St Lucia Stars succumbed to their 13th consecutive CPL loss after an agonizing three-run defeat to Guyana Amazon Warriors in a low-scoring thriller at Providence Stadium.
The Stars appeared well on course for a much-needed victory when Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons were compiling an 83-run stand for the third wicket in 10 overs, but Riyad Emrit’s three-wicket burst swung the game back in Guyana’s favour as the Stars came up short despite going into the last four overs needing a very gettable 34 with eight wickets in hand.
Simmons was caught behind for 45, and Mark Chapman fell in the next over after running past one from Chris Green to be stumped.
The Stars’ hopes now rested squarely on Pollard, but he fell on 32 to Emrit who then bowled Rahkeem Cornwall with his very next ball. There would be no hat-trick, but Emrit had nevertheless turned the game his team’s way: despite a huge six from Qais Ahmad, the equation was suddenly 16 from the last over.
Mitchell McClenaghan ramped his first ball for six and then scampered two to reduce the target to eight runs from three balls. The big New Zealander lost the strike, though, and young leg-spinner Ahmad – who earlier bowled beautifully to collect 3/15 from his four overs – could only scramble three runs from the last two balls to leave Guyana celebrating and the Stars left to wonder what might have been.
Earlier, it was then Imran Tahir who first appeared to have steered the game decisively Guyana’s way with two wickets in his first over en route to figures of 2/23.
Warner had struggled to 11 from 20 balls, yet the manner of his dismissal was particularly unfortunate as he was adjudged leg-before despite the ball hitting his glove rather than pad as he attempted a reverse sweep.
The Amazon Warriors made a steady start after being put in to bat, with the early impetus coming from Chadwick Walton who took two boundaries from the third over, bowled by McClenaghan, before collecting the first Hero Maximum of the day with an audacious ramp shot over fine-leg off Mohammad Sami.
But the introduction of Qais Ahmad after seven overs with the Amazon Warriors 54/0 changed the course of the innings. Walton fell for 31.
Ronchi finally broke the shackles with a straight six off Kesrick Williams from the final ball of the 11th over.
But Ahmad soon grabbed his second wicket as Hetmyer edged an attempted cut shot through to Andre Fletcher, who held on at the second attempt.
Shoaib Malik bashed his third ball down the ground for six but was then bowled through the gate by an Ahmad googly before Chapman won a marginal leg-before verdict against the dangerous Ronchi.
Jason Mohammed and Sherfane Rutherford both managed to clear the ropes in the final couple of overs, nudging the final total over 140. How crucial that would prove in the final analysis.