BASSETERRE, St Kitts — An excellent opening partnership between Lendl Simmons and Martin Guptill set up a thumping victory for the Guyana Amazon Warriors as they booked their place in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League final with ease at Warner Park yesterday.
Both openers reached half- centuries as defending champions, the Jamaica Tallawahs, were eliminated from the tournament. Both knocks were near chanceless efforts as they became the first side to win a CPL match by 10 wickets.
Guyana Amazon Warriors Captain Denesh Ramdin said: "It was a very important toss to win today, as the pitch looked like it would be a bit slow to begin with and hard for the batsmen to get the ball away. Narine then bowled very well in the middle overs and we were able to restrict them to below 140."
Having batted brilliantly in the first play-off game on Wednesday, the Tallawahs set a below-par total as they never recovered from a slow start that saw them go at less than a run a ball inside the fielding restrictions. Some tight bowling from the Amazon Warriors meant that it was a cautious opening few overs, but the Tallawahs went too far into their shell on an excellent St Kitts pitch.
"Our batting has been very disappointing since we arrived in St Kitts. One hundred and eighty was the minimum total we needed to set them and again we were not able to give our strong bowling attack enough runs to defend. The four teams that made the final week of the competition are very close in terms of ability and any one of them could beat the other on their day," said Jamaica Tallawahs coach Mickey Arthur.
Chadwick Walton was almost run out in the third over of the Jamaican innings, but the throw at the stumps was off target. Although chances for wickets were few and far between, so were boundaries. While the strength of the Warriors' bowling attack made this low-risk approach understandable, it was leaving a lot of work for the Jamaican batsmen at the end of the innings.
The first wicket did not fall until the 10th over, Walton the man to go as he was caught in the deep off the bowling of Sunil Narine. The issue for the Tallawahs was that, while they had wickets in hand, they had only reached 56 by the end of the first 10 overs. The pressure was on Gayle to accelerate in the second half of the innings, having eaten up so many deliveries early on. He tried to push things on but fell in the attempt. He was well caught by Simmons at long on as he tried to clear the ropes.
All eyes turned to Andre Russell. Fresh from his brilliant match-winning knock in the first play-off game, it was up to him to get this misfiring innings going. He looked to be finding his feet when he was dismissed in the most unfortunate of circumstances.
Nkrumah Bonner hit a ball into the ground that looped over the head of Krishmar Santokie. The bowler managed to get his fingertips to it and it dribbled into the stumps at the non-strikers end to see Russell run out well short of his ground.
Simmons became the leading run scorer in this year's tournament during this innings, and barring something remarkable from one of the Barbados Tridents' batsmen in the final tomorrow he will finish top of the run scoring tree. Perhaps his only challenge for the leading batsman title is his opening partner who is fourth on the list.