Warriors send defending champions packing

Hero Caribbean Premier League 2017

‒ set up big clash with TKR for final spot

By John Ramsingh at Tarouba in Trinidad and Tobago

Luke Ronchi and Chadwick Walton gave the Guyana Amazon Warriors their fifth straight victory in this year’s Hero Caribbean League (CPL) with a five-wicket thrashing of defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs in the Eliminator at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Wednesday night in Trinidad.
With the win, the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) will now meet Trinbago Knight Riders in qualifier two for a place in the final against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
Set 169 to win, the three-time finalists got home with five wickets and 13 balls to spare. Assad Fudadin flicked Santokie for a maximum to seal the deal, but it was Walton who was ultra-aggressive from the start of the run chase that set up the clinical run chase. Walton, the GAW’s most successful batsman this year, added 67 runs for the second wicket with Ronchi in just over five overs that really knocked the winds out of the Tallawahs’ sails.

Rovman Powell (L) of Jamaica Tallawahs bowled by Rashid Khan (C) of Guyana Amazon Warriors

The Warriors had a slight stumble when they lost three wickets in four overs. Walton was first to go, dismissed for 40 from 23 balls with five fours and two sixes at 90-2 at the start of the ninth over and was followed by Jason Mohammed for seven and Gajanand Singh for 6. However, Man-of-the-Match Ronchi continued to mix aggression and caution before he was dismissed with just 14 runs needed 22 balls still available.
In all, Ronchi faced 33 balls hitting five fours and a similar number of sixes. He got to 50 from 20 balls, the second fastest this year.
After his dismissal, Assad Fudadin with 29 from 24 balls and Roshon Primus played smartly to ensure the GAW deny the defending champions a shot at a third title.
Earlier on, the Tallawahs were out of the blocks in a hurry after being sent in by Rayad Emrit on a good batting track and big lush outfield. The bowlers had a continuous battle with heavy dew all night, but it was debutant Kennar Lewis and Lendl Simmons who put on 40 for the opening wicket in 28 balls that set the brand new stadium alight.
Emrit got the break-through after Veerasammy Permaul and Sohail Tanveer were roughed up in the first four overs. The powerfully built right hander, Lewis found Permaul at deep backward square. Trevon Griffith joined forces with the attacking Simmons and at the Power Play, the Tallawahs were 55-1 with Simmons on 34 and Griffith on four before the off-spin of Steven Jacobs was introduced.
Simmons drove to extra cover where Emrit flung himself to the right and took a one-handed catch on the second attempt, and Jacobs and the Amazon Warriors were suddenly on the hunt. Four balls later, Mahmudullah picked out Permaul at deep midwicket and the Tallawahs have lost three for 19 runs in 13 balls.
Meanwhile, Kumar Sangakarra, the Tallawahs captain, who is their leading run scorer, was assessing the conditions and beginning to accumulate his runs as wickets were falling at the other end. At the end of 10 overs, he was on 17 from 10 and his team on 84-3.
There was a keen battle for control of the game throughout the innings, but as soon as the Griffith and Sangakarra partnership was looking threatening, Roshon Primus was introduced into the attack. With his ‘slingy’ action, Primus got Griffith to mishit, but Chadwick Walton failed to hold on running back from fine-leg but five balls later, Griffith got another top edge and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi made no mistake to end the 39-run partnership.
At 111-4 in the 14th over, Sangakarra, the defending champions’ captain, was warned by Umpire Gregory Brathwaite for running down the middle of the pitch and in the next over, he was in box seat when Rashid Khan got a hat trick.
Andre McCarthy was the first victim when he was bowled by a googly as he played down the wrong line at 116-5. His replacements, Jonathan Foo and Rovman Powell, followed in identical fashion over the next two balls as Khan completed the first hat trick of this year’s CPL.
Sangakarra then found another good partner in Krishmar Santokie to put on 35 for the eighth wicket before the Sri Lankan veteran brought up his fourth half-century this season. The innings then ended when 13 runs came off the final over bowled by Tanveer to push the 2013 and 2016 champions to 168-8, a score that they felt was good enough to keep them alive in the tournament before Ronchi and Walton crashed the party.
The GAW will now play home team, Trinbago Knight Riders tonight in qualifier two with the winners going on to play against the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Saturday’s final. The first ball is at 8 PM tonight at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.