Win puts Amazon Warriors on top
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Guyana Amazon Warriors thrashed luckless Barbados Tridents by eight wickets to roar to the top of the Caribbean Premier League standings, as the home side lost their fourth straight at Kensington Oval to lurch towards elimination here Friday night.
Chasing a modest 166, Amazon Warriors made light work of their target, getting over the line with 20 balls remaining, courtesy of opener Luke Ronchi's unbeaten 67.
His partner Chadwick Walton tasted form with 43 while exciting left-hander Shimron Hetmyer pummelled 30, in an entertaining run chase before a large Guyanese turnout at the packed historic venue.
Tridents had earlier struggled again to post a competitive total, with left-hander Nicholas Pooran top-scoring with 46, Steve Smith getting 40, and stroke-maker Shai Hope, 34, as they got up to 165 for seven off their 20 overs.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir (2-21), left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir (2-28) and barrel-chested seamer Roshon Primus (2-30) all picked up two wickets each.
The victory put Amazon Warriors on 10 points - ahead of Jamaica Tallawahs on net run rate - while Tridents' loss left them rooted to the bottom of the table with four points, with five defeats in their last six matches.
They now face the difficult prospect of winning their last three matches, beginning with a tough encounter against St Lucia Stars in their final home game today at 2 p.m.
Not for the first time, the hosts lost early wickets, putting the innings under pressure and leaving them short of a winning total.
With 19 runs on the board in the third over, New Zealander Martin Guptill drove an innocuous delivery from Sohail to Chris Green at mid-off to fall for eight.
Dwayne Smith, restored to the side after being dropped for last Wednesday's contest against Tallawahs, looked in good nick for his 28 off 16 deliveries before flicking an ordinary ball from Primus off his legs and picking out Hetmyer at deep backward square in the sixth over.
When South African Hashim Amla (2) pushed the very next ball to point where Veerasammy Permaul took a simple lobbed catch, Tridents were slumping at 39 for three.
Steve Smith then aided a consolidation effort, adding 50 for the fourth wicket with Hope as Tridents crawled to 68 without further loss at the halfway stage, before putting on a further 71 for the fifth wicket with Pooran.
Smith faced 33 balls and counted five fours while Hope's knock required 24 deliveries with an identical boundary count before he found himself short at the wicketkeeper's on a tight second run end in the 13th over.
Eventually, Smith was caught at long on in the penultimate over and Pooran blasted four fours and a couple of sixes off 27 balls before picking out long off with two balls left in the innings.