Thursday 8th August 2014 – Basseterre, St Kitts. A superb hundred from the Antigua Hawksbills captain Marlon Samuels was not enough to prevent his side succumbing to their eighth defeat in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League in their match against the Guyana Amazon Warriors. Samuels played through a leg injury to score a magnificent 106 runs from 53 balls, the fastest century in CPL history. Having been set 213 runs to win, it was always a big ask for the misfiring Antiguan side, but they fought all the way until the end.
Samuels was well supported by Orlando Peters, but it was always an uphill task after the Hawksbills bowlers were smashed around the small, but picturesque Warner Park ground. The Amazon Warriors scored the highest innings total in CPL history, and the second highest in all T20 in the Caribbean as a quick pitch with true bounce played into the hands of attacking batsmen.
A wicket maiden from Gavin Tonge in the second over of the Amazon Warriors’ innings represented an excellent start from the Hawksbills. The Guyana danger man Lendl Simmons was the man to go, but from that point onwards there was not much joy for the bowlers as the Warriors pushed the run rate up to and then over ten.
The eighth over was the point where any control was lost for the Hawksbills as Miguel Cummins had an absolute horror show. His first four deliveries were no balls as he conceded 19 runs by the time he had bowled the first legal delivery. A fifth no ball took the over to 11 deliveries, but Cummins actually improved greatly in the second half of the over, conceding just four more runs. What it did mean was that he was not called on again to bowl and his allocation had to be found from elsewhere.
The remarkable thing about the Amazon Warriors was not the fact that they scored so many runs so quickly, it was that they did it with so little fuss. Martin Guptill combined with Denesh Ramdin in a partnership of 114 in less than 10 overs to set a superb platform for a mammoth total. Ramdin eventually falling for a 34 ball 51, caught in the covers off the bowling of Tonge.
Guptill made an excellent 90. His innings included six sixes, but he never had to take undue risks as some sloppy bowling and short boundaries meant he was able to clear the ropes with ease. Having looked so untroubled, his dismissal was a tame one. He scooped a slower ball from Brathwaite into the waiting hands of the man at short third man. While that could have brought a slowing of the scoring, Christopher Barnwell took up the mantle scoring 37 off just 20 balls.
Once again, the one bright light for the Hawksbills with the ball was Sheldon Cottrell. He bowled with pace and aggression as he was the only bowler that consistently found control.
In a move to try and find a decent start with the bat, the Hawksbills began with their fourth opening pair of the tournament, with Ben Dunk and David Hussey making it an all Australian affair. Both men were gone inside the Powerplay however, as the same issues that have plagued Antigua for the whole of this tournament continued. Dunk fell to an outstanding low catch by Ramdin and Hussey chopped on to his own stumps to see him bowled by Navin Stewart.
From that point onwards it was down to Marlon Samuels to play a lone hand with the experience of Hussey and Dunk gone. Danza Hyatt slightly mistimed an off drive against Veerasammy Permaul that looked to be safe until Jimmy Neesham dived full length and pulled off a magnificent catch when the ball seemed to have passed him. That brought Peters to the crease, and he stood up to be counted in the highest partnership by any side in this year’s tournament.
Peters made his best score in T20, at times outscoring his captain. Samuels pulled his groin during the innings, and that restricted the number of quick singles the batsmen could take, but both men were still able to find the boundary regularly. The issue was that they could not accelerate quite enough to chase down the large total.
This was by far the Hawksbills’ best batting performance this tournament, with Samuels leading from the front. If their bowling had not been quite so wayward, this could well have been their first win. As it was, they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
The Amazon Warriors have kept themselves in touching distance of the leaders, with automatic qualification for the final a distant yet realistic hope. The fact that Sunil Narine was back in their ranks will only increase those chances.
Denesh Ramdin, Guyana Amazon Warriors captain, said:
“The turning point for the match probably came with the partnership between Martin Guptill and I which led to posting the high total and putting pressure on the Warriors’ top order. We are pleased with the win and will probably look to improve our bowling in the next game ahead of the knockout stage. With such a good wicket and the short straight boundaries, we may need to experiment a bit more with the short ball to restrict world class batsmen on this ground.”
Marlon Samuels, Antigua Hawksbills captain, said:
“We came close today and, if I had not become injured, Orlando Peters and I would have been able to take more singles and might well have won the game. As captain it can be hard to motivate the team after so many losses this year, but we have some exciting youngsters developing which is good for the future.”