Guyana Amazon Warriors 93 for 2 (King 51*) beat Barbados Tridents 92 (Naveen-ul-Haq 4-14) by eight wickets
The season-long batting woes for the defending champion the Barbados Tridents hit rock bottom on Tuesday night in a lopsided eight-wicket loss to the Guyana Amazon Warriors. After choosing to bat first, the Tridents were reduced to 27 for 8 after 12 overs, committing more run outs (two) than boundaries (zero) at that stage.
Only a face-saving innings from Mitchell Santner, who made 36 off 27 balls including a 48-run partnership with Rashid Khan for the ninth wicket, spared them further humiliation after they were in serious danger of breaking the mark for the CPL's lowest score, recorded by the then Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in 2013 who were bowled out for 52. Chris Green completed the astonishing figures of 4-2-3-1.
Unlike the St Lucia Zouks, who successfully defended a total of 92 against the Tridents just a few days earlier, the Tridents could not contain the Amazon Warriors in the chase. After a conservative start in which they scored just three boundaries in their own Powerplay, the Amazon Warriors lost their second wicket in the seventh to give the Tridents brief hope.
Unlike his unbeaten 45-ball hundred two days earlier, Nicholas Pooran was circumspect upon his arrival at the crease going without a boundary in his 33-ball 18 not out. Brandon King, who has struggled throughout the first half of CPL 2020, survived a testing spell from Khan to notch his first half-century of the tournament and eventually ended on 51 not out to complete a 58-run stand with Pooran to end the match with 20 balls to spare.
Though the scorecard may read the Tridents won the toss and elected to bat, a more accurate description might have been that they won the toss and elected to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot before crawling into a shell. It was evidence that their mental scars have not healed from the previous match against the Zouks in which they failed to chase 93.
After a leg bye to get the team off the mark, Justin Greaves became the first wicket of the night when he missed a sweep to a seam-up delivery from Green and was struck on the back leg in front of off stump five balls into the match. Johnson Charles tried to be positive in the second over, aiming to heave Kevin Sinclair's offspin straight down the ground, but Shimron Hetmyer produced a spectacular effort running 25 yards to his left from long-on before diving to pull off a pivotal catch in the context of what was to follow, making it 2 for 1.
It was to be one of the rare attempts by a Tridents batsmen to target the ropes in the first half of the innings as their approach turned increasingly negative. Jason Holder was run out after confusion over a second run - Holder was halfway down the pitch looking for two while Kyle Mayers was far less ambitious before belatedly turning Holder down as Kissoondath Mangram's relay to Pooran found Holder short.
Shai Hope's poor form continued when he chipped a gentle return catch to Sinclair in the fourth to make it 9 for 4. Mayers was a culprit in the second run out of the innings when, grustrated by Mayers' inability to rotate the strike, Jonathan Carter called for a single from the non-striker's end on a ball guided toward Keemo Paul at backward point.
Two balls after play resumed, Mayers top edged a pull against Naveen-ul-Haq that was well taken by Pooran running back toward the boundary. Naveen took two more to reduce the Tridents to 27 for 8 and after a counterattacking partnership between Santner and Khan, he removed his Afghan compatriot at deep midwicket to round out a four-wicket haul and cement Man-of-the-Match honors.
King for a day
The leading runscorer in CPL 2019 with 496 runs, Brandon King entered Tuesday night with just 60 runs in seven innings in this year's tournament. He nearly doubled that against the Tridents with a patient but productive knock.
King's first boundary came off the 10th ball of the chase when Santner dropped short outside off, giving him the width to crack four through cover. His bigger blows came against Holder though. After a sustained ploy bowling bouncers wide outside off, King shuffled well across his stumps to counter Holder by flicking another short ball high over fine leg for six. With the score 52 for 2 at drinks in 10 overs, King greeted Holder upon the resumption of play by swatting a length ball flat over midwicket for another six.
Even better evidence that King's confidence was restored came in the 13th when he went down on one knee to slog Khan against the turn through wide long-on. More audacious was his flick over fine leg for four against Raymon Reifer to end the 14th, picking a full delivery off middle stump after walking across his stumps.
The only blemish came at the end of the 16th over when he was spilled on 45 off a difficult diving chance at deep midwicket off Rashid by Hayden Walsh Jr. His next stroke to start the 17th brought up 1,000 runs in T20 cricket and he brought up his half-century off 48 balls. Another set of singles between King and Pooran iced the match, giving the Amazon Warriors sole possession of third place on the CPL points table while the Tridents teeter in fifth on the brink of missing the playoffs.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna