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Guyana Amazon Warriors continued to match Trinbago Knight Riders win for win at the top of the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table after subjecting St Kitts & Nevis Patriots to a trial by spin at Warner Park.The Warriors and Knight Riders have both now won four from four after this all-too-easy seven-wicket victory for the Guyanese side.Imran Tahir (2/17) and Qais Ahmad (3/28) led a four-man spin attack for the Warriors that reduced the Patriots to 53/5 and, although Shamarh Brooks engineered a recovery of sorts with a well-made 34 from 25, the innings fell away after he departed, seam finally making an impression as Keemo Paul took the last two wickets in the space of three balls. A final total of 121 was never going to be enough and was immediately put firmly in perspective by a 24-ball 49 from Brandon King at the top of the Warriors chase.
He smashed three fours and a huge Hero Maximum over midwicket from Sheldon Cottrell’s second over to make it clear the Warriors were not about to linger over chasing down their target. And when the Patriots tried some spin it didn’t work quite as well as it had for the visitors, with Fabian Allen’s first over taken for 16 – including two more big sixes for King. He was run out one short of a half-century from the final ball of the Power Play, but it mattered little. By then the Warriors were already 64/1 and over halfway to their target.
Shimron Hetmyer toe-ended Mohammad Hafeez to long-off for just a single looking to keep the attack going, prompting Chandrapaul Hemraj and Warriors skipper Shoaib Malik to throttle back and make sure nothing went wrong.Hemraj edged behind off Rayad Emrit for a watchful 22, leaving Nicholas Pooran (19*) to apply the finishing touches alongside Malik (24*) as the Warriors got home with 25 balls to spare.
The start of the game was delayed by a brief rain shower and when play did begin the Warriors had got through four overs and three different spinners before a seamer was seen.
The tactic paid off, with Devon Thomas bowled by Chris Green’s first ball and just 19 runs on the board after the first four overs from Hemraj, Green and Tahir. And even when the quicker bowlers did come on, it was still the spinners making the difference. Evans had stroked four fours in reaching 26 and was looking dangerous when he was superbly run out by a direct hit from Tahir at short fine-leg. With the seam bowling of Romario Shepherd and Paul proving relatively expensive, Malik turned to the fourth spinner in his ranks with instant reward as Qais Ahmad had Hafeez caught for 14 by Hetmyer at long-off in his first over. Tahir then trapped Jason Mohammed plumb lbw for just 4 to reduce the Patriots to 51/4 in the 9th over.
The Patriots took the bold decision to promote left-hander Dominic Drakes to number six in a bid to counter the leg-spin threat on the back of his record-breaking 34 not out – the highest ever T20 score by a number 11 – against Barbados Tridents last time out. It didn’t work. He was dropped by Hetmyer on nought but caught by Ahmed two balls later to give Tahir a second wicket of an eventful over and sum up a night to forget for the Patriots.