The opening pair of Dwayne Smith (32) and Martin Guptill (19) defused the tension of chasing down a tricky target of 139 on a slow track with a brisk half-century stand to ensure Guyana Amazon Warriors’ fifth victory out of six games in the Caribbean Premier League 2016 at the Providence Stadium in Guyana Tuesday night.
Once the openers were dismissed, Jason Mohammed and Chris Lynn stitched an unbeaten 82-run partnership to help the hosts cross the finish line with 16 balls to spare against St. Lucia Zouks and bring joy to the home team’s camp.
It was Guptill, who started the onslaught by smashing Derone Davis, the slow left-arm orthodox, into the stands. Smith then took over by checking in a slew of boundaries. To make matters worse, Darren Sammy, known for his athletic fielding skills, dropped a couple of sitters. On both occasions, Guptill was the beneficiary.
The spin twins – Davis and Shane Shillingford – picked up the wickets of the openers. However, Smith’s 24-ball innings had provided the impetus for Amazon Warriors’ middle-order to come into play. Mohammed, who had earlier in the tournament compiled a well-constructed unbeaten 42 against St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, played with equanimity to calm down the nerves in the dug-out.
Mohammed latched onto anything that was slightly shorter in length to deposit it into the stands over cow corner. Mohammed remained undefeated on 43 while Lynn chipped in with a well-measured 29-ball 38. The Queenslander’s innings was stamped with singles and twos, but once he got himself in, Lynn crunched hefty blows off Shillingford and Grant Elliott to put the outcome of the match beyond doubt.
On the other hand, St Lucia Zouks’ bowling was below par. Only Shane Watson and, to an extent, Shillingford bowled with control. Even Davis, who took the key scalp of Guptill, came in for punishment later on in the innings. The dew factor perhaps also didn’t help their cause in the middle overs.
For the visitors, Michael Hussey slammed crucial blows and combined it with sharp running between the wickets to compose a 50-ball 64 and drive St Lucia Zouks to a challenging total on a rather tricky track. Earlier, when the opening duo of Johnson Charles (0) and Watson (4) were dismissed by Sohail Tanvir in the very first over, the crowd thumped and clapped continuously.
In the 10th over, Adam Zampa then pinned Andre Fletcher (16) on the pads with a slider. With the score reading 41 for 3, St Lucia Zouks’ innings was free-falling. However, just in the nick of time, Hussey laid the foundation for a fighting total. He also stitched worthy alliances with David Miller (23) and Sammy (11) to never allow the momentum to stall. In fact, it was in the 15th over when Hussey eventually lifted the tempo by thumping Rayad Emrit for three boundaries.
Tanvir and Zampa shared a couple of spoils each. Zampa, in particular, with his well-disguised variations of pace, kept a lid on the scoring rate for most part of the innings. Emrit, who incidentally has an impressive record in Twenty20s that he has played at the Providence Stadium, also snared two scalps.
However, in the end, despite Hussey’s gallant effort, St Lucia Zouks tasted defeat. Amazon Warriors are firmly perched on top of the points table, while the visitors languish at the bottom with just one victory from three games they have played so far.
Summarised scores: St. Lucia Zouks 138 for 6 in 20 overs (Michael Hussey 64 not out, David Miller 23; Rayad Emrit 2-25, Adam Zampa 2-30) lost to Guyana Amazon Warriors 139 for 2 in 17.2 overs (Jason Mohammed 43 not out, Chris Lynn 38 not out; Shane Shillingford 1-28) by eight wickets.