Narine steals show for Guyana in win
Guyana Amazon Warriors 140 for 8 (Ramdin 51, Cottrell 3-24) beat Antigua Hawksbills 136 for 8 (Dunk 38, Neesham 3-33, Narine 0-3) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Guyana Amazon Warriors laid forth their intentions to get back to the Caribbean Premier League final with a two-wicket win over Antigua Hawksbills on Friday afternoon in the opening match of the Caribbean Premier League 2014 in Grenada. The slim final margin belied the true disparity between the sides after Sunil Narine's near flawless bowling spell meant last year's CPL runners-up faced a modest target of 137. Guyana lost three wickets for two runs in six balls late in the chase but eventually eased across the line with three balls to spare.
Guyana captain Denesh Ramdin was named Man of the Match for his 51 off 36 balls, but Narine was arguably the standout performer on the day. He returned sensational figures of 4-1-3-0 to tie a record for the fewest runs conceded in a four-over T20 spell. The mark is shared by two others including Shoaib Malik for Barbados Tridents in CPL 2013, also made against Antigua.
Ramdin won the toss and put Antigua in to bat. Australian import Ben Dunk got the side off to an impressive start, targeting the spin of Mohammed Hafeez for two fours and a six in the fourth over to move to 33 for 0. At that stage, Dunk was on 32 and his partner Shacaya Thomas was anchored on 1. In what would be a recurring theme on the day, Narine appeared in the following over and choked off the runs.
Dunk tried to attack Ronsford Beaton in the sixth over and paid for it by chipping a top edge to Hafeez at midwicket for 38. Thomas' struggles against spin ended for 20 in the 14th over after a top-edged sweep against Veerasammy Permaul was taken by Hafeez at fine leg. Narine increased the pressure, conceding one run in the 15th, and even though the score was a healthy 103 for 2, with five overs remaining, the desperation for runs was manifested in the first of three run-outs. Off the first ball of the 16th, Danza Hyatt took off prematurely from the non-striker's end only to see Krishmar Santokie field off his own bowling and hit the stumps.
In the next over, Marlon Samuels chose to run for a tight single past silly point but Ramdin scurried from behind the stumps and fired another direct hit at the bowler's end. Following David Hussey's dismissal at the hands of Jimmy Neesham for 10 in the 18th, Devon Thomas attempted to resuscitate the Antigua innings with a big six over long-on in the 19th but was fortunate to survive two balls later when he miscued the same shot and Martin Guptill wound up parrying the ball over the rope for four.
Sheldon Cottrell tried to finish with a flourish for Antigua by flicking over midwicket for a boundary to start the 20th but a wild charge on the third ball resulted in a run-out after some indecision on whether or not to steal a bye. Neesham followed that with the wickets of Carlos Brathwaite and Justin Athanaze off the next two deliveries and a superb final pver kept the score to 136 for 8.
Guyana's chase got off to a rocky start in the first two overs with the loss of their openers. Lendl Simmons was bowled by a Cottrell inswinger for a duck and was followed by Guptill in the next over. The experience of Hafeez and Ramdin came through with a 59-run third-wicket stand before Hafeez fell off the final ball of the 10th, trying to slog the off spin of Samuels out of the ground only to sky a chance over the pitch that was claimed by the keeper.
Ramdin accelerated towards his fifty by stroking four boundaries off the next three overs to bring the equation down closer to a run a ball. Neesham holed out to long-on for 11 to give Cottrell his second but Guyana were still in control needing 28 off the last five overs with six wickets in hand. Ramdin brought up his half-century off 34 balls with a single to start the 16th before Guyana stumbled with victory in sight.
Christopher Barnwell checked a cut shot and spooned a simple catch to Hyatt at point for Ben Laughlin's first wicket. Laughlin and Hyatt teamed up again four balls later to remove Navin Stewart. Antigua would have started to believe the match might just be theirs when Ramdin was bowled by Brathwaite off the first ball of the 17th over, leaving the tail to score 25 off 23 deliveries.
Permaul got just enough of a Laughlin slower ball in the 18th to clear the rope at long-on for six, after which a four squirted through point deflated Antigua. Permaul fell with seven balls remaining, hooking Cottrell to long-leg, but the dismissal came after he had done damage. After his exploits with the ball earlier in the day, Narine fittingly clinched the win with a thumping drive back down the ground for a four in the 20th.