Road to the 2019 CPL final - Guyana Amazon Warriors
The Caribbean Premier League 2019 has been the season of the Guyana Amazon Warriors. No team in the history of top T20 leagues has managed a perfect score in the league stages, but the Amazon Warriors managed a streak of 10 unbeaten games, topping the table, and how!
The streak stretched to 11 when 24-year-old Brandon King smashed a century to complete a comprehensive 30-run win in the semi-finals, taking them closer to their maiden title in the CPL.
The 2019 edition of the Caribbean Premier League, partnered by 10Cric.com, was always expected to be an extravagant affair, with a glittering line-up of T20 stars stacked in the player drafts. Captained by the hugely-experienced Shoaib Malik, they have set the stage on fire with their unbeaten run.
They started off steadily, winning the first game against St Lucia Zouks by 13 runs, with Pakistan’s Shadab Khan’s spell of 3-16 stealing the show with the ball. They displayed their depth in batting in the game, as No.7 and No.8 Keemo Paul and Chris Green slamming quickfire 38 and 28 respectively.
By the second game, the franchise had warmed up into a well-oiled machine, blanking St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by eight wickets, with Shimron Hetmyer smoking a fiery 70 off just 42 balls, helping them chase the 159-run target inside 19 overs. Each of their bowlers took at least a wicket, exhibiting how unified the bowling attack is.
The victories continued to be more comprehensive; the next one was against the Barbados Tridents. Warriors notched up a healthy 180, thanks to 60s from Chandrapaul Hemraj and Nicholas Pooran. It was Romario Shepherd who then came to the party with the ball, claiming 4-13 to rip the heart out of the chase and hand them a 47-run win.
The streak extended in the return game against the Patriots, which they won by 7 wickets, easily hunting down a 122-run target. Spinner Qais Ahmed was the standout performer with the ball, claiming three wickets in the first innings.
Against Jamaica Tallawahs, they garnered a massive 81 run win. Hemraj first blasted a 50 at the top, with captain Malik, at No.4, slamming a 37-ball 67. Cameos from others lifted them to 218, with the Tallawahs reaching nowhere close to the score, and Keemo Paul taking a three-wicket haul.
In their next game, a rain-affected one, Chris Green ran through the Barbados line-up to pick up four wickets, restricting the side to 138. With a revised target in front of them, Warriors raced to 81-2 in just 11 overs, with Brandon King remaining unbeaten on 51, off just 34.
The juggernaut rolled on further; against the Zouks, it was Ben Laughlin who picked up three wickets, restricting the batting team to 161, before Warriors’ opener King smashed a 59-ball 81, loaded with six sixes, to comfortably take his side home.
A middle-order collapse notwithstanding, they posted 185 in the next game, against the Knight Riders, with Hemraj coming good once again with 66, and Hetmyer assisting him with 48. A combined bowling effort then restricted the Knight Riders to 166, with both Green and Imran Tahir taking two wickets each.
They managed a huge win against the Tallawahs, despite the top-three not succumbing to the law of averages. The onus was on Malik, who steered them with a 45-ball 73 that took them to 156, helped by Rutherford’s 45 down the order. The Tallawahs folded for 79, with Imran Tahir snaring three victims.
Their final league game saw them pitted against the Knight Riders again; this time, it was Hemraj the bowler doing damage, taking three wickets to keep them on 143. A stylish 54 by Nicholas Pooran helped gobble up the target inside 19 overs.
They made it 11 in 11 with a 30-run win in the semis, with King powering them to 218 with an unbeaten 132 at the top. Shepherd then did his bit with the ball, taking three wickets, as the Warriors made their way into the final.
The side has been runners’ up four times but is still searching for their first title. The final, on October 12, could very well change that.
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