Cricket

Sangakkara, Emrit await fate, as rematch looms

Sunday, September 03, 2017

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The nine-wicket assault by Guyana Amazon Warriors on defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs on Friday night was certainly breathtaking, so much so that it took both captains by surprise.

The win by the Warriors levelled the tie between both teams, who have over the years held a strong rivalry, as the Tallawahs won the first game in Guyana earlier this season.

Last year the Tallawahs trounced the Warriors on their way to lifting their second title.

But by all indications, a rematch seems imminent in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 play-offs, as both teams await the outcome of the next two games involving the Barbados Tridents to know their fate.

The Tallawahs batting first in their final home game at Sabina Park this season mustered a below-par 149-7 off their allotted 20 overs, after winning the toss.

Andre McCarthy with 44 off 35 balls and captain Kumar Sangakkara with 38 led the way for the two-time champions in what turned out to be a stifled effort. Captain Rayad Emrit (2-29) and Sohail Tanvir (2-27) were the best bowlers for the Warriors.

The Warriors in reply were 88-1 inside the sixth over, and were never under any pressure of losing as they scored freely to surpass the target at 150-1 inside 11 overs.

Jamaican Chadwick Walton made an unbeaten 84 off 40 balls and Luke Ronchi 55 off 29 in a dominant display of batting. Oshane Thomas 1-32, picked up the lone wicket for the Tallawahs.

“I thought the Amazon Warriors outplayed us in every department; I thought we were 15 runs short with the bat because I was thinking anything over 155-160, but the way we bowled, I don't think that would have survived. We bowled poorly and they took the advantage and batted outstandingly well and they bowled pretty well too,” Sangakkara conceded.

When quizzed about the decision to bat first instead of bowling, the former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper/batsman hit the nail on the head with his response.

“[It] depends on how we would have bowled,” he said, alluding to his team's wayward bowling on the night.

He continued: “But I thought we played a very good game against the Patriots [on Wednesday] and defended that very well with the variation in the attack that we had. And I thought if we got anything over 160, we would have had a great chance of defending that.

“But they took the attack to us, we bowled about five no-balls in the first six and that I think set the tempo for the rest of the innings.

The Tallawahs have 12 points in second position from 10 games and have secured a play-off spot.

But victory for third-placed St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (11 points) against the Tridents would relegate them to third where they would possibly meet the Warriors again for a third time this season.

However, if the Patriots lose to the Tridents, then the Tallawahs would have two chances at making another final in a bid to secure their third title.

“Yeah, without a doubt being in the top two is nice, but it all depends on that (St Kitts) game. So we just have to wait and see how that is, but whoever we play we have to play a lot better to get over the line,” Sangakkara noted.

Meanwhile, despite virtually booking their play-off spot in fourth on 10 points, by virtue of a superior net run-rate, the Warriors are cognisant that massive victories for the Tridents could make things close.

“I think we really worked hard for this; I myself wasn't expecting it to be in 11 overs but the way those guys batted at the top of the innings was tremendous.

“We knew that it (net run-rate) is going to count at the end of the day, but we obviously wanted to win the game first and then see what happens.

“But winning inside 11 overs means it is obviously going to go up, so that is important. But you never know with the two games Tridents have, they will be on 10 points as well and then it is going to go down to net run rate,” said Warriors captain Emrit.

— Sherdon Cowan

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