Guyana Amazon Warriors completed a last over four- wicket victory over the Barbados Tridents to keep their chances of qualifying for the playoffs alive in this edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on the back of opener, Chadwick Walton at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, last evening.
Walton’s knock which fell eight short of his century, overshadowed a blistering 69-ball century from Dwayne Smith, the first of this edition of the CPL and the fourth in his career.
Warriors won the toss and invited the Tridents to take first strike after making one change to their lineup, including Keemo Paul at the expense of Roshan Primus.
A full house then saw Smith starting his innings in a frenzy, stroking Sohail Tanvir through point for four and twice with disdain through the leg side to send the Tridents well on their way while his partner, Kane Williamson watched from the other end.
Warriors, whose bowling looked less than penetrative early on, managed to peg things back as the Tridents ended the power play with the score sitting on 27 without loss.
Smith, however, began to up the ante by launching Steven Jacobs for 13 runs off the ninth over, including a maximum which landed in the orange stand, extending their opening partnership to 61 at the halfway point with him on 35 and Williamson 10 runs less.
The Warriors then missed an opportunity to gain their first breakthrough when Paul had Smith caught at long off, from a no ball with the Barbadian nearing a half-century in the 13th over.
Smith, however, continued to push on and reached his milestone with another towering six, this time off Rayad Emrit in the 15th over while Tridents cruised to 97 – 0 with five overs remaining and plenty of firepower to come with Smith on 55 and Williamson 11 away from his 50.
Rashid Khan removed the Kiwi captain before he, too, registered his 50, falling for 47 with the score on 107 – 1 at the end of the 16th over. His demise, however, brought the dangerous Kieron Pollard (6) to the crease, who along with Nicholas Pooran (0) failed to fire as Smith unleashed a number of savage shots to end the innings on 159 – 4.
Smith, who fell for an even century in the final over, was most refreshing to watch during his knock. His innings included five sixes and 10 fours during which time he combined to take 38 runs from the 18th and 19th overs bowled by Tanvir and Emrit, taking 17 balls to move from 50 to his fourth T20 century.
Khan (1 – 21) was the most economical Warriors bowler while Tanvir had 4 – 40, going at 10 an over.
Warriors began their reply a little different from their previous matches, sending Tanvir to partner Walton at the top of the innings which provided quick runs as the Warriors quickly reached 71 – 2 at the end of six overs.
Tanvir’s 18 which came off eight balls to provide quick runs at the top and local boy Gajanand Singh (0), were the men dismissed.
Walton during that time was particularly severe on Imran Khan, taking 16 runs off his first over and playing a number of other exquisite shots, reaching 48 while Martin Guptill was on one.
Walton then brought up his 50 in the seventh over, coming off 27 deliveries to leave the Warriors well placed at 82 – 2 at the end of that over. The Jamaican, who continued to free his arms, took his tally to 70 at the halfway point with the Warriors at 105 – 2, still needing 55 more runs for a win in front of their home crowd.
Warriors got closer to their target at the end of the 15th over, coasting to 140 – 2 with Walton continuing his special knock unbeaten on 92, including the shot of the day; a back foot push back past Ravi Rampaul for six while Guptill supported with 24.
The home-side shortly after, lost Guptill (27) and Walton (92 from 57 balls); inclusive of seven fours and six sixes, both falling to skipper Pollard off successive deliveries with the Warriors still needing 15 runs from 20 deliveries.
Pollard again threatened to take the game away by removing Mohammed (5) and Keemo Paul (0) also from successive deliveries to leave the score on 152 – 6 and five needed from the final over.
Fudadin (7*) however, held his nerve to stroke Shamar Springer for four which was followed by a wide to carry the score to 160 – 6 in 19.1 overs. Pollard ended with 4 – 16 as the pick of the bowlers.