Chris Green, Imran Tahir shine as Guyana Amazon Warriors qualify for playoffs
The Warriors spinners combined for figures of 7 for 46 as they kept their perfect season rolling with a 12-run win (DLS method) against Barbados Tridents
Guyana Amazon Warriors 81 for 2 (King 51*) beat Barbados Tridents 138 (Duminy 38, Green 4-14, Tahir 2-22) by 12 runs (DLS method)
Guyana Amazon Warriors sealed a spot in the 2019 CPL playoffs with a 12-run win (DLS method) in a rain-truncated chase against Barbados Tridents. Their win was built on yet another impressive performance from their bowlers, particularly their spinners. Chris Green took a career-best 4 for 14, and Imran Tahir and Shoaib Malik took three between them as the spinners combined for figures of 11.3-0-46-7 to dismiss Tridents for 138. Tridents' spinners couldn't come into play as effectively, as Brandon King's unbeaten fifty led the way in a chase that was stopped after 11 overs by rain with Amazon Warriors comfortably ahead of the par score.
They now have 12 points in six matches, while Tridents stay in fourth place with four points in five games.
A cracking start with the bat
After being put in, Tridents were served several short and wide balls by Keemo Paul in the first over, with a free hit also thrown in. They made 17 off that over, but Johnson Charles fell, slicing a cut to third man.
Alex Hales, returning from the Vitality Blast, found his timing and played smart shots - flicks over square leg and one imperious cut through the covers. JP Duminy, caught in a rut last match, came out attacking too, picking up 14 off three in one sequence. Once again, it was Paul at the receiving end, with his second over going for 18. Tridents were 63 for 2 after the Powerplay.
Spinners turn the game
The very first ball after the Powerplay, Hales crunched a slog sweep off Tahir, but couldn't get enough elevation on it. He picked out Shimron Hetmyer at deep midwicket. Tahir made it a double-wicket over off the last ball, screeching desperately as Jonathan Carter was struck on the front pad. After long consideration, the umpire nodded his head and raised his finger. Carter wasn't pleased, but replays showed the legbreak had turned enough to hit him in line.
Jason Holder then struggled during his short stay, being beaten twice on the inside edge by Malik and Tahir, before chipping one to long-on off Malik. Amazon Warriors had used spin to apply a squeeze in their last match as well, with Malik playing the fourth spinner's role. On Sunday, he bowled four overs for ten runs.
With the middle order crashing rapidly, Green was back to bowl in the final stages of the innings and had Ashley Nurse stumped, Duminy caught at deep square leg, and closed the innings with wickets off consecutive deliveries.
A no-fuss chase
Chandrapaul Hemraj struggled for rhythm but did just enough to put up yet another formidable opening stand with King. They put on 61 in seven overs before Hemraj chipped one back off Sandeep Lamichhane. He had hit one handsome shot, a back-foot punch over extra cover for six previously, but fell for 20 off 23.
Hetmyer was out top-edging Duminy next over, but King had done enough to keep the pressure at bay. He hit three sixes, one running down the track and two rooted to the crease to lift over the leg side, and hit back-to-back boundaries square on either side just before rain stopped play. By that time, he was on 49 off 30 with Malik at the other end. The DLS par score was 61 for 2, and Amazon Warriors were 16 ahead.
When play resumed an hour and 15 minutes later, the revised target was 97 - 20 to win off four overs - and King brought up his fifty in the only over bowled before rain returned.
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo