Last year’s runner-up, Guyana Amazon Warriors, won two out of two victories in 2019 with the 2018 champion Trinbago Knight Riders in the early stages of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
After limiting the Patriots to 153/8 thanks largely to the efforts of spin-twins Shadab Khan (2/20) and Chris Green (1/18), the Warriors made the pursuit easy after being hired by opener Brandon King Chandrapaul Hemraj in front of Shimron Hetmyer showed his class to steer his side to victory with a superb unbeaten 70 of 47, including a six to seal the victory.
After a few attentive overs at the start of the chase, the three-goal innings of Sheldon Cottrell’s second over and two Hero Maximums of Hemraj before Usama Mir awoke to the end of the power play.
Hemraj went for a brisk 39 of 24 for a good dive from Fabian Allen at the point in front of Carlos Brathwaite, but that only brought Hetmyer into the middle.
Initially, Hetmyer tried to exert pressure on the outfield players as they ran hard between the wickets, and soon found the line on a regular basis as the warriors pursued their goal.
Back-to-back foursome ahead of Brathwaite really got him going, before a great shot from the inside out and the coverage of Rayad Emrit scored four more goals.
He lost to King for a well-compiled 27 that was ushered by Usama Mir third ahead of Cottrell, but Hetmyer was unimpressed. He immediately pulled Cottrell away for a one-bounce four behind the square leg and passed four, four and six against Alzarri Joseph in the 14th to bring the target to a run a ball.
From then on, it was an easy task for Hetmyer and the highly experienced Shoaib Malik. The winning runs consisted of eight wickets and seven balls left over thanks to Hetmyer’s third Hero Maximum.
Unlike the warriors, the patriots never really got going in their innings – until Allen joined Devon Thomas late – despite a gift from Keemo Paul in his first innings, the second innings.
He seemed to have reduced the Patriots to 9/1 with Over’s last ball when he rearranged Kjorn Ottley’s stumps, but iterated repetitions that he had crossed. Ottley not only got a delay, but also a free hit. That had been crushed in the middle of the money by four, after Paul had done it again. Another free kick and one more limit flashed this time on the third man from a thick outer edge.
From an obvious 1: 9 deficit to two overs, the Patriots found instead 19: 0. But they could not capitalize. Ottley immediately realized that catastrophic confusion left him in the middle of the square when Green picked up Nicholas Pooran’s litter and removed the bails.
Evin Lewis launched a hero maximum, but was caught shortly afterwards by the impressive Shadab.
Thomas was at first alert, but the one patriot who was able to find the border with a certain regularity. The third was a particularly profitable sector, made up of a combination of skilfully played gliders and a few happier, heavier edges of the hapless Paul.
Thomas dominated with Mohammad Hafeez a 54-run stand for the third wicket, whose patience finally eased when he cut Shadab for 14 of 18 balls in a long-off. Patriots skipper Brathwaite was caught in Midwicket’s second ball when he drew Paul, who this time had something behind the front line – only.
Allen, however, has decently supported Thomas. The Patriots Keeper enjoyed a beautiful half-century in spectacular style with successive sixes in the background and over the center line of the previously unbeatable Shadab – his other 22 deliveries brought in only eight runs.
Shadab, however, was not finished yet, scoring an excellent long range shot at 62 of 49 to end Thomas’ innings, and handed Green his only wicket in a typically stingy spell – only 18 runs came from his four overs.
Allen took the lead role and imperiously drove Romario Shepherd over the cover for a Hero Maximum, but lost Jason Mohammed for just 4.
The final was a good one for the Patriots despite the loss of Allen for 33 and Mir without a rating of 17 runs. Ten came in the last two balls, when Joseph raised the total to six over Midwicket and one four over 150, but it never seemed to be enough.