Guyana Amazon Warriors continued their unbeaten start to the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when they beat Barbados Royals by three runs in a final over thriller earlier this afternoon.
Amazon Warriors won the toss and batted first at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, making 181-9 in 20 overs. The Royals pushed their opponents closer than anyone else has this season but still fell short, ending on 178-8 in the allotted overs.
Much to the surprise of everyone at the ground, slow left arm spinner Gudakesh Motie made his way out to the middle with regular opener Saim Ayub as an experimental pinch hitter. The gamble didn’t pay off as he returned to the pavilion after 1.3 overs with just seven runs from eight deliveries. Barbadian Shai Hope showed his class once again with another half-century as he combined with Ayub for a 98-run partnership for the second wicket. Once Ayub was caught and bowled by Carlos Brathwaite for 58, there were cameos from Hetmyer (24) and Keemo Paul (28) to set an ominous total of 181-9.
Pick of the Royals bowlers was Carlos Brathwaite who gave everyone watching a reminder of his class as he finished with figures of 4-27 in his four overs, including key wickets of Ayub and Hetmyer. Despite the side being punished for late over fielding penalties which saw them go down to ten men on the field, he got three wickets in the 19th over in a fine display of death bowling.
The theme of losing power play wickets would continue for the Royals as openers Rahkeem Cornwall (8) and Kyle Mayers (16) were back inside within the first five overs. However, the Royals reached 54-2 at the end of the six over.
Englishman Laurie Evans put on a 60 partnership with diminutive left-hander Alick Athanaze which put the Royals on surer footing in the chase.
Evans fell six runs short of his half-century when he committed to an Odean Smith delivery too early and gave him a return catch. Just twelve balls later, Athanaze joined him inside for 27 runs having fallen to Romario Shepherd.
Captain Rovman Powell got his side close to an unlikely victory as his cameo of 39 runs meant the equation required was 31 runs from 19 deliveries. He fell immediately after but Brathwaite and Justin Greaves got the task down to just six runs needed from the last over.
Motie was tasked with pulling off the very improbable task of defending the runs and he did just that, conceding two runs and dismissing both batsmen at the crease to seal a famous victory.
Barbados Royals will close out their season next Sunday with a replay of today’s game at the Providence Stadium in Guyana. Up next for the Amazon Warriors is a game against Jamaica Tallawahs on Wednesday, at the Providence Stadium.
Guyana Amazon Warriors 181-9 in 20 overs (Saim Ayub 58, Shai Hope 54; Brathwaite 4-27). Barbados Royals 178-8 in 20 overs (Laurie Evans 44, Rovman Powell 39; Dwaine Pretorius 2-24, Gudakesh Motie 2-38). Guyana Amazon Warriors won by three runs.