Guyana Amazon Warriors 126 for 8 (Hetmyer 39, Rutherford 30, Pierre 2-18) won Trinbago Knight Riders 122 for 7 (Ingram 25, Green 2-8, Emrit 2-22 ) by two windows
In a tense under scorer, hometown boys Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford repeated their heroics against the same opponent since Sunday before Sohail Tanvir the decisive blow with a spare ball while Guyana Amazon Warriors secured a spot in the CPL final for the fourth time with a two-field victory over the Trinbago Knight Riders at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.
The Amazon Warriors took full advantage of home-court advantage in the early phase of the playoffs, as the spinners of the host team kept the Trinbago Knight Riders at 122 before surviving their own testing times against the Trinbago spinners to reach the final.
The list of doubtful calls continues
CPL organizers made the decision last week to have the DRS in place for the second elimination semifinal and tournament finals in Trinidad on Friday and Sunday, a response to more than a dozen howlers this season . Unfortunately for the Knight Riders, they decided not to extend the DRS for all the playoffs and the visitors were on the receiving end of two decisions that most likely would have been reversed in the review.
The first came at the end of the inauguration shot down by Tanvir. Brendon McCullum played well outside the line of an inswinger that hit him in line with the middle stump. However, he was also hit extremely high on the thigh protector. Referee Leslie Reifer considered the line to be a more convincing test than height and handed it over, much to the New Zealander's dismay and the replays showed that his frustration was justified since the ball would probably have dragged the stumps.
Another questionable call came from Reifer in the fifth time he also represented the leg of Denesh Ramdin before. Ramdin went to sweep a very full ball from Imran Tahir and was hit on the heel of his front foot, the indicated repetition was placed completely out of the line of the stump. Instead of being able to review both decisions, Knight Riders lost both batters.
But referee Reifer was not the reason Knight Riders lost, especially his inability to quickly adapt to a field that offered tremendous assistance for slow bowling. The finger spinners, in particular, found great success starting with the Amazon Warriors captain, Chris Green. The Australian scored in the second a short ball from Colin Munro on the field and the top scorer of the CPL could not keep his hands on the intended cut, which resulted in a trap to cover extra.
Green hit almost identically in the sixth. Sunil Narine, promoted back to open the batting after scoring just 57 runs in the regular season, tried to hit a short ball through the cover, but the slowness of the wicket instead saw him drag a simple opportunity to take off. At the end of the Powerplay, the Knight Riders had 26 by 4. The association of Colin Ingram and Darren Bravo lasted almost half of the innings, but only accounted for 48 runs. A late push from Kevon Cooper and Dwayne Bravo helped visitors overcome the 100 to give themselves a fighting chance.
Narine practically matched Green Note for the note with his spell, ending with 1 of 9 in four overs while producing grip and tear in virtually all the balls starting in the second. TKR had the advantage of playing a more specialist spinner than Guyana and almost won the game at the end. After the opening of Ali Khan, Narine, Fawad Ahmed and Khary Pierre threw 12 consecutive outs to strangle the hosts.
Fawad hit first in the third for Cameron Delport to make a hole in the middle of the field. Luke Ronchi then beat Pierre with Narine in the square leg to put 23 for 2 at the end of the power play and by half the way the hosts added only 14 more to their score. Pierre changed the pursuit of TKR with a spectacular dive stop, went out and escaped his own bowling to dismiss Chadwick Walton and then found Green's lead two balls later in the final delivery of his spell to leave Guyana 55 for 5 after 13.
Keep up the pace
The 12 spinning laps of the Knight Riders were complete and, despite a required execution speed of about 10 in a complicated pitch, Hetmyer and Rutherford capitalized with a backward rhythm on the ball. Rutherford traversed Khan by two bounds in the 15th minute before driving Bravo by six at the start of Day 16. Another six more by Cooper's Hetmyer on the 17th took the equation up to 21 of 20 balls.
TKR came back to life despite the courtesy between the hitters that resulted in Hetmyer runout through a direct hit from the point by Ingram. Rutherford drove Cooper to Bravo long-term in the next ball, leaving the tail to take the Amazon Warriors to the other end of the line. Bravo had Rayad Emrit crouch in the next round to put Knight Riders two blocks from the victory with 18 still to come.
But Romario Shepherd hit his first ball for six to bring the equation to a one-ball run in the last two overs. Shepherd hit another crucial limit by a point back against Cooper on the 19th and took a single from the first ball of the 20th to make it triple the five to win. Tanvir was unable to draw three consecutive slower balls from Bravo before a long ball came back over Bravo's head and over the rope to freeze the game while Guyana reserved his tickets for Trinidad.
Peter Della Penna is a correspondent for ESPNcricinfo in the USA. UU @PeterDellaPenna
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