PROVIDENCE, Guyana (CMC) - Chadwick Walton carried his bat for fluent, unbeaten 80 to propel Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to a comfortable seven-wicket win against hosts Guyana Amazon Warriors on Wednesday and into the final of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
The 38-year-old Jamaican was given the chance to open the batting and shrugged off indifferent form, and he smashed six fours and four sixes from 57 balls, and Knight Riders successfully chased 167 under the lights in the major semi-final before another capacity crowd at the Guyana National Stadium.
Walton made sure TKR never fell behind the scoring rate, and he shared successive half-century stands with Nicholas Pooran and his Captain Kieron Pollard to set the foundations for the fruitful run chase that put them in the showpiece match on Sunday at the same venue.
"I would like to say thanks to the players and coaches for having confidence in me," Walton said during the official post-play TV interview after accepting the Player-of-the-Match award. "I treated this as just another game, but it was an emotional half-century. It's been a while since I got a 50, so kudos to the guys who trusted me."
Fittingly, he sealed the deal for Knight Riders with 11 balls remaining in the contest when he drove a delivery from Amazon Warriors captain and former South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir to long-on for a single.
"I think we owe this victory to proper planning," TKR Captain Kieron Pollard said during the captains' post-play TV interview. "Kudos to the backroom staff. The way we went about planning for [Warriors], and to come out and execute like this."
Fortunately for the Warriors, they will have another crack at reaching the final, but they will have to be much better than they were in this match if they are to get past last year's champions Jamaica Tallawahs in the qualifying final at 7 pm. East Caribbean Time on Friday at the same venue.
"Tactically, they were good," all-rounder Romario Shepherd, standing in for the injured Tahir, said during the post-play TV interview.
"I think we were 20 runs short. With the bowlers we had, we thought we could have defended 167. Walton batted well, and a few chances went down," Shepherd said.