CPL: King (132*) muscles Amazon Warriors to fifth final

SUMMARY: Warriors 218-3 (King 132*, Malik 32, Hemraj 27, Pooran 12*, Walsh Jr 2-42) v Tridents 188-8 from 20 overs (Carter 49, Hales 36, Holder 29, Shepherd 3-50, Tahir 2-13, Smith 2-25)

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By Akeem Greene

Brandon King’s brazen 132* has sent an unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors romping into their fifth Hero Caribbean Premier League final in seven years after crushing Barbados Tridents by 30 runs in Qualifier One at Providence Sunday. The win, before a capacity crowd, was the Warriors 11th in as many games this season.

King, who before the tournament had just one half-century in 18 T20s, returned atop the CPL batting charts with a truly sensational innings of clean hitting which powered him to a maiden T20 ton and the highest score in CPL history, eclipsing the 121 made by Andre Russell against Trinbago Knight Riders last year.

Brandon King of Guyana Amazon Warriors celebrates his century during the Hero Caribbean Premier League Play-Off match 32 between Guyana Amazon Warriors and Barbados Tridents at Guyana National Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/Getty Images)

In his superlative innings, the 24-year-old took 36 balls to reach 50, but 82 came from his next 36 balls. In the brutal assault, he smashed 10 fours and 11 towering maximums in his fourth score of fifty or more this season.

No surprises that the Jamaican was the main architect in two of the biggest overs in the innings, firstly bashing Shakib Al Hasan for 29 in the 16th over then carrying Harry Gurney the journey for 26 in the final over, as Warriors scored 69 from their final four overs.

King and Chandrapaul Hemraj once again laid a solid platform, racking up 73 for the opening stand in 9.1 overs on a wicket which an hour before, both teams in the Eliminator struggled to find rhythm.

Hemraj’s 27 came from 23 balls, and he fell going after Hayden Walsh Jr, and Jason Holder soon bounced out Shimron Hetmyer for three.

Shoaib Malik came and wasted little time to hit top gear in a partnership of 97 from 47 balls with King. His 32 (3x6s) from 19 balls was duly overshadowed, but it brought the needed stability and allowed King to go full throttle throughout the middle and death overs.

Nicholas Pooran added the icing on the cake with 12 from just three balls in a hasty 38-run stand from nine balls with King.

Scoreboard pressure was without a doubt and Tridents would need Alex Hales to hit form. He threatened in the early stages, when he creamed 18 runs off Chris Green in the fourth over.

Supporters of Guyana Amazon Warriors during the Hero Caribbean Premier League Play-Off match 32 between Guyana Amazon Warriors and Barbados Tridents at Guyana National Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/Getty Images)

However, the strategy of bossing the Powerplay with spin continued to work when Imran Tahir bowled Hales for 36 when he attempted a slog sweep. In a match where the required run rate started at 10.9, the 40 year-old’s four overs went for just 13 and he picked two wickets

Malik entered the attack in the seventh over and got the crucial wicket of Shakib before he could do any damage. Jean-Paul Duminy and Shai Hope went at a decent clip to add 33 in 21 balls, however, Odean Smith castled the former’s stump via an inside edge.

Romario Shepherd switched ends and took the last hope for Tridents when he cramped Hope for room in a skewed shot to cover. It was another start by a batsman and another failed attempt to carry on for a big and impactful innings.

Odean Smith of Guyana Amazon Warriors celebrates the dismissal of Jean Paul Duminy of Barbados Tridents during the Hero Caribbean Premier League Play-Off match 32 between Guyana Amazon Warriors and Barbados Tridents at Guyana National Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images)

Johnathan Carter fell one short of a well-deserved half-century after hitting five fours and three sixes from 26 balls, in a sixth wicket stand of 47 from 23 balls with Jason Holder.

At his departure, Tridents needed 68 from 18 balls, and the incoming Raymond Reifer went for a first ball duck.

Holder and company struck it sweetly over the ropes, but it was little too late to salvage this match but they have one more and possibly two to salvage the tournament.

Warriors will now await the result of Thursday’s semi-final between Tridents and defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders at the Brian Lara Stadium to know who they face in Saturday’s final.

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