Guyana Amazon Warriors 169 for 6 (Tanvir 37*, Mohammed 36, Brathwaite 2-23) beat St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 168 for 7 (Gayle 40, Devcich 35, Tahir 4-22) by four wickets
The logjam at the top of the CPL has grown from two to three sides as Guyana Amazon Warriors snuck a four-wicket win at the wire over St Kitts and Nevis Patriots to join Trinbago Knight Riders and Jamaica Tallawahs on eight points in a tie for first place. It was a result of an unbeaten cameo from Sohail Tanvir, who struck two fours and three sixes in his 20-ball 37, and a haul of 4 for 22 from Imran Tahir that vaulted him from ninth to a tie for second on the CPL 2018 wickets chart with 11 scalps in six matches, and helped restrict the Patriots to a manageable total.
Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis fired the Patriots to a blistering Powerplay, ending on 62 for no loss. Gayle came into the match already a few hundred runs clear of Andre Fletcher as the leading scorer in CPL history, and on Tuesday night in St Kitts, he also become the first batsman in the six-year history of the league to cross 2000 runs.
Gayle did it in the fifth over against Tanvir. Entering the match, the Jamaican had never hit Tanvir for six in a CPL match since the fast bowler arrived in the tournament in season two. But Gayle made up for it, cracking Tanvir for 6, 4, 6, 4, 4 across the last five balls of the over. The middle delivery sailed straight over Tanvir's head, over the Warner Park roof and took Gayle past 2000. It took Keemo Paul's arrival in the eighth over to finally dislodge Gayle, who smashed a cut straight to backward point for 40 off 27 balls.
Tahir the runaway train
Once Paul struck, Tahir was unleashed in the ninth over and within four balls he struck for the first of his four wickets. The first blow was fairly innocuous, Lewis slashing at a wide delivery to send a catch to short third man, but Tahir was off and running halfway to the boundary in his customary celebration.
Brandon King, who outlasted Mohammad Irfan's near-flawless opening spell to strike his maiden CPL fifty on Saturday, could not survive Tahir's first ball after drinks as he played around a skiddy straight ball that knocked back the leg stump. Devon Thomas was then pinned lbw by a googly from Tahir in the 13th over. His final over was saved for the 17th, where he nabbed Mahmudullah with a miscued drive to extra cover. From 71 for 0, Patriots had slipped to 124 for 6 by the time Tahir's work for the night was done.
Emrit misses a trick
Amazon Warriors kept Patriots in the match thanks in part to some curious strategic moves by Rayad Emrit, who took over as captain on Tuesday night after Shoaib Malik went back to Pakistan to begin preparations for the Asia Cup. Paul had bowled superbly in the eighth and 10th overs, tying down Patriots after the wicket of Gayle for figures of 1 for 7 in two overs but was mystifyingly absent from the attack for the rest of the innings.
Despite Paul's experience as a death bowler, Emrit then chose to bowl the last over himself with figures of 3-0-32-0 and conceded 24 more runs. The sloppy over included two sixes by Ben Cutting followed by five wides sprayed well down the leg side and another thigh-high full toss that was lucky not to be hit by Cutting for a third six. Carlos Brathwaite muscled Emrit down the ground off the final ball for a four to take the Patriots to 168 for 7.
Last year's leading scorer and Player of the Tournament continued to struggle at CPL 2018. Chadwick Walton scratched his way to 8 off 17 balls and was trapped lbw by a Sheldon Cottrell slower ball in the fifth over. Walton had 458 runs in 2017, but has just 75 in six innings so far this tournament.
The best contribution from the top five of the Amazon Warriors batting order was Jason Mohammed's 36 off 25 and their best partnership was just 46, summing up a night of fits and starts. But they were aided immensely by some poor Patriots fielding and a total of 15 wides, the joint-most bowled by any team in a match this season.
Cutting took a pair of spectacular catches on the long-on boundary, the second of which resulted in the wicket of Roshon Primus off Brathwaite towards the end of the 18th over to make it 149 for 6, but they were lost in the shuffle of the sloppy misses that followed. Tanvir should have been out the very next ball for 20 when he skewed a low full toss high over cover, but Anton Devcich overran the chance haring back from the 30-yard ring only to see the ball land in between the painted markers as Tanvir took a single to keep the strike.
Needing 19 from the last two overs, Tanvir clubbed the first ball of Cottrell's next over flat over square leg for six, and then heaved a slower ball over midwicket for six more for a total of 16 from the over. With only three needed off the final over, Patriots then blew three clear-cut run-out chances on three singles as the Warriors made it home with a ball to spare.