Record-breaking King powers Guyana Amazon Warriors into CPL 2019 final
Brandon King scored his maiden CPL ton (Getty Images via CPL)

Guyana Amazon Warriors continued their unbeaten run in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) by beating Barbados Tridents in the Qualifier 1 to progress to the final at the Brian Lara Stadium on Sunday. Brandon King helped himself to 11 sixes on his way to the highest ever CPL score of 132*, sending him top of this seasons run-scoring charts with 453 runs.

The Guyana Amazon Warriors got off to a solid start through King and Chanderpaul Hemraj. King’s 29 off 22 balls and Hemraj’s 19 off 14 saw them to score off the PowerPlay.

It took a sensational catch from Hayden Walsh Jr to dismiss Hemraj off his own bowling, turning and sprinting, then diving full-stretched to cling on to the ball. King reached his 50 off 36 deliveries right on halfway of the Warriors’ innings with a cut for 4. Skipper Jason Holder then brought himself back into the attack, after earlier leaking 20 off his two Powerplay overs.

Holder fared better with the softer ball, having Shimron Hetmyer well held by Raymon Reifer at deep mid-wicket for 3. Captain Shoaib Malik brought up his career 9000 runs in T20 cricket with a six, only the fourth batsmen to get there in the history of the format.

At the other end King continued to play the knock of the tournament, reaching his hundred with a booming six off Raymon Reifer. This scintillating partnership was broken on 97 by Tridents’ best bowler on the day, Walsh Jr, when he dismissed Malik for 32 off 19. Walsh was impressive but his figures were ruined when Nicolas Pooran came in and sent his first two deliveries over the rope.

The previous highest score at the venue, 193/8 by the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in 2018, was surpassed on the first ball. The highest ever CPL score of 121* by Andre Russell was then surpassed by King who finished unbeaten on 132 off 72 balls. Pooran’s blasted 12 off 3.

The Tridents got off to what would be a great start in any normal game in this year’s CPL, but were always behind the eight-ball chasing 219. Johnson Charles smashed a couple of early boundaries but then got bogged down, looping up a catch to point off Imran Tahir’s second ball, out for 15 off 14.

Hales was then bowled by Tahir attempting an ambitious slog sweep after an explosive 36 off 19 balls. When a shot from Shakib resulted in a great diving catch by Hetmyer, the Tridents were 59/3 after 7.5 and needed a massive partnership between the new batsmen, JP Duminy and Shai Hope.

This did not happen, Duminy chopping on for 14 off Odean Smith’s second ball and then Hope went to become the first of Romario Shepherd’s two victims. Jonathan Carter made a swift 49 to top-score for the Tridents but holed out one short of his half-century.

Odean Smith induced a chop on from Reifer’s first ball, before Ashley Nurse and Jason Holder hit some massive blows, but it was too little too late for the chasing side. Barbados Tridents now face TKR on Thursday with one last shot to meet the Amazon Warriors again in the final on Sunday.