Hero CPL: Warriors snatch 13-run win in opener over Zouks

By Brandon Corlette

It was almost a tense finish in the first match at the Guyana National Stadium Providence between St Lucia Zouks and the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW). A player-of-the-match performance by Chris Green and some brilliance by Keemo Paul, Shadab Khan and Romario Shepherd led GAW to a 13-run win.

Captain Shoaib Malik (L) and Shimron Hetmyer salvaged the innings after a shaky start

After St Lucia Zouks skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to filed, the party began with GAW opener, Brandon King throwing his bat to the very first delivery as the ball raced away to the fence. His partner Chandrapual Hemraj replayed the same shot when Kesrick Williams offered width.
Williams took out his dancing shoes and removed King for seven at 14-1 in three overs. Hemraj then caressed one over the cover boundary for the first maximum to get Providence off their feet. The experienced Krishmar Santokie deceived Hemraj with a slower one as GAW slumped to 25-2 in four overs.
At the end of the power play, GAW were 31-2 with Shoaib Malik and Shimron Hetmyer rebuilding the innings with a 48-run partnership. Malik hit Rahkeem Cornwall down town with a straight six as GAW were 59-2 10 overs. Local boy Christopher Barnwell was introduced in the 11th over. The over was an eventful one which saw Hetmyer struck one that caught Malik on the forearm at the non-strikers end.

Obed McKoy’s (R) efficient spell got him 4 GAW wickets

After facing 26 balls and hitting a consolation boundary, Hetmyer was dismissed for 24 when he found the toe end of the bat off an Obed McCoy-delivery that went to Barnwell. The eventful 12th over continued when the left-arm McCoy found himself on hat trick, sending Nicholas Pooran back to the hut for a golden duck. Two of the danger men in the GAW unit were removed in successive deliveries while the exiting Sherfane Rutherford saw the hat trick ball off.

Romario Shepherd (R) is congratulated for taking another wicket

The Enmore bound lad joined his skipper Malik and got his innings off and running with two consecutive boundaries off Williams. Australia’s Pakistani born leg-spinner, Fawad Ahmed came with a special over, a wicket maiden in the 14th over.
Rutherford was out stumped for 10 in a close call with some marvelous glove work by Andre Fletcher. Keemo Paul came to the crease and his first five balls were dots, as Ahmed, who was the leading wicket-taker for Trinbago Knight Riders in 2018, completed a rare wicket maiden. In Ahmed’s final over, Paul greeted him with a belligerent six over long-on but Malik was dismissed for 28 from 29 balls after one six and one four.

Paul and Green to the rescue
At 99-6 in 16 overs, it was the Paul and Chris Green show; Green displayed the art of taking quick runs between the wickets while Paul showed his six hitting abilities. The duo began their 24-ball 48-run partnership when they took a liking to McCoy in the 18th over. The left-arm seamer, McCoy yielded 18 runs in that over which included two huge sixes. In the fourth ball, Paul smacked it over mid-wicket while Green took advantage of the free hit and flogged McCoy for a mid-wicket maximum.
In the penultimate over, it was another 18 runs leaked by the St Lucia Zouks; this time it was Santokie. Paul entertained the crowd that included his father and Essequibian supporters as he the Saxacally lad surpassed his highest T20 score, after he was dropped at the end of the 19th over. After 13 runs gathered from the final over, GAW ended on 155-9 in 20 overs. McCoy took two wickets in the final over and a run out came off the final ball. The left-arm quickie ended with 4-41 while Ahmed had 2-25.

Rahkeem’s rocket start
After the GAW took 49 runs in their last three overs, Rahkeem Cornwall in particular and Andre Fletcher were on a mission. Paul got a taste of his own medicine when the Zouks duo took 15 off the opening overs. Zouks faster bowlers leaked 116 runs, but they only had six overs of spin which cost 37 runs. The GAW had an equipped spin ammunition; Shabdad Khan bowling his first ball, removed Fletcher for eight, destroying the former’s furniture.
Cornwall carried on his merry way but Zouks lost three wickets for 53 runs in the power play. The well-built Cornwall was removed for a blazing 36 from 14 balls which included seven fours and one six when the canny Green worked his magic. After the spinners kept GAW in the game, Zouks were 84-4 at the half-way stage.

Khan makes the ball talk
With Paul and Ben Laughlin yielded runs the runs the spinners continue to chip away. Khan in particular bowled with control while Green contained the batsmen. Khan removed Barnwell for seven while Sammy was his third victim, to finish with 3-16 in four overs. After the Afghanistani, Najibullah Zadran fell for 23, the Zouks batsmen fell like dominoes. Santokie had unfinished business scoring an unbeaten 15 from nine which was insufficient. Shepherd produced some brilliant death bowling with his 2-18 in four overs.
The GAW will meet St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in their second game of the season at Providence on Saturday September 7 from 20:00 hours local time.