Guyana Amazon Warriors 162 for 2 (King 81*, Hemraj 33) beat St Lucia Zouks 161 for 7 (de Grandhomme 65, Laughlin 3-12, Tahir 2-23) by eight wickets
Guyana Amazon Warriors continued their incredible unbeaten run in CPL 2019, reeling off their seventh straight win with an impressive chase of St Lucia Zouks' 161 for 7, with eight wickets and ten balls in hand. Darren Sammy's men could not back up his unusual decision to bat first, especially not after a stuttering start that was epitomised by an embarrassing run-out of Rahkeem Cornwall who failed to ground his bat attempting to complete an easy single in the sixth over.
Brandon King piloted the chase with his third consecutive half-century for Warriors, who have shown no signs of slowing down having entered the night already with their spot in the playoffs secured. Zouks, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to create some breathing room between them, Jamaica Tallawahs and Barbados Tridents. Instead, they are clinging onto the fourth place by one point with just two more matches to play in the league stage.
A Grand reprieve
After Cornwall's sloppy run-out, things could have been even worse for Zouks had Warriors not been as sloppy in the field. Colin de Grandhomme was on 12 when he flicked Shoaib Malik loosely in the air to deep midwicket but Sherfane Rutherford clumsily spilled the catch over the boundary for a six.
De Grandhomme teed off against Romario Shepherd in the 13th over for a six and a four, eventually bringing up a 27-ball half-century. Shepherd finally got his revenge in the 17th over when de Grandhomme skied a drive to Odean Smith on the cover boundary. Still, Zouks looked a chance to post a competitive target when Shepherd continued to leak runs in the 19th over, giving up a trio of sixes to Chris Barnwell to start the frame as Shepherd finished with expensive figures of 1 for 51 from his four overs.
Guyana gets the last Laugh(lin)
Ben Laughlin had come into the XI in place of Keemo Paul and had already struck once in the 14th over to dismiss Jahmar Hamilton. But he did even more damage at the death to put the brakes on Zouks' late charge.
With Sammy on strike to start the 20th over and Barnwell having rocked Shepherd in the previous over, Laughlin's three-run over to claim both was a backbreaker to the hosts' chances. After two singles off the first three balls, Sammy top-edged a back-of-a-length ball to short fine leg. Barnwell swung through a length delivery next ball as Laughlin rattled the stumps to set up a hat-trick ball. Jeavor Royal was able to nudge it down the ground for a single but the damage had already been done.
The Warriors opener reversed the damage done by Barnwell, and how. The right-hand batsman got his side off to another excellent start as he and Chandrapaul Hemraj added 52 for the opening stand. However, King should have been easily stumped for 10 at the start of the sixth over, but Hamilton - and Zouks - paid dearly for fluffing that after King was defeated by a googly charging Fawad Ahmed's first ball of the night.
Barnwell then compounded that error with a drop at deep square leg in the seventh over with King on 23, spilling a sliding effort that he got to in plenty of time off Royal's bowling. Even though Shimron Hetmyer fell on the next ball to briefly halt Warriors' momentum, King made sure not to let Barnwell forget about it in the 12th over, belting his first two balls for back-to-back sixes to bring up a 36-ball half-century. A trio of fours by Malik off Barnwell and Hardus Viljoen in the 12th and 13th overs brought the equation under a run a ball and the rest of the chase was a cinch from there.