(Match Report & Photo from CPLT20.com)
The Barbados Tridents’ stuttering defence of their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title finally ended as they again failed to make three figures against a well-balanced Guyana Amazon Warriors attack. Early boundaries from Chandrapaul Hemraj meant Shimron Hetmyer and Ross Taylor could take the team home in cruise control, and the Amazon Warriors ended the league stage on a roll with four wins from four.
Romario Shepherd put paid to a promising start with two wickets in two balls. Charles chipped tamely to Taylor at point, but there was nothing tame about the dismissal of pinch-hitter Rashid Khan, as a fierce pull was brilliantly caught by Brandon King who ran 20 yards to his left from deep square leg and dived full-length.
Greaves survived the hat-trick ball then closed the over with a four. Brooks hit a four off Imran Tahir but fell softly to Green, albeit with Taylor taking a good catch at short midwicket, and the Tridents reached the Powerplay at 28/3. That became 28/4 the very next ball when Tahir bowled Greaves, beating him all ends up with a googly.
Kyle Mayers launched a straight Hero Maximum off Sinclair, but was undone by wrist-spin again, skying a Tahir googly to give Hemraj an easy catch at mid-off. The implosion continued as Tridents captain Jason Holder gifted Green a catch at midwicket off the second ball after the drinks break, Shepherd the bowler, and a second poor batting effort in a row by the Tridents against the Amazon Warriors left them 39/6 after 11 overs.
Mitchell Santner and Nyeem Young milked Sinclair for eight, and while Naveen went for just one on his return, Young ended a 37 ball boundary drought with a classy Hero Maximum over off Green. Santner pulled Shepherd for four, and after 15 overs the Tridents were 65/6. Sinclair ended the mini-recovery, bowling Santner with a quicker ball and celebrating by adding an extra flip or two to his post-wicket routine.
Young should have fallen to Naveen, King making good ground on the leg-side again but this time dropping the catch, but it mattered little as he soon missed a sweep off another Tahir googly and was bowled. Tahir ended his spell atop the Hero CPL wicket-takers table, and the Tridents ended the 18th over at 78/8.
Raymon Reifer pulled a Naveen slower ball through midwicket, and although the young Afghan ended wicketless he will bowl far worse spells that look better on the scorecard. Shepherd once again showed off his effective slingy yorker in the 20th over that went for just five. The innings ended with a run-out, and for the third time in Hero CPL 2020 the Tridents had failed to make three figures as a team.
Santner struck second ball of the chase, bowling King with an arm ball that in effect swung into the right-hander. A tight over from Holder ensured Hemraj started slowly, but got himself going with a powerful slog swept Hero Maximum and a whipped four off Santner. He should have fallen to the New Zealander, the usually faultless Hayden Walsh Jr dropping a catch, but he continued his attack off Rashid with two fours and a six. After four overs, the Amazon Warriors were 34/1 and the required run rate was just three and a half an over.
Holder cleverly angled the ball across Hemraj, who couldn’t resist a pull shot and was well caught by Young at third man. Sherfane Rutherford, in for the rested Keemo Paul, got a promotion to four, but lasted only three balls before edging Holder to Ashley Nurse at slip. Holder took a heavy fall but completed a wicket-maiden, leaving the Amazon Warriors 40/3 after seven overs.
Hetmyer started watchfully, his first boundary not coming till his 12th ball and that too off an edge past new keeper Charles. Pooran faced five dot balls and tried to get off the mark with a boundary, but toe-ended Reifer straight up in the air to give Brooks a simple catch at cover. Taylor joined Hetmyer with the score 49/4 and a brief to calm things down.
Young started with a chest-high full-toss that was rightly called a no-ball, and was lucky not to be called for another with the free hit, Taylor pulling a suspiciously high delivery for four. Hetmyer again edged past the keeper, and he and Taylor nudged and guided the Amazon Warriors to 67/4 at halfway needing just 23 more to win.
Holder could have ended his spell with a third wicket, but Taylor’s edge flew wide of slip, and Rashid was nudged for six off two overs to leave just 12 to win. Hetmyer finally hit his first boundary off Santner thanks to indifferent boundary fielding from the visibly injured Holder, Taylor had time to practice his forward defensive against his countryman, and Hetmyer for the second day in a row hit the winning runs.
The Tridents now hold the unwanted record of being the first Hero CPL defending champions not to make the knockouts, and with the Amazon Warriors now guaranteed to avoid the Trinbago Knight Riders in the semi-finals, a sixth final is very much on the cards.
Guyana Amazon Warriors 90/4 (Hetmyer 32*, Hemraj 29, Taylor 16*; Holder 2/10, Reifer 1/16, Santner 1/25) beat Barbados Tridents 89/9 (Young 18, Santner 18, Charles 10; Tahir 3/12, Shepherd 3/22, Green 1/17, Sinclair 1/23) by 6 wickets