Barbados Tridents' stuttering defense of their Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title finally ended as they again failed to make three figures against a well-balanced Guyana Amazon Warriors attack in the ongoing edition of the T20 league.
Early boundaries from Chandrapaul Hemraj meant Shimron Hetmyer and Ross Taylor could take the team home in cruise control and the Amazon Warriors ended the league stage on a roll with four wins from four at the Brian Lara Stadium on Thursday.
Earlier, Romario Shepherd provided Amazon Warriors -- who opted to bowl -- with a promising start with two wickets in two balls. Johnson Charles (10) chipped tamely to Taylor at point, but there was nothing tame about the dismissal of pinch-hitter Rashid Khan as a fierce pull was brilliantly caught by Brandon King who ran 20 yards to his left from deep square leg and dived full-length.
Opener Justin Greaves survived the hat-trick ball and then closed the over with a four. Shamarh Brooks hit a four off Imran Tahir but fell softly to Chris Green, albeit with Taylor taking a good catch at short midwicket, and the Tridents ended the powerplay at 28/3. That became 28/4 the very next ball when Tahir bowled Greaves, beating him all ends up with a googly.
Kyle Mayers launched a straight six off Kevin Sinclair but was undone by wrist-spin again, skying a Tahir googly to give Hemraj an easy catch at mid-off. The implosion continued as Tridents captain Jason Holder gifted Green a catch at midwicket off the second ball after the drinks break and a second poor batting effort in a row by the Tridents against the Amazon Warriors left them reeling at 39/6 after 11 overs.
Mitchell Santner and Nyeem Young milked Sinclair for eight and while Naveen-ul-Haq went for just one on his return, Young ended a 37-ball boundary drought with a maximum over off Green. Santner pulled Shepherd for four and after 15 overs, the Tridents were 65/6. Sinclair ended the mini-recovery, bowling Santner with a quicker ball and celebrating by adding an extra flip or two to his post-wicket routine.
Tridents kept on losing wickets and ultimately for the third time in this year's CPL, they failed to make three figures as a team and ended their 20 overs at 89/9.
Warriors didn't have a great start in their chase as Santner struck on the first ball, bowling King with an arm ball that in effect swung into the right-hander. A tight over from Holder then ensured Hemraj started slowly but the latter got himself going with a powerful slog swept six and a whipped four off Santner. However, he should have fallen to the New Zealander had Hayden Walsh Jr not dropped a catch. After that, Hemraj continued his attack off Rashid with two fours and a six. After four overs, the Warriors were 34/1 and the required run rate was just three and a half per over.
In the fifth over, Holder cleverly angled the ball across Hemraj, who couldn't resist a pull shot and was well caught by Young at third man after scoring 29 runs. Sherfane Rutherford, in for the rested Keemo Paul, got a promotion to four, but lasted only three balls before edging Holder to Ashley Nurse at slip. Holder took a heavy fall but completed a wicket-maiden, leaving the Warriors 40/3 after seven overs.
Hetmyer started watchfully, his first boundary not coming till his 12th ball and that too off an edge past new keeper Charles. Nicholas Pooran (0) faced five dot balls and tried to get off the mark with a boundary, but toe-ended Reifer straight up in the air to give Brooks a simple catch at cover. Taylor joined Hetmyer with the score 49/4 and then tried to calm things.
Both batted intelligently and took the team home in the 15th over. While Hetmyer remained not out on 32, Taylor also scored unbeaten 16.
The Tridents now hold the unwanted record of being the first CPL defending champions not to make the knockouts, and with the Amazon Warriors now guaranteed to avoid the Trinbago Knight Riders in the semi-finals, a sixth final is very much on the cards.
Brief scores: Guyana Amazon Warriors 90/4 (Shimron Hetmyer 32*, Chandrapaul Hemraj 29; Jason Holder 2/10) beat Barbados Tridents 89/9 (Nyeem Young 18, Mitchell Santner 18; Imran Tahir 3/12) by 6 wickets.