The Guyana Amazon Warriors and the Barbados Tridents will contest the final of the 2014 Limacol Caribbean Premier League Tournament on Saturday.
This evening the Warriors easily trounced defending champions the Jamaica Tallawahs by ten wickets in their semi-final match-up at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts.
Batting first, Jamaica Tallawahs were restricted to a below par 134 for 6 in their twenty overs and the Amazon Warriors openers Lendl Simmons with a 43-ball 71 and Martin Guptill with a 46-ball 66, once again proved their effectiveness with another century stand, an unbroken 138 in 14.5 overs, to register the easy victory.
The two were never troubled, counting 13 boundaries and five sixes between them, as they smote the Tallawahs bowling all over Warner Park. None of the bowlers looked remotely penetrative, all going for at least eight runs per over and Simmons and Guptill seemingly targeting the Tallawahs’ main threat in Jerome Taylor whose three overs went for 36 runs. He was struck for 16 runs in the sixth over and then went for 18 in the 11th over. Simmons started that over on 37 and reached his half-century after slamming the last four balls of the over for 6, 4, 4, 4. Guptill brought up his fifty in the next over bowled by Andre Russell.
On a good batting track the left-arm spin of Nikita Miller and opening bowler Daniel Vettori proved just as easily manageable for Simmons and Guptill as the pace. Dave Bernard Jr. who had wrecked the top order of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel yesterday, strangely bowled a solitary over for eight runs but was not used again by captain Chris Gayle. Beforea large and vociferous crowd, many of whom proudly waved their Guyana Amazon Warriors colours, Guptill ended the encounter in the 15th over bowled by Rusty Theron with a booming drive through the covers for a boundary. The win was marked by spontaneous celebrations in the Warriors’ dug-out led by mentor and fast-bowling legend Curtly Ambrose who got more and more animated as the comfortable victory became more and more apparent.
Earlier the Warriors had won the toss and inserted the Tallawahs who got off to a slow start with Chadwick Walton and Chris Gayle confronted by some tight bowling from Krishmar Santokie, Mohammad Hafeez and Ronsford Beaton. At the end of the power play overs Tallawahs had meandered to 29 in six overs. Walton picked up the scoring in the ninth over bowled by Jimmy Neesham, striking the Kiwi for a boundary and a six in an over that went for 14 runs.
The Warriors’ captain Denesh Ramdin introduced his main threat in Sunil Narine in the 10th over and there was an immediate result. Walton tried to hit the wily offspinner out of the ground but picked out Guptill on the wide long-on boundary and he was gone for 34 made off 35 balls with three boundaries and one six. Gayle and Walton had added 55 for the first wicket but it had taken them mid-way into the tenth over to do so.
And in the 11th over bowled by Neesham, disaster struck for the Tallawahs. Gayle reached forward to a ball slightly outside his off-stump and tried to muscle it straight but got neither the power nor timing he wanted and watched as the ball landed in the safe grasp of Simmons at long-off. Gayle and Walton have provided most of the Tallawahs’ runs at the top of the innings and their dismissal again exposed the team’s fragile middle order.
In the 14th over bowled by Hafeez, Aussie Adam Voges’ horror tournament continued as he failed to make it into double figures yet again. He charged down the track to a wide delivery, missed and was smartly stumped by Ramdin for 7 to make the score 72 for 3. That Voges has maintained a spot in the middle-order has been something of a mystery.
Nkrumah Bonner was batting confidently, if slowly at the other end, and he was joined by another of the Tallawahs’ principal weapons in Andre Russell. Twice for the tournament Russell had won the Tallawahs games from hopeless positions and if they were to get a good total he would once more have to provide the impetus. But then the Amazon Warriors got a massive piece of good fortune.
Bonner and Russell added 35 runs in quick time with Russell bristling with menace on 20 off 12 balls with two fours. But then in the 18th over bowled by Santokie Bonner attempted a forceful shot but undercut it back to the bowler who got a finger to it and diverted the ball into the stumps with Russell out of his ground. That run-out was basically the end of the Tallawahs’ chances. The very next ball Bonner drove a wide delivery from Santokie to Hafeez at cover to depart for 21. A few lusty blows from Taylor who made a nine-ball 17 with a six and two fours saw the Tallawahs to 134 but that looked meagre on the scoreboard.
Soon, Guptill and Simmons made the Tallawahs’ total look even smaller in the middle.