An extraordinary, unbroken partnership between Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford, with 78 out of just 29 balls, put Guyana Amazon Warriors on the road to winning the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for the third time at the expense of Barbados Tridents.
This impressive 47-run win means that last year’s runners-up, like the team that crowned them the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2018, lost three out of three in their first home game of the season.
For many innings of the Warriors, however, such a result was anything but certain. Chandrapaul Hemraj was the only top-4 player to deal with difficult shooting conditions and dominated the early goal so that the Warriors had 31/1 on the board after the PowerPlay Hemraj 27 made it.
When he fell in on 63 of 55 well-matched balls that combined vigilant defense and accumulation with six-fours and three hero maxima, there was a danger that the innings would pass into the 16th at 102/4 of a ball.
Brandon King had outbid a pull-shot to give Leniko Boucher a simple catch behind the wicket for just 1. Saturday night’s hero, Shimron Hetmyer, was also on the cheap side, scoring 9-point margin for sub-fielder Hayden Walsh Jr’s goalkeeping style. Bowling for Roshon Primus, who also scored 4 points for Warriors captain Shoaib Malik, proved to be an attempt to run down the ball to a third party, only managed to steer the ball in Boucher’s gloves.
But almost from the moment Rutherford and Pooran came together after Hemraj’s departure, the game changed. Rutherford was the first to start and hit the fifth ball he faced from Providence Stadium ahead of Australian Paceman Josh Lalor. Back-to-back Hero Maximums followed for the 20-year-old offholder in the next over before giving his best shot of the night before Primus. It was a low throw that Rutherford somehow managed to hit the fence hard and flat with amazing handcraft.
It was really special to bring Rutherford from 11 balls to 30, but the notable former Trident Pooran was about to put his partner in the limelight. After making 25 of the first 22 balls he faced, Pooran plundered 36 credible credits from the last eight.
Five of these shipments disappeared in the stands, including two huge hits over Midwicket back-to-back -Primus. The finale of Raymon Reifer was garnished with three sixs in four balls over long-on, long-off and extra covers. The middle of those three brought out Pooran’s 50 and what an innings it was.
A total of 72 runs came from the last four innings – 45 from the last two.
As it can happen, the momentum from the end of the warriors’ efforts to hit them flowed into their cone efforts. After Hemraj was impressed when he opened his eyelash, the new ball was handed to him with immediate results, as Tridents star Alex Hales played the first ball when he should have played forward.
The impressive Shadab Khan took care of Johnson Charles and Boucher before Malik interfered in the attack and promptly persuaded Jonathan Carter to continue.
Worse, it would be for the Tridents in the next race, as Keemo Paul’s shotgun in deep saw skipper Jason Holder was only four inches behind his bottom.
JP Duminy fought his way up to 20 before pushing a clumsy shot into his stumps to give Paul the first wicket of the night, leaving the Tridents in ruins at 75/6.
Ashley Nurse provided a measure of seriousness with his own pleasurable blows by firing his first Hero Maximum ball directly over Chris Green and adding two sixs and three fours to his 40 of 25 balls, but it was little more than damage control.
Pooran was back in the lead in Nurse’s fall and flew to his left to score an outstanding leg-leg catch as Nurse swept Romario Shepherd over the lap, who then rolled Raymon Reifer’s first ball around her legs. Josh Lalor survived the hat-trick ball – about to run down the wicket and try to blow it up – but the game was long over.
Shepherd finished the deal with minimal effort in his next over after Primus was held well by Hetmyer at Long-On and then rearranged Sandeep Lamichhanes Stumps to cope with extraordinary numbers of 4/13 from just 2.4 Overs.