ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – Captain Denesh Ramdin struck a Man-of-the-match half-century but Guyana Amazon Warriors were forced to overcome some late innings jitters before disposing of Antigua Hawksbills by two wickets in the opening game of the 2014 Caribbean Premier League here today.
Chasing down at moderate target of 137, Amazon Warriors were guided by Ramdin’s 51 from 36 deliveries, as they got home with three balls to spare at Grenada’s National Stadium.
However, left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell grabbed three for 24 and medium pacer Ben Laughlin, two for 27, to create panic in the Amazon Warriors camp as they tumbled to 112 for six at the start of the end of the 16th over.
When seamer Carlos Brathwaite bowled Ramdin with the first ball of the next over with no runs added, the game was up for grabs but tail-ender Veerasammy Permaul struck two lusty blows in 15 before Sunil Narine finished off the game with a flourish, ending unbeaten on 11.
Earlier, the Hawksbill struggled for fluency en route to their 136 for eight, with Australian opener Ben Dunk top scoring with 38 and Jamaican Danza Hyatt getting 36.
New Zealand seamer Jimmy Neesham was the best bowler, picking up three for 33.
The Hawkbills’s start was strong but slow, as Dunk and Jamaican Shacaya Thomas, who scored 20, put on 40 from 32 balls, before Thomas combined with Hyatt to add another 60 for the second wicket from 50 deliveries.
Much of the slow scoring was down to a brilliant spell from off-spinner Narine, who befuddled the Hawksbills batsmen with his variations to concede just three runs from his four overs.
Dunk provided the fireworks, crashing five fours and two sixes – the first over wide long-on off off-spinner Mohammed Hafeez and the second clearing the ropes in the same area off pacer Ronsford Beaton.
The left-handed Dunk looked in great touch, taking 14 runs from Mohammed Hafeez’s second over, the fourth of the innings. He was looking to press on when he fell to a soft dismissal, popping a catch to Hafeez close in, the very next ball after striking Beaton for six.
Hyatt and Thomas then came together but never really found the acceleration required. The right-handed Hyatt faced 33 balls and counted three fours and a six while Thomas, also a right-hander, struggled to get the ball way in 32 balls at the crease. He hit two fours.
The partnership was broken when Thomas top edged left-arm spinner Permaul to Hafeez at fine leg in the 14th over, sparking a collapse that saw nine wickets crash for 36 runs in the space of 37 balls.
In reply, Amazon Warriors lost in-form West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons without scoring to the third ball of the innings and New Zealander Martin Guptil for four in the next over, to slip to eight for two.
Ramdin and Hafeez who got 35, repaired the innings in a 59-run stand, with the West Indies Test captain striking six fours and a six, and the Pakistani all-rounder counting three fours off 31 balls.
When off-spinner and captain Marlon Samuels claimed Hafeez to a catch at the wicket in the 10th over, Ramdin found an ally in Neesham to add a further 33 for the fourth wicket.
Neesham holed out to long on for 11 off Cottrell in the 14th over, triggering a slide where four wickets fell for 12 runs in the space of 14 balls, as panic set in.
But Permaul blasted Laughlin over long on for six and then lashed him through point for four in the same over, leaving Amazon Warriors to get just four from the last over.
Narine duly performed the final rites, thrashing Brathwaite to the cover boundary off the third ball.