Saim, Hope 50s keep Warriors unbeaten
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
Guyana Amazon Warriors remain unbeaten by halting Trinbago Knight Riders' (TKR) three-game winning streak, conjuring up a convincing six-wicket win at Queen's Park Oval on Tuesday night.
Asked to chase 173 in the opening men's Caribbean Premier League fixture of the Trinidad leg, Amazon Warriors overhauled the target with five balls to spare, posting their fourth win in five games to coast to the top of the table on nine points.
Their chase was masterminded by 21-year-old Pakistan opener Saim Ayub, who top-scored with 63 from 43 balls, and West Indies one-day captain Shai Hope, who stroked a delightful 51 off 40 deliveries.
Both fell with work still left to do, but Azam Khan arrived to blast a 14-ball unbeaten 29, ending the game with a straight six off pacer Andre Russell.
"[Saim] is talented. That's why we got him. He did really well. Nice to get him some big runs," said Amazon Warriors captain Imran Tahir.
"Shai is the best player in world cricket at the moment, and he showed why."
Sent in earlier, TKR never really hit their straps, and it was left to Akeal Hosein - better known for his left-arm spin - to top-score with 44 not out from 35 balls after being promoted to No. 5.
Ireland's Lorcan Tucker chipped in with 38 from 25 deliveries, while captain Kieron Pollard struck a 12-ball 25, TKR gathering 56 runs from the last five overs to reach 172 for eight from their 20 overs.
They lost Mark Deyal for one with the seventh ball of the contest with two runs on the board, but left-hander Nicholas Pooranm, who scored 18, put on 32 for the second wicket with New Zealander Martin Guptill who contributed 15, the latter adding a further 25 for the third wicket with Tucker, to stabilise the innings.
Still, TKR stuttered on 59 for three in the ninth over and needed Hosein's intervention to reach their eventual total.
First, the left-hander put on 39 for the fourth wicket with Tucker, who counted five fours, before adding 34 for the sixth wicket with Pollard, who belted three fours and a six.
Hosein struck two fours and three sixes, while fast bowler Odean Smith picked up three for 31 to lead the visitors' attack.
In reply, Amazon Warriors were set back early through the loss of Chanderpaul Hemraj for 10, the left-hander pouched at deep square by Pooran off Russell, who took two for 29 in the third over with only 18 on the board.
However, any hopes TKR entertained of running through the Amazon Warriors innings were then dashed as Saim smashed four fours and four sixes, and Hope, three fours and three sixes, as the pair posted an entertaining 93 for the second wicket to put Amazon Warriors in firm control.
When Saim miscued a scoop back to Russell at the end of the 14th over, Hope added a further 33 for the third wicket with Azam, who put the finishing touches on the win with two fours and three sixes in his cameo.