Guyana Amazon Warriors 136 for 1 (Hemraj 105*) beat Barbados Royals 130 all out (Khan 28, Tahir 3-34) by nine wickets
Guyana Amazon Warriors opening batter Chandrapaul Hemraj scored his maiden T20 ton to cap a nine-wicket demolition of the woeful Barbados Royals. Chasing a target of 131, Hemraj faced 30 of the 36 balls in the powerplay to race to 61, putting a remarkable century within a short chase firmly in the crosshairs. On 99 with the scores level, he managed to pull off the feat with an uppercut for six over backward point.
Hemraj brought up his first 50 off 25 balls and made a mockery of the Royals first innings total on a pitch that had seen Faf du Plessis also score a century earlier in the day for St Lucia Kings. Unlike du Plessis and Hemraj though, Royals continued their calamitous start to the season by bumbling through their innings after choosing to bat first.
After a relatively sedate start, Imran Tahir | unleashed carnage in the fifth over of play by nabbing three wickets: Johnson Charles caught driving to mid-off, Smit Patel first ball lbw misreading a googly, and then capped the over getting Glenn Phillips to chip a leading edge back for a return catch. From there, Royals continued to flounder as four players crossed 20 without passing 30.
But Warriors, or more specifically Hemraj, batted as if on a different wicket during the chase. Hemraj and Brandon King plunderd 71 from the powerplay and eventually 103 in their opening stand before King fell two balls after drinks playing across the line to Nyeem Young. At that stage, Hemraj needed to score 20 of the final 28 runs required to reach his personal milestone and the only who threatened to spoil the moment looked to be his teammate at No. 3, Shoaib Malik.
When Malik pulled over wide mid-on for a boundary in the 13th, it left Hemraj needing to score 12 of the final 14 runs to get to three figures before the target would be achieved. After another Malik single, the drama intensified when Hemraj struck a boundary to end the over, leaving the former on strike to begin the next frame. Another run Shoaib subtracted from the target got Hemraj back on strike during the 14th. Despite there being no margin for error, Hemraj struck a boundary and a single to end the over on 99. It ensured he’d be on strike at the start of the 15th over as tension continued to build in the smaller scale drama between the wickets after all life had been sucked out of the wider contest much earlier.
Hemraj sliced a full toss to short third man off Young to begin the 15th over and set off for a panicky single before being rightly sent back by Shoaib. But all the nervous energy dissipated moments later when Young served up a short ball well outside off that Hemraj leapt off his toes to dispatch over the off side rope, cementing a thrilling individual achievement as well as putting the final nail in the coffin of a lopsided match.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
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