CPL 2023: Sixth time is the charm? Time will tell!

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By Vishani Ragobeer 

vishani@newsroom.gy

The Guyana Amazon Warriors have done what they do best!

Throughout this year’s edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), they played really well.

Well enough to secure a spot in the final game and well enough to raise their supporters’ hopes sky-high.

And like the bonafide supporter I am, I can only say what I know best: this year is we year!

The convincing 81-run victory over the Jamaica Tallawahs, the defending champions, on Friday is enough to fill me with hope (or possibly intensify my delusions) that we could finally clinch that elusive title.

Dwaine Pretorius (no,6) of Guyana Amazon Warriors celebrates with teammates after getting the wicket of Alex Hales of Jamaica Tallawahs (Photo by Ashley Allen – CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images)

It was one of those games that you had to watch live to really appreciate the hunger the Warriors seem to have this year (please don’t gaslight me into thinking that I’m just delusional!).

And captain Imran Tahir, who should be an honorary Guyanese by this point, seems to be the hungriest of us all.

To be fair, has there been a game when Tahir didn’t turn things around, or try to turn things around, with his bowling?

And whether it’s asking spin extraordinaire Gudakesh Motie to defend six overs in a last-over thriller in an earlier game against the Barbados Royals or backing the boys and their capabilities, hasn’t he been a good captain overall?

I think he has been a good captain for us and I really hope he will become the first overseas captain to win a title in the CPL.

I hope he gets that title this Sunday.

Will Imran Tahir help the Guyana Amazon Warriors bring the title home this year? (Photo: CPL T20/ September 22, 2023)

Now, I wasn’t one of 15,000 or so people at the National Stadium, Providence, for the Qualifier Two clash between the Warriors and the Tallawahs.

Still, I could sense that hunger through the screen at Villagio where I was watching the game.

I think we were really committed to the task of making it to the final and not just beating the Tallawahs.

Homeboy Shimron Hetmyer, for one, seemed to bat and field a bit more seriously this time around, even if he didn’t contribute a massive set of runs.

And the Tallawahs certainly did not make it easy for us to win, well, at least until their batting collapsed during the chase.

Unlike watching the game at the stadium, you can only ever focus on what the cameraperson is focused on.

So all night, I had the not-so-fun task of celebrating a boundary when the ball goes up in the air or down!! the ground only to see, two seconds later, that Jamaica’s Fabian Allen stopped the ball before the boundary line.

Allen is one of my favourite West Indian cricketers and, let’s be honest, he’s a great fielder.

But jeez, the man d just deh!

And if Allen’s apparent omnipresence and boundary-blocking abilities weren’t enough, we had to deal with an eyebrow-raising call when Azam Khan was making it rain boundaries at Providence.

I don’t care what anyone says about the ball, the bounce and the webbing on the gloves: You cannot convince me that Shamarh Brooks properly caught Khan behind the wicket.

Azam Khan of Guyana Amazon Warriors plays an attacking shot ( CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images)

That was clearly not out and I will take that to my grave, thank you very much.

Nevertheless, we had a good total and our bowlers brought it home for us.

I mean, with the Tallawahs at 41-5 by the end of the Powerplay, it was practically smooth sailing…for the Warriors!

I didn’t even break a sweat when Odean Smith came to bowl, after being left out in the game before.

Our task now is to beat our arch-rivals, the Trinbago Knight Riders in the final game.

We’ve beaten them many times before and twice this tournament but obviously, the stakes are much higher now.

I don’t know if I have it in me to take the taunts from my Trinidadian friends like a woman again this year.

Last year, I may have overdone the mocking when the Knight Riders finished at the bottom of the table, so I know those friends are waiting to get me back.

I also don’t know how, as a nation, we can keep believing that each year will be our year if we don’t at least win one time.

The Guyana Amazons Warriorsat brunch with President Dr. Irfaan Ali (Photo: Office of the President/ September 23, 2023)

I saw President Irfaan Ali had brunch with the players and the management team at State House on Saturday.

I don’t know what discussions they had, but I wouldn’t be mad if the President impressed upon them, putting it that way, the absolute need to win on Sunday.

I also hope that he discussed the holiday he will be giving us on Monday when we win.

After all, celebration after hard work is one of the fundamental beliefs of this country, especially if it has to do with winning a maiden title in the 11th attempt…yes you read that correctly!

No doubts. This is we year!

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