Faf du Plessis’s fourth T20 century – a 59-ball 103 – went in vain as Guyana Amazon Warriors chased down their record score 194 with six wickets in hand against Saint Lucia Kings, at the Providence Stadium on Thursday, to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Opting to bat, Kings lost openers Mark Deyal early, for a second-ball duck. However, that didn’t trouble the visitors much as Du Plessis took charge of the innings and laid the foundation for Kings’ massive total with the help of Niroshan Dickwella. After the latter got going with a couple of boundaries in the second over, Du Plessis carted Romario Shepherd for four boundaries in the third.
The southpaw contributed only a 32-ball 36 in the 132-run alliance for the second wicket, while the veteran South African took the dominant role. Du Plessis hammered 10 boundaries and 6 sixes through the course of his century. David Wiese (6-ball 12) and Roston Chase’s (7-ball 17*) provided some quick runs late in the innings as Kings finished with a strong 194 for 5.
The big total, nonetheless, was no deterrent for the Warriors. In the opening over of the chase itself, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Charndrapal Hemraj put the pressure on the fielding side, cracking four boundaries off Matthew Forde. While Hemraj was selective in his shot-making, Gurbaz sped away, picking 28 runs off his first 10 deliveries.
By the end of the seventh over, Gurbaz had brought up his half-century and the opening stand had flourished to 81 runs. Even as a few wickets fell in quick succession thereafter, with Hemraj, Gurbaz and Shakib Al Hasan falling in the space of next eight balls, Kings didn’t let the momentum completely slip away.
Roston Chase and Deyal controlled the scoring rate for a few overs, and even had the batters struggle a bit, but not enough to stop the fourth wicket pair of Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope from stitching a half-century stand. Once the left-hander fell in the 16th over, and Warriors were left needing 40 runs in the last four overs, Hope broke free. He hammered Roshon Primus for three consecutive sixes and tilted the game firmly in favour of the hosts.
The chase was completed with four balls to spare and Hope finished with an unbeaten 30-ball 59.
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