GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Barbados Royals romped into the final of the Caribbean Premier League, making a statement of intent with an 87-run drubbing of in-form Guyana Amazon Warriors in the first qualifier of the playoffs today.
Rahkeem Cornwall belted a fearsome 91 from 54 deliveries as Royals marched to an imposing 195 for five off their 20 overs, after being sent in at the Guyana National Stadium.
And 20-year-old left-arm pacer Ramon Simmons then produced a superb spell of three for 17 from three overs to send the hosts crashing to 108 all out in the 18th over, only captain Shimron Hetmyer showing any resistance with 37 from 29 balls.
While the result put Royals – who dominated the group stage to finish top of the standings – into the title match on Friday night, it left Amazon Warriors awaiting the winner of Tuesday’s eliminator between Jamaica Tallawahs and last year’s losing finalists, St Lucia Kings, for another shot at the final.
Man-of-the-Match Cornwall provided Royals with the ideal start, posting 56 for the first wicket with Kyle Mayers who struck a four and three sixes in scoring 26 from 20 deliveries.
All told, Cornwall clobbered two fours and 11 sixes, reaching his half-century in the 13th over off 39 balls by clearing the ropes at deep mid-wicket with fast bowler Odean Smith.
Mayers and Harry Tector (0) fell in quick succession but Cornwall kept flexing his muscle, adding a further 90 for the fourth wicket with Azam Khan whose 52 came from 35 balls and included three fours and four sixes.
Cornwall finally perished in the 17th over with three figures in sight, picking out long on with left-arm spinner Shakib-al-Hasan.
Faced with a near 10-runs per over chase, Amazon Warriors buckled under the pressure and slumped to 32 for four in the sixth over.
Simmonds hurt them in the power-play, bowling Shai Hope for 16 with an absolute beauty in the fifth over before sending back Shakib two balls later for one, lbw to a full length delivery.
The left-handed Hetmyer, who counted three fours and a six, attempted to rebuild the innings in a 29-run fifth wicket stand with Keemo Paul (13) but Cornwall surfaced again to dent those hopes.
In a crucial tenth over, the off-spinner got Paul to smash a long hop into Jason Holder’s lap in the deep and then had the dangerous Romario Shepherd skying to cover for one, as Amazon Warriors lost four wickets for 11 runs in a disastrous 41-ball period.
There was to be no recovery, Hetmyer becoming the penultimate casualty in the 15th over at 88 for nine, miscuing Simmonds to cover. (CMC)