The Guyana Amazon Warriors began their 2018 HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Season with a six-wicket win with 21 balls to spare over the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, last evening in front of a packed house of boisterous supporters at the National Stadium at Providence.
The Warriors, feeding off of a marvellous knock of 79 not out from West Indies top order batsman and home town favourite, Shimron Hetmyer, raced to 148-4 from 16.3 overs in reply to the Patriots’ total of 146-5, after his skipper Shoaib Malik, won the toss and opted to bowl.
Warriors, in their chase of the average total on the flat track, were rocked with the early losses of Luke Ronchi, who was bowled by Sheldon Cottrell for a second ball duck in the first over, and his fellow opener, Chadwick Walton, who departed two balls later, to Nepalese spinner, Sadeep Lamichhamie.
Skipper Malik lasted only nine deliveries for his quick fire knock of 14, but Hetmyer and Jason Mohammed steered the innings into the safety zone, with a partnership of 62 from 40 balls. Hetmyer, a natural aggressor, smashed 43 of those runs, including two boundaries and one six from the 20-run fifth over delivered by Alzarri Joseph.
Hetmyer followed up with another huge over; this time clobbering Anton Devcich for 16 runs to swing the match back in favour of the home town Warriors.
Despite the loss of Mohammed, Hetmyer stood tall, and worked a short one off the hips for a couple to bring up his half century from 29 balls. With Mohammed back in the shed, lesser known, South African born Australian resident, Chris Green then shared in a 62-run stand with Hetmyer to take the Warriors home.
Hetmyer, who took a liking to Ben Cutting, carted 15 runs off of the 16th over to leave the Warriors just seven short of the target.
Rightfully, Hetmyer ended the match by hitting Joseph down the ground for four, to finish unbeaten on 79 from 45 balls, inclusive of four sixes and nine fours.
After the match, Skipper Malik expressed his admiration for Hetmyer and Rutherford, as the former had stepped up to the front, along with the bowlers, to help register their first win of the season.
Earlier in the encounter, the Patriots were propelled to 146-5 by a Chris Gayle special. Gayle, before falling to a splendid catch by Sherfane Rutherford, running in from deep mid-wicket, smashed 86 from just 65 balls, inclusive of five sixes and seven fours.
Gayle and Evin Lewis started cautiously, before Lewis played all over an arm ball from Green, to signal the fall of the first wicket, with just 15 Patriot runs on the board.
Gayle was joined by Tom Cooper, who, failing to capitalize on a chance after being dropped by Rutherford on 12, was caught off Rayad Emrit, for 15, in the next over. Ben Cutting also added 15, as Gayle was moderately slow in bringing up his half century, consuming 43 deliveries, before exploding late in the innings.
With Gayle departing with nine deliveries to go, Devich, Carlos Brathwaite and Brandon king could only muster 12 runs.
Keemo Paul picked up 2-37, while Sohail Tanvir, Green and Imran Tahir picked up one a piece.
Guyana Amazon Warriors will now face the St. Lucia Stars at the same venue at 4.00 pm on Saturday.