…Brandon King hits 104 in losing effort
By Clifton Ross
OPENER Brandon King smashed a splendid century in vain, as the Guyana Amazon Warriors held their nerves to secure their first win at home by 12-runs, following an epic showdown last night against the Jamaica Tallawahs at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
The home team looked almost out of the tournament after a shaky start, batting first in their must-win quest to secure 4 out of 4 wins on home soil, something they did on the backs of thousands of raving fans as they now focus on tonight’s game versus the St Lucia Kings at 19:00 hours.
It was a spirited fightback by the Warriors that was a true testament to their talent on paper, turning a bad situation of 98-7 in the 16th over following a disastrous start, to end on 178-8 after their 20 overs expired. Shai Hope led the way with a speedy 60 off 45 (3×4, 3×6).
The real hero, was player of the match Odean Smith who smashed a 16-ball 42 with five thumping sixes and grabbed two wickets, lighting up Providence and a dismal crowd who sunk to silence after the top-order collapse.
Local boy, all-rounder Keemo Paul chipped in with 24 off 12, including two fours and as many sixes, adding a whopping 74 runs for the 8th wicket with Smith, reminding the crowd of his prowess as a pinch-hitter.
easoned T20 all-rounder, Afghanistan’s Mohammed Nabi, playing his first match for the Tallawahs this season, snapped up 3-12, while former Warriors skipper Chris Green, dug into his old team with the new ball, bagging 2-24.
With a huge target staring them in the face, the Tallawahs misfired throughout their innings with the exception of King, who almost stole the match but nevertheless stole the show with his knock of 104 off 66 balls, taking his team to 166 all out in 19.5 overs.
The former Guyana Amazon Warriors opener who set the tournament record a few seasons ago with his top score of 132 not out, was the star of the evening, decorating Providence with eight majestic fours and seven sixes.
It was a clinical exhibition of spin bowling by the Amazon Warriors trio of leggy Imran Tahir (2-17), left-armer Gudakesh Motie (2-36) and Shakib al Hasan (1-30), who kept the Tallawahs under pressure throughout the match.
King was a one-man show, settling in nicely from the first ball as he looked to knock his old franchise out of the competition in style.
After fellow opener Kennar Lewis (13) and Kirk Mckenzie (15) departed, King continued to play his strokes and dazzled the Guyanese crowd, whom he was all too familiar with.
The Warriors spinners in Motie, Shakib and Tahir were extremely efficient and rewarding for their side, following the end of the first power-play. King’s presence offset the failures of his teammates, reaching another half-century.
The final stages of the game hung in the balance for King, who smashed his way to another CPL century, but failed to take his team home after being run-out after attempting to score yet again off Motie.
King’s departure was the final nail in the coffin for Jamaica Tallawahs, who eventually came up short in the end, despite almost pulling off a daring heist.
Earlier, Hope showed his touch of class at the number three, stroking a fancy half-century off 45 but failed to get the necessary support needed by the time Nabi bagged his first wicket of the season, disturbing the stumps of the right-hander.
Hope’s departure saw a brief chain of collapse, as wickets fell in a cluster, thanks to some clinical efforts by Nabi and Green, who set the tone earlier with key strikes.
Guyana at one point looked like they may have struggled to reach 130, but after the breathtaking lower-order half-century partnership off just 27 balls between Smith and Paul, turned things around tremendously.
Smith latched onto anything short and wide, most of which was offered up by Preterious, who was clobbered for five sixes in an over by the burly all-rounder, who single-handedly revived the hopes of his team and the ruckus crowd.
So severe was the damage, Warriors raced to 50 runs from just 11 deliveries, stunning the Tallawahs with a wide array of shots around Providence.
Paul then got into his zone, destroying arguably the best international pacer on show this year in Amir in the 18th over, matching his partner with a flurry of blows some of which sailed over the ropes, into a sea of Warriors fans.
A six then ended the first innings, but not before a nightmare of a last over from Powell, arguably one of the worst in CPL history yielded 19 runs, including four wide, a six off his free-hit no-ball and a the big wicket of Smith, as a consolation.
Today’s action continues with St. Kitts And Nevis Patriots battling the Trinbago Knight Riders in the opening round at 10:00 hours at Providence, to be followed by Amazon Warriors in action at 19.00 hours in the second match against Saint Lucia kings.