Walton, Ronchi ensure Amazon Warriors all but qualify

Guyana Amazon Warriors’ surge toward the final CPL playoff berth continued on Friday night at Sabina Park as they walloped the Jamaica Tallawahs by nine wickets. Chadwick Walton rocked to the top of the CPL scoring charts after his unbeaten 84 off 40 balls helped clinch victory with 57 balls to spare.

Warriors started the week with a +0.061 net run rate advantage on Barbados Tridents. But their second heavy win of the week, following on from their 99-run demolition of Barbados Tridents on Tuesday, has swelled their lead in the tiebreaker to +1.409. It means the Tridents will need to beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and first-place Trinbago Knight Riders in their final two matches this weekend by sizable margins to overtake them.

Sangakkara’s fifty streak ends

Tallawahs had made an assured start after a 79-run stand between captain Kumar Sangakkara and Andre McCarthy. When McCarthy fell in the 14th over for 44 off 35 balls, it was up to Sangakkara to carry on for a big score.

However, he fell a dozen short of the milestone for 38 when his attempted paddle flick over short fine leg off Rayad Emrit failed to clear Jason Mohammed on the circle on the last ball of the 16th over. With both set batsmen now gone, Tallawahs limped through to the end of the innings, adding just 29 off the final four overs.

Free-flowing Walton

Oshane Thomas began his first match on Wednesday night with three dots including the wicket of Chris Gayle. On Friday night, his first two deliveries were a pair of massive oversteps. Walton pulverized both free hits over square leg for six – the second one a deep strike into a parking lot. Walton punished Krishmar Santokie’s opening over from the opposite end for three boundaries, driving him twice through mid-off and a third time over point.

The free-hits for Walton returned in the fourth over courtesy of Kesrick Williams. After a boundary through midwicket to start the over, Walton carved a Williams no-ball over point for another. Walton then made it a hat-trick of sixes off free-hits with a slash over third man. Walton mocked Williams’ notebook wicket celebration after each shot, plucking out his own quill to mark notches in his bat.

Powerplay mark

There was no respite at the other end as Luke Ronchi – who entered at the end of the first over after the fall of Sohail Tanvir – smashed Thomas for two sixes and a four in the third over. Ronchi then signed off on Williams’ disastrous 26-run fourth over with a six clubbed back over the bowler’s head.

Even when change bowlers stemmed the flow of runs, the Tallawahs fielders did them in. Williams’ wayward throw from short fine leg to the bowler’s end off Mahmudullah resulted in four overthrows in the fifth over. Ronchi and Walton were then dropped off consecutive balls bowled by Mohammad Sami in the sixth over. By the time the Powerplay was done, Warriors were on 88 for 1, the joint-highest Powerplay in CPL history, equaling Trinbago Knight Riders’ electric chase earlier this year.

Partnership mark

The runs and no-balls – Williams overstepped another three times on consecutive deliveries in the 10th over – continued unabated for the rest of the chase as Walton and Ronchi finished with an unbeaten 135-run stand, the highest partnership for any wicket in CPL 2017. Both had opportunities to eclipse the individual fastest half-century of the season – jointly held by Darren Sammy and Colin Munro, in 23 balls – but Walton eventually reached his half-century in 26 balls while Ronchi took one delivery longer.

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