A superb bowling performance from Sohail Tanvir and Adam Zampa helped the Guyana Amazon Warriors to victory in their opening fixture of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) against the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in a thrilling finish.
Tahir and Zampa picked up seven wickets between them as the Patriots were restricted to 164-9 on a very good Warner Park pitch, but it proved to be a target that was chased down by Guyana with four wickets in hand and just one ball to spare.
There was some surprise when the Amazon Warriors chose Sohail Tanvir as their very first pick in the draft, but he showed in his first over why coach Roger Harper was so keen to secure his services. He claimed the hugely important scalp of West Indies opener Lendl Simmons with his fifth ball in a wicket maiden. Tanvir then returned to the attack at the death to pick up another three wickets as he finished with figures of 4-20.
Having found themselves a wicket down with no runs on the board there was a consolidation of sorts by the Patriots when Evin Lewis and captain Faf du Plessis put on 34 runs in decent time. When Rayad Emrit was brought into the attack he had an immediate impact and he put an end to that recovery. He claimed the wicket of Lewis with his very first delivery, a full ball that swung a touch which Lewis swung at, missed and was bowled.
The very next ball there was another wicket for the Amazon Warriors as Jonathan Carter attempted a second run that wasn’t there and he was run out by a direct hit from Christopher Barnwell. The Patriots had gone from 34-1 to 35-3 in the space of two balls.
The dismissal of Carter brought the hugely experienced Brad Hodge to the crease. Having coached at the IPL in recent months it has been a while since Hodge picked up a bat but it did not show. He made a hugely important 38 from 32 balls that held the Patriots innings together when it looked in danger of collapsing. During the innings he become the second player after Chris Gayle to pass 7,000 runs in T20 cricket.
Hodge departed to Zampa, driving him to long on where he was well caught by Jason Mohammad. The Australian leg spinner finished with figures of 3-34 in his first Hero CPL match.
The wickets from Zampa and Tanvir meant that the Patriots never really got going as they were continually pegged back making a total that was a par effort at best.
The Patriots batting effort was put into context in the opening exchanges of the Amazon Warriors chase as Martin Guptill and Dwayne Smith scored 62 runs from the first six overs. Guptill departed to the very last ball of the PowerPlay, drilling a full ball from Carlos Brathwaite to mid-off but the back of the chase had been broken.
It was fortunate that the Warriors had such a strong start as they were pegged back when Tabraiz Shamsi was brought into the attack after the PowerPlay. Shamsi was the pick of the Patriot bowlers, keeping the batsmen guessing with his variations, but no one else could keep the scoring rate under control for long enough for the Amazon Warriors to feel under real pressure.
Dwayne Smith raced to a well-made half century from just 32 balls, he was especially brutal on the bowling of Samuel Badree who is just returning from injury. Smith smacked three Hero Maximums off the usually economical Badree.
It was the medium pace of Krishmar Santokie that did for Smith who tried to drive him over the covers only to hit it straight to a fielder. It was Santokie’s 50th Hero CPL wicket, the most by any bowler.
Smith went for 62 (36) and just two balls later Chris Lynn was run out for six by du Plessis. At this point the squeeze was on and it took a long time for Anthony Bramble and Mohammad to get themselves set, but eventually they began to score freely and they reached the victory target but the Amazon Warriors were made to work for it. Mohammad was there at the end and he was well supported by that man Tanvir.