Shimron Hetmyer’s breezy, unbeaten 79 overshadowed Chris Gayle’s fighting 86 as Guyana Amazon Warriors began their CPL 2018 campaign with a six-wicket win over St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots. Asked to bat, Patriots could only post a total of 146 for 5 in their allotted 20 overs, with Gayle not getting much support from the other end. Despite losing early wickets, the Amazon Warriors were able to get over the line comfortably thanks to Hetmyer’s 45-ball knock, which included nine fours and four sixes.
After losing Evin Lewis early, a watchful partnership between Gayle and Tom Cooper ensued. Barring three fours off Gayle’s bat, and some bonus runs via leg-byes and wides, it was a quiet powerplay as Patriots could only manage 32 runs. Gayle finally upped the ante, taking on Imran Tahir and Chris Green for a flurry of sixes. But it was a struggle at the other end as Cooper wasn’t able to find the boundaries. He also couldn’t rotate the strike and he eventually fell to Keemo Paul for a 21-ball 15.
Despite Gayle managing the big hits from time to time, it took Patriots 16 overs to reach the 100-run mark, with another Australian – Ben Cutting – batting in a sedate manner. Cutting did manage a six and a four during his outing before getting out to Sohail Tanvir for a 14-ball 15. How much Patriots would end up with depended on Gayle’s final assault. The left-hander threatened to unleash mayhem when he struck two fours off Rayad Emrit in the 18th over. But Tahir ensured that the Gayle threat didn’t last till the final over, dismissing the left-hander in the penultimate over which helped restrict Patriots below 150.
The Amazon Warriors suffered early setbacks in the chase as Sheldon Cottrell and Sandeep Lamichhane combined to pick up three wickets between them in the first three overs. Luke Ronchi was bowled by Cottrell in the opening over and Chadwick Walton toe-ended a catch to mid-on to give Lamichhane his first CPL wicket. Shoaib Malik started in a promising fashion, nailing three fours in succession off Cottrell before the bowler had the last laugh.
The quick wickets didn’t have an effect on Hetmyer, whose first bit of aggression began in the fourth over when he struck a four and two sixes off Cooper. Alzarri Joseph too came under attack, conceding three fours and a six in the fifth over. Jason Mohammed was more of a strike provider in a 62-run fourth-wicket stand in which he scored 16 before Lamichhane bagged his second wicket and finished with fine figures of 2 for 12 on his CPL debut.
Lamichhane’s economical performance, however, didn’t make much of a difference to the tone of Amazon Warrirors’ innings as Hetmyer brought up a 29-ball fifty and built a steady partnership with Green to guide the team in the chase. Things slowed down a touch before Hetmyer pounced on Cutting to score two fours and a six in the 16th over, and finished it off in style with a boundary off Joseph in the next.
Brief scores: St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots 146/5 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 86; Keemo Paul 2-16) lost to Guyana Amazon Warriors 148/4 in 16.3 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 79*; Sandeep Lamichhane 2-12) by 6 wickets.