CPL: Rutherford, Hetmyer blitz Warriors into final after thriller
SUMMARY: Trinbago Knight Riders 122-7 (Colin Ingram 24, Darren Bravo 24; Chris Green 2-8, Rayad Emrit 2-22) lost to Guyana Amazon Warriors 126-8 (Shimron Hetmyer 39; Sherfane Rutherford 30; Sunil Narine 1-9, Khary Pierre 2-18) by two wickets and one ball remaining
By Akeem Greene
The saying ‘T20 cricket is not for the faint-hearted’ was aptly demonstrated on Tuesday evening with Guyana Amazon Warriors pinching one of the most thrilling victories in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history, playing in Qualifier One against defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders.
The nerve-wrecking two-wicket victory meant Warriors have continued their rich history by reaching their fourth final in six years, chasing 123 with one ball remaining at the National Stadium, Providence.
Brazen assaults from Sherfane Rutherford (30 from 17) followed by Romario Shepherd (13 from six) left the defending champions stunned and a massive crowd screaming to the top of their lungs.
Warriors stuttered at the start in pursuit of the target, but young superstar Shimron Hetmyer held the innings together with a compact 39 (2x4s; 2x6s).
Though the total on face value was below-par, the slow and turning nature of the pitch, combined with TKR’s crafty spinners, made it a tough ask.
Spin immediately proved to be key with Cameron Delport falling to Fawad Ahmed in the third over and Luke Ronchi soon after to Sunil Narine.
Warriors only made 23 in the Powerplay. Runs continued to dry up with the half-way stage only 37 scored and three wickets down; Narine had bowled three of those overs.
The turning point in TKR’s favour came when Chadwick Walton was run-out just as himself and Hetmyer were beginning to look threatening.
Just after hitting Khary Pierre for two fours, Walton attempted to muscled one down the ground, but Pierre’s dynamic fielding, saw Walton being short despite a desperate dive.
Chris Green went two balls later without scoring and TKR now had the upper hand in the dicey contest.
With 71 needed from 48, the young guns in Rutherford and Hetmyer added 50 in just 29 balls.
Rutherford in particular did most of the damage striking four fours and a six. Warriors were coasting and the pendulum swung again when both batsmen fell in the space of two delivers.
It left 18 runs needed from 13 and Shepherd blasted the first ball for a towering six.
By the final over where four was needed off six, most finger nails might have been bitten-off by then. The first ball went for one.
Sohail Tanveer was unable to score off the next three Dwayne Bravo deliveries then the fifth ball, boom, a thumping six into the sight screen and the party started at Providence.
The organisers’ inclination to have Decision Referral System in 2019 might now be solidified with Tanveer reaping a fortuitous leg-before dismissal of Brendon McCullum in the first over. The lanky seamer jagged it back off a length, hitting McCullum on the thigh and much surprise, the umpire raised the dreaded finger.
It went from bad to worse for TKR as leading run-scorer Colin Munro misjudged a Green delivery which turned and he lobbed it straight to cover. Denesh Ramdin, who took 12 runs off Tanveer’s second over, was trapped sweeping Imran Tahir.
Narine struggled for 15 balls in making eight and made it a wicket-maiden for Green in the sixth over. Knight Riders were in all sorts of trouble at 26-4.
Darren Bravo and Colin Ingram were steady in rebuilding and laying for the foundation for a possible late surge on a pitch that looked more on the slow side. There was a chance to put the visitors under even more pressure, but Tanveer floored Bravo at mid-off in the 12th over. It was another crafty over from Rayad Emrit.
The rate of scoring was still below par even though Bravo and Ingram began taking more risks and got some boundaries.
Both departed just two overs apart after a frustrating stay in the middle. Bravo made 24 from 33 and Ingram 25 from 26 in a partnership of 48 from 53 balls. The stats embodied how disciplined the Warriors were in the field.
Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper had some fireworks where they added 36 in the final four which saw the first Hero Maximum being hit in the 19th over.
TKR return home and await the winner of Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts Patriots, who clash at Providence on Wednesday (September 12) in the Eliminator from 18:00h.