Tanvir, Tahir star in final-over thriller

Two foreign recruits – Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir – combined to script a thrilling four-wicket victory for Guyana Amazon Warriors over St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a final-over finish on Tuesday (August 28). The South African spinner’s four-fer kept the hosts to a manageable 168 from their allotted overs while the Pakistani pacer turned an unlikely hero with the bat for Warriors in the chase, top-scoring with an unbeaten 37 to guide his team home.

Patriots were off to a flying start courtesy Chris Gayle who put on a 71-run opening stand with his partner Evin Lewis. Gayle struck three sixes and as many boundaries in his 27-ball knock at the top of the order to set the tone of the match, before departing in the eighth over. However, Tahir’s triple strikes in successive overs sucked the momentum out of the home team’s innings who slipped from 71 without loss to 97 for 4 in the middle overs.

Tom Cooper was trapped leg-before just after Patriots crossed the 100-run mark and, soon after, Tahir added Mahmudullah – batting at No. 7 – to his victim list. It was down to Anton Devich and Ben Cutting to lend some respectability to the total and the pair didn’t disappoint. Devich’s 24-ball 35, laced with five boundaries and a six, helped Patriots get back on their feet. After three expensive overs, Tanvir yorked him off the final ball of the 19 over, from where Cutting took over. He slammed a couple of sixes off Rayad Emrit – who also gave away five runs in wides – to take his side to a healthy 168.

Luke Ronchi launched Warriors’ chase after three watchful overs but Walton’s sedate start set them back. Cutting came into the attack in the final over of the powerplay and lend another blow to the visitors by taking out the hard-hitting opener for 28. Jason Mohammed and Shimron Hetmyer put together a 46-run stand but the latter’s slow-moving innings didn’t help their cause either. Warriors’ chances looked bleak once Mohammed fell in the 15th over, after chipping in 36 off 25 to the chase.

Warriors need 58 off the remaining 5.1 overs when Sohail Tanvir, the batsman, took guard. After being taken to the cleaners in the first half of the match, the pacer decided to return the favour as Warriors chase picked up steam once again. Sheldon Cottrell came under the attack immediately as Tanvir hit one straight down the ground for his first six. He followed it up with a boundary to the third man as the over yielded 16 in total. Roshon Primus too picked up a six and a four off Cutting in the following over to bring the equation down to 30 off final 18 deliveries.

Carlos Brathwaite managed to send Primus back in an untidy 18th over which saw 11 runs being scored, four of them in wides. Cottrell’s final over, that Tanvir kicked off and wrapped up with a towering six each – was the final nail in the coffin. With three to win, Tanvir levelled the scores to finish with an unbeaten top-score of 37 while Chris Green hit the winning runs off the penultimate ball of the chase. The win propelled Warriors to the second spot in the league standings, tied with table-toppers Trinbago Knight Riders and third-placed Jamaica Tallawahs on eight points.

Brief scores: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 168/7 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 40, Anton Devcich 35; Imran Tahir 4-22) lost to Guyana Amazon Warriors 169/6 in 19.5 overs (Sohail Tanvir 37*, Jason Mohammed 36; Carlos Brathwaite 2-23, Ben Cutting 2-36) by four wickets.

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