Barbados Tridents' home performances make Jamaica Tallawahs' American nightmare look tame by comparison. The Tridents lost their fourth straight match at Kensington Oval in an eight-wicket trouncing at the hands of Guyana Amazon Warriors courtesy Luke Ronchi's unbeaten 40-ball 67. This helped Warriors to the top of the table, while Tridents are firmly rooted to the bottom and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.
Prime time performance
It looked like Tridents were going to escape the Powerplay without much damage, but that changed in the sixth over. Rebuilding after the loss of Martin Guptill, Tridents were 39 for 1 when Roshon Primus snared Dwayne Smith thanks to some good fortune mixed with loose strokeplay.
Recalled after their loss to Tallawahs two nights earlier, Dwayne Smith looked in excellent touch before holing out to a flick at deep square leg where Shimron Hetmyer was one of only two men outside the ring. When he snared Hashim Amla, who spooned a catch to point as the ball stopped on him, Primus was on a hat-trick.
Shai Hope and Steven Smith shared a half-century stand, during the course of which the pair impressed with their sublime wrist work. Primus then made his mark in the field, charging in from square leg with a sharp one-bounce relay to Ronchi to deny a second run for Hope in a needless run-out.
Tahir's brilliant finish
Steven Smith and Nicholas Pooran gave the Tridents hope with a 71-run stand, but three wickets fell in the final eight balls of the innings in another major momentum shift. Steven Smith fell to a brilliant diving catch by Chris Green running in from the rope at long on, his second take of the night, to make it 160 for 5.
Pooran had played splendidly to that point, cracking four fours and two sixes in a typically fiery knock, but the Tridents needed a big over to close out the innings. Imran Tahir denied them in masterful fashion. After conceding four runs off the first three balls, Tahir struck with a googly to induce a skied catch to get Pooran at long-off. This was well-taken in swirling wind by Hetmyer. After a dot to Jason Holder, Tahir got him driving a third catch to Green at long-on to close the innings.
So close… yet so so far
Ronchi had struck his first two balls of the night for boundaries off Chemar Holder to end the second over, but the Tridents nearly got him twice in the following over.
The in-form Mohammad Irfan gave Ronchi the most trouble he'd encounter on the night as a drive on the second ball of the third over fluttered just out of the reach of Ashley Nurse at mid-on and bounced away for four. Ronchi was squared up by Irfan's next ball and a healthy edge barely evaded slip to go to third man for one.
From then on though, Ronchi was in total control, perhaps never more so than in the sixth over from Jason Holder off which he plundered 24 runs. Warriors ended the Powerplay at 70 for 0 with Ronchi on 39 off 15 balls.
Ronchi only faced 10 deliveries - scoring 10 singles - across the next five overs, but if the Tridents strategy was to slow down the scoring rate by starving Ronchi of the strike then it wasn't working.
Chadwick Walton provided brilliant support during a 96-run opening stand before Hetmyer hit his fourth, sixth and seventh balls over the rope for a trio of sweetly timed sixes. By the time Ronchi finally brought up his 50 off 26 balls with a single in the 12th over, the required run rate was well under a run a ball and the Warriors strolled home.