, but it was too little too late for the Patriots.
Having struggled to get their first win on the board, the Amazon Warriors will be delighted with such a comprehensive victory in St Kitts. For the Patriots this isn’t the first time their middle order has folded and this will need to be worked on as the tournament progresses.