It was not even close. A no-contest.
Shimron Hetmyer thumped a hat-trick of sixes in the final over to add substance to what would otherwise have been a very undaunting Guyana Amazon Warriors final score. And although it allowed Nicholas Pooran’s soldiers to troop off Warner Park in St Kitts feeling good about themselves and the 178 they had put on the tins—in the end it was all in vain.
Led by yet another Evin Lewis 50-plus innings, Dwayne Bravo’s confident side marched relentlessly to their target and into Wednesday’s final against the 2020 losing finalists, the St Lucia Kings.
In the post-match interview, Bravo explained that his team was very confident about their ability to chase any total, which is why they opted to field first.
What had happened in the preceding four hours had entirely justified his decision. And their confidence.
The World Cup-bound Lewis, who had hit an unbeaten century in the penultimate group stage game against Trinbago Knight Riders, was steady rather his usual aggressive self as the Patriots set out in pursuit of GAW’s target.
He and his fellow opener Chris Gayle—controversially included in the West Indies 15 for the World Cup next month—put on 75 before the end of the 8th over. Gayle, the aggressor, contributed 33 to the 50 they put on off just 30 balls while Lewis’ share was 16.
Gayle was at one point very severe on Odean Smith and Imran Tahir, taking 23 off the pacer and 18 off the leg-spinner in consecutive overs.
But when Gayle (42 off 27, 3 x 6, 5 x 4) departed at 75 for 1 and his skipper came in to join him, Lewis took the attack to the GAW bowlers. Kevin Sinclair (1/31), who had had Gayle hole out to Hetmyer at long-off in over #8, conceded 19 in his next over, the 10th, Lewis moving past 50 off 24 balls and the total past 100.
With Lewis looking more and more like his fluent self, the pair moved the score to within 15 of their target before Bravo (34 off 31, 1 x 6, 3 x 4) fell.
Smith (2/48) bowled him all over the shop as he gave himself room to drive through the offside. And next ball, Smith induced the false shot from Fabian Allen, who turned a delivery off his hip straight into the hands of Hetmyer, set at short fine-leg specifically for that purpose.
But losing two wickets in two balls was but a stutter. Sherfane Rutherford, overlooked by the selectors to the dissatisfaction of many, clobbered a long leg-side six off Romario Shepherd, who failed with both bat and ball after his Man-of-the-Match performance in the crucial final group game on Sunday.
Lewis then hit a full toss from Chandrapaul Hemraj to wide long-on to ensure that the Kings will have to live with a hugely partisan live audience when they try to go one better than last year in this year’s final.
Pooran conceded that inexperience had cost his team the game. He expressed the hope that the youngsters who had ‘put their hands up and showed what they can do will come back stronger next year’.
On the day, however, it really was the batting, with the possible exception of Hetmyer, that let the side down.
Hemraj and Brandon King (27 off 17, 2 x 6, 1 x 4) managed to get to 33 together before the right-handed Jamaican was caught by Naseem Shah off Allen.
Shoaib Malik (6 off 10) has simply not been his usual reliable self this season and he did not hang around. He inexplicably charged down the track after Jon-Russ Jaggesar, giving Joshua da Silva the easiest job to finish him off. Prolific last season, he managed fewer than 75 runs in his ten innings in 2021.
Skipper Pooran (26 off 12, 3 x 6, 1 x 4) and Hetmyer then stitched together a promising 29-run partnership. But when Drakes had the skipper caught by Lewis shortly after the mid-innings water break, the innings went into steepish decline, 88 for 3 becoming 131 for 8 in the space of six overs.
When it looked as if GAW might not use up all their overs, Hetmyer (45 off 20, 4 x 6, 2 x 4) unable to bat at both ends, took matters into his own hands, putting a last-over 25-run pasting on Sheldon Cottrell. It got his team to 178 but…
…too little too late. Not for the first time and very likely not for the last, Lewis made very sure of that.
Toss: St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
Guyana Amazon Warriors: 178 for 9 (Shimron Hetmyer 45*, Brandon King 27, Chandrapaul Hemraj 27, Nicholas Pooran 26, Jon-Russ Jaggesar 2/19, Fawad Ahmed 2/22, Dominic Drakes 2/22, Naseem Shah 2/19)
SKNP: 181 for 3 (Evin Lewis 77*, Chris Gayle 42, Dwayne Bravo 34, Odean Smith 2/48, Kevin Sinclair 1/31)
Man-of-the-Match: Evin Lewis (SKNP)
Result: SKNP win by 7 wkts.
Meet St Lucia Kings in Wednesday’s final.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read match report on semi-final contest between the Trinbago Knight Riders and the St Lucia Kings.