Destructive Ronchi books Qualifier 2 berth for Warriors

Leg-stump, leg-stump and off-stump – that was what Rashid Khan knocked over with a barrage of googlies as he picked up the first hat-trick in the history of the Caribbean Premier League. In the Eliminator at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad, Kumar Sangakkara’s gallant unbeaten half-century was trumped by a brilliant one from Luke Ronchi to knock out the defending champions. The New Zealander, at his destructive best, took Guyana Amazon Warriors to a comfortable five-wicket win, sealing their berth in the Qualifier 2 against Trinbago Knight Riders, in the process knocking out Jamaica Tallawahs.

Sangakkara took his side to 168 for 8 after being in a position of strife at 116 for 7 at one stage. With Chadwick Walton welcoming the Tallawahs with a straight-driven six off the first ball of the innings, the Warriors had made their intentions clear, eventually chasing down the target with 13 balls to spare on Wednesday (September 6).

Walton carried on from where he left off the previous time the two teams met when he scored a 40-ball 84 – an innings that comprised of six sixes and eight boundaries – as he took on the Jamaican bowlers from the onset, without letting them settle. Sohail Tanvir bagged another failure as an opener, departing for 7. Walton, though, added to the tally with a quickfire 23-ball 39 in a 67-run stand with Ronchi as the Warriors were cruising at 90 for 1 in 8 overs – well above the asking rate.

Dew was causing the fielding side problems to the extent of a furious Sangakkara letting through four byes as the ball skidded through his legs and ran away to the boundary. Mahmudullah though relieved them of some pressure by sending back Walton in the 9th over. He returned to pick up Jason Mohammed and Gajanand Singh in successive overs, but Ronchi was going strong at the other end, and he was Guyana’s sheet anchor, with the ball skidding onto the bat much easier than it was in the first innings.

As long as Ronchi was in the middle, they had little to worry, with even the run-rate being less than a run a ball as the spinners struggled to grip the ball. But Ronchi was trapped leg before by Mohammad Sami, with 14 left to get off 22, for a brilliant 70 that came just off 33 balls. Assad Fudadin though, rotating the strike effectively in his 24-ball stay, wrapped up proceedings with a maximum to take his side over the line, remaining unbeaten on 29.

Factoring in the abundance of dew Warriors’ skipper Rayad Emrit opted to chase, but Tanvir and Veerasammy Permaul leaking runs upfront would’ve made him wonder if it was the right decision. Lendl Simmons and Kennar Lewis, on the other hand, gave the Tallawahs an ideal start as the opening pair raced away to 40 within five overs. Emrit brought himself into the attack and struck in his opening over, pitching in one short that caused the downfall of Lewis. Steven Jacobs then dealt the Tallawahs a double blow sending back Simmons (34) and Mahmudullah in the same over.

In walked skipper Sangakkara to stage a rescue act. Trevon Griffith added 39 runs for the fourth wicket with Sangakkara, albeit at a pace slower than what they would’ve wanted, but at that stage, a stand was required to rebuild and capitalise on it towards the end. Griffith departed soon enough, but Rashid’s triple blow reduced the Tallawahs to 116 for 7 in the 15th over. What seemed like a 189-190 finish at that stage was pulled back significantly. But as Sangakkara has done many a times in his illustrious career, he stood up and gave his side a total to contend with en route his fourth half-century of the season, remaining unbeaten on 57 off 38 balls. Although Rashid picked up three wickets, he went for as many as eight runs an over.

Brief scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 168/8 in 20 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 57*, Lendl Simmons 34; Rashid Khan 3-32, Steven Jacobs 2-33) lost to Guyana Amazon Warriors 169/5 in 17.5 overs (Luke Ronchi 70, Chadwick Walton 39; Mahmudullah 3-25) by five wickets

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