Guyana Amazon Warriors
Warriors players celebrate after entering CPL final (Getty Images)

On a difficult track, offering prodigious turn, Guyana Amazon Warriors edged Trinbago Knight Riders by two wickets in the first qualifier of the Caribbean Premier League 2018 on Tuesday and thus enter the final for the fourth time in tournament’s history. Sohail Tanvir struck a six off the penultimate delivery of the match to overhaul the target of 123, finishing on 126/8 in 19.5 overs.

Shimron Hetmyer and Sherfane Rutherford were the stars for the Warriors again as they again combined to put them on the winning course. The hosts had lost half their side for 52 when captain Chris Green was out for a two-ball duck. While Hetmyer scored 39 off 36, Rutherford continued his blitz from the last match, smashing 30 off 17 with four fours and a six.

They fell within in successive deliveries. Hetmyer was run out thanks to a direct hit from Colin Ingram and then Rutherford holed out to Dwayne Bravo off Kevon Cooper off the follwing delivery. The momentum again shifted towards Knight Riders as they were left to defend 21 runs off 18 with just three wickets remaining. Bravo then reduced them to 105/8 in the 18th over but Romario Shepherd clubbed a six off his last delivery of the over to spice things up. Another eight runs in the penultimate over brought down the equation to four off six and with three needed off two, Tanvir launched Bravo straight over his head to seal the deal.

Knight Riders took a cue from how well their opponents had utilised the spinning conditions. After just one over of pace, the next 12 overs were bowled by spin trio of Sunil Narine and Khary Pierre. The strategy worked before as Warriors till the 13th over before Bravo was forced to re-introduce pace after his lead spinners had exhausted their respective quotas. That, as it turned out changed the course.

Knight Riders also struggled to spin with Green (2/8) removing Sunil Narine (8) and Colin Munro (0) cheaply after Tanvir had trapped Brendon McCullum lbw for a duck in the first over. They lost four wickets inside the powerplay overs before Colin Ingram (25), Darren Bravo (24), Dwayne Bravo (22) and Kevon Cooper (15*) gave them a fighting chance to post 122/7.

While Warriors have booked a spot in the final, Knight Riders will have another shot at making the summit clash when they face the winner of Jamaica Tallawahs vs St Kitts & Nevis Patriots [Eliminator] in the second qualifier on Friday.