Basseterre, St Kitts – An excellent opening partnership between Lendl Simmons and Martin Guptill set up a thumping victory for the Guyana Amazon Warriors as they booked their place in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League final with ease. Both openers reached half centuries as defending champions, the Jamaica Tallawahs, were eliminated from the tournament. Both knocks were near chanceless efforts as they became the first side to win a CPL match by ten wickets.
Having batted brilliantly in the first play-off game on Wednesday, the Tallawahs set a below par total as they never recovered from a slow start that saw them go at less than a run a ball inside the fielding restrictions. Some tight bowling from the Amazon Warriors meant that it was a cautious opening few overs, but the Tallawahs went too far into their shell on an excellent St. Kitts pitch.
Chadwick Walton was almost run out in the third over of the Jamaican innings, but the throw at the stumps was off target. Although chances for wickets were few and far between, so were boundaries. While the strength of the Warriors bowling attack made this low risk approach understandable, it was leaving a lot of work for the Jamaican batsmen at the end of the innings.
The first wicket did not fall until the tenth over, Walton the man to go as he was caught in the deep off the bowling of Sunil Narine. The issue for the Tallawahs was that, while they had wickets in hand, they had only reached 56 by the end of the first ten overs. The pressure was on Gayle to accelerate in the second half of the innings having eaten up so many deliveries early on. He tried to push things on but fell in the attempt. He was well caught by Simmons at long on as he tried to clear the ropes.
That left the middle order with a lot to do, and much would have been expected of the experienced Adam Voges. However, he just could not get going and was out stumped off a wide from Mohammad Hafeez. The Pakistani overseas player did a brilliant job at keeping things tight, going for just 19 runs off his four overs.
All eyes turned to Andre Russell. Fresh from his brilliant match winning knock in the first playoff game, it was up to him to get this misfiring innings going. He looked to be finding his feet when he was dismissed in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Nkrumah Bonner hit a ball into the ground that looped over the head of Krishmar Santokie. The bowler managed to get his finger tips to it and it dribbled into the stumps at the non-strikers end to see Russell run out well short of his ground.
A six each from Rusty Theron and Jerome Taylor finished the innings well, but it never looked like enough runs. It would take a brilliant bowling performance to win this and the Tallawahs could not find one.
The Warriors made the target that the Tallawahs had set look ridiculously light in their Powerplay. They too managed to negotiate the fielding restrictions without losing a wicket, but they passed 50 in the process. The Guyana openers have done a brilliant job at switching the role of the aggressor through this tournament. Here, it was Martin Guptill that was the man to take up the charge, with Lendl Simmons happy to give him the strike. Then the roles switched just as quickly as it became Simmons that was on the attack.
The two openers had set up the win by the time half the overs had gone, having taken their side two thirds of the way to their target with all ten wickets still in hand. Gayle tried to shuffle his bowlers to find a break through, but they just did not have enough runs to play with. The Guyana batsmen found the boundary with ease, never looking troubled at any point in the innings.
Simmons became the leading run scorer in this year’s tournament during this innings, and barring something remarkable from one of the Barbados Tridents’ batsmen in the final on Saturday, he will finish top of the run scoring tree. Perhaps his only challenge for the leading batsman title is his opening partner who is fourth on the list.
The Amazon Warriors will go into Saturday’s final full of confidence while the Tallawahs ended this year’s CPL two wins short of defending their title.