Dwayne Bravo’s decision to bowl was justified by a superb collective bowling effort
St Kitts and Nevis Patriots 181 for 3 (Lewis 77*, Gayle 42) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 178 for 9 (Hetmyer 45*, Jaggesar 2-19, Fawad 2-22) by seven wickets
Dwayne Bravo’s decision to bowl was justified by a superb collective bowling effort. At the halfway stage of the innings, Warriors were in an excellent position at 88 for 2, with Nicholas Pooran having plundered 18 in the final over before the mid-innings drinks break off Chris Gayle’s part-time spin.
But two balls after play resumed, the first of many dominos fell as Pooran pulled Dominic Drakes to Lewis for 26 off 14 on the leg-side boundary. Wickets continued to tumble regularly thereafter as Warriors’ best partnership in the end wound up being the 33-run opening stand between Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj. Warriors’ struggles were best exemplified by Shoaib Malik, whose horror season came to a merciful end when he charged against Jon-Russ Jaggesar and was stumped for 6 off 10. The Pakistan overseas pro ended with 67 runs in 10 innings at an average of 7.44 and zero wickets with the ball.
After a sedate start in the first three overs against offspinner Kevin Sinclair in which Gayle crawled to 1 off 8 balls, Odean Smith was brought into the attack and bowled one of the fastest overs of the tournament, clocking over 150kmph at one stage. But the balls disappeared even faster to the boundary as Gayle smashed him for four fours and a six during a 23-run over. Imran Tahir took similar punishment in the next over from Gayle and by the end of the powerplay, Patriots had raced to 68 for 0.
Gayle fell in the eighth over to Sinclair for 42, mistiming a drive to long-on. But Lewis exacted revenge on the offspinner by smoking a pair of straight drives for six and then a four over extra cover to bring up a 24-ball half-century in the 10th over as Patriots continued to stampede toward the target.
Smith struck twice in the space of three balls in the 16th over to break an 88-run stand between Lewis and Bravo, bowling the latter for 34, before Fabian Allen flicked a short ball straight to Hetmyer behind square on the ring for a duck. But that just made the final margin look slightly more competitive in the end than it was for much of the match. Lewis clinched victory slapping Hemraj over wide long-on for his third four to go along with eight sixes.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna