Guyana Amazon Warriors 218 for 3 (King 132*, Malik 32, Walsh 2-42) beat Barbados Tridents 188 for 8 (Carter 49, Hales 36, Shepherd 3-50, Tahir 2-13, Smith 2-25) by 30 runs
On a Providence surface where Trinbago Knight Riders just about managed to find enough ammunition to get past a 126-target against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Brandon King alone smashed an unbeaten 132, the highest individual score in CPL history, as Guyana Amazon Warriors beat Barbados Tridents to have a fifth shot at the elusive CPL title. Amazon Warriors also extended their unbeaten streak to 11 matches in the process.
King, 24, finished with an incredible ten fours and 11 sixes in his 72-ball knock. Astonishingly, the first game just produced seven sixes combined. While the surface quickened up considerably under lights, Tridents kept losing wickets in their quest for big hits, and while they eventually made 188, their meltdown in the last five overs with the ball, where they conceded 98, proved costly. They will now meet Knight Riders in the second qualifier on Tuesday.
Brandon King turns it on
During the course of his maiden T20 ton, King went past Lendl Simmons' tally for most runs this season. By the end of his knock, he'd opened up a 24-run gap at the top, his tally reading an impressive 453 runs in 11 innings. He completely took the pitch out of the equation, the same one on which most of Knight Riders batsmen struggled just two hours earlier. King's total was also the fuel for the highest T20 score at Providence.
The party started in the third over when he took apart Jason Holder, the Tridents captain, for a sequence of 6, 4, 4, 4. The Powerplay produced six fours, two sixes and the Amazon Warriors were well on their way at 48 without loss. Even then, they perhaps wouldn't have dreamt of the total they ended up with. King's shot selection and his leg-side hitting stood out. His pulling off the front foot, reminiscent of Ross Taylor, was particularly impressive.
Even as he hit runs for fun, his opening partner Chandrapaul Hemraj knocked the ball into the gaps. The opening pair had put on 73 in nine overs until Hayden Walsh Jr's outstanding return catch - one that had him run back, with mid-off in his peripheral vision, and put out a full-length dive - briefly stemmed the run flow. Holder brought himself back on and struck immediately to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer, who nailed a pull but found deep midwicket. Holder gave him a send-off in jubilation.
The Malik hand in the fireworks
Shoaib Malik's industry didn't give Tridents much breathing space as he smacked his eighth delivery for a six to signal his intent. The innings truly came to life in the 16th over, off which they walloped 29. Shakib Al Hasan lost his lengths - firing three short balls and a meatball of a full toss - that were all walloped to the boundary. The over went for four sixes and a four, Malik got past 9000 T20 runs, while King, who took 37 balls for his half-century, had raced to 88 off 54 balls.
Malik was dismissed in the penultimate over, but by then, he had added 97 with King. But so deflated were Tridents that Nicholas Pooran walked in and smashed two sixes off his first two deliveries. Walsh, who until then had figures of 1 for 23 off three overs, eventually finished with 2 for 42. Respectable, if not outstanding. Harry Gurney too wasn't spared, his back-of-the-hand slower deliveries proving to be far too predictable as King nailed his pull shots to perfection to surpass Andre Russell's previous CPL best of 121 to set up a huge chase.
Hales provides spark, but Tridents lose steam
Alex Hales threatened a riposte as he raced to 36, with Tridents feasting on Chandrapaul's left-arm spin to get to 56 for 1 in the Powerplay. But one heave too many, off an Imran Tahir googly, that he dragged on brought the brakes. Shakib was dismissed an over later, as Tridents slipped to 59 for 3 in the eighth over. Jonathan Carter served up a reminder of his hitting abilities in a boundary-laden 49, but by then, Tridents were merely reducing the margin of victory. Tahir, the 40-year-old South African legspinner, finished with figures of 2 for 13, with the Amazon Warriors signing off from their home ground with an impeccable record.