As You Think So You Become
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Fidel Edwards was superb at the top and the death, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman and Sandeep Lamichhane combined beautifully for 4/23, and while the chase was not straightforward a series of cameos was enough.
Having elected to bowl first, Tallawahs captain Rovman Powell could not have hoped for better than the Edwards yorker which bowled Brandon King first ball of the match. Anthony Bramble, playing his first CPL game since 2016, survived LBW shouts from both Edwards and Mujeeb, but Shimron Hetmyer was not so lucky off the Afghan spinner.
Bramble was unable to settle, playing out eight straight dot balls including a Mujeeb maiden before pulling Edwards straight to the captain on the fence. Only Ross Taylor clubbing Andre Russell for a six then pulling him for four got the Amazon Warriors as far as 30/3 off the Powerplay.
Taylor hammered Powell for four, but Carlos Brathwaite conceded just 10 off his two overs, and Lamichhane started beautifully. At halfway the Warriors had crawled to 53/3, and it was only to get worse against the Tallawahs' high-class spinners.
Mujeeb turned a carrom ball to bowl Nicholas Pooran, whose only boundary in his 17-ball innings was an edge past the keeper, and Lamichhane's googly deceived Sherfane Rutherford into giving up an easy catch to Asif Ali at cover.
Russell chipped in with an inswinger to trap Taylor LBW, and Mujeeb got captain Chris Green with a beauty that Green edged to his opposite number at slip. Mujeeb was unplayable, as evidenced not just by his 3/11 but by 18 of his 24 deliveries being dot balls.
The Amazon Warriors became frantic, and only a full-length dive saved Keemo Paul from being run out. Lamichhane's last over was just as good as his first three, and even his outstanding figures of 1/12 might have been a little harsh on him.
Five wides from Edwards were the Amazon Warriors' first 'boundary' in 58 balls, and the first off the bat took another 12 after that. It was a fine straight hit from Naveen for a Hero Maximum, but it did come after Edwards picked up Paul LBW with another big inswinger. A farcical run out involving four separate fielders off the last ball was a fitting reflection of the Amazon Warriors' innings.
Where King had been bowled first ball of the Amazon Warriors' innings, Phillips smacked the first of the Tallawahs' for four. Walton however was bowled by a Tahir googly, which the South African again celebrated by taking the knee. Jermaine Blackwood, playing his first CPL in five years, hammered his first ball for four but his second almost bowled him, ending a dramatic over.
Tahir caused havoc in his second over too, but Blackwood drove Ashmead Nedd for four and Phillips swept Green over square leg for a Hero Maximum to keep things moving against the spinners. But while Phillips took Naveen for a straight six and a four through point, the Afghan fast bowler got his own back when the New Zealander sliced to Paul at point. The Tallawahs reached 40/2 off the Powerplay, and the required run rate was now under 5 RPO.
Asif, trying to fulfil his role as a power-hitter, was brilliantly caught off Paul by a diving Green coming in from long-off. Green then took a fine catch off Nedd too, this time above his head inches from the rope, to send back Powell just as Powell had caught him earlier. Nkrumah Bonner came in above Brathwaite and Russell, and the Tallawahs plodded to 58/4 after 10 overs.
Blackwood sweetly drove Naveen for four first ball after the drinks break, but under-edged the second to keeper Pooran who took a smart low catch. That brought Russell to the crease, which in turn prompted Green to bring back Tahir. Russell and Bonner decided to play out the veteran, and thus the over went for just three.
Bonner ensured Paul's over would beat that total with a classy glide past point off the first ball, but with 7 overs to go the game was still far more tense than 37 needed off 42 balls would suggest. Nedd continued to impress, his final over going for just two. The Tallawahs struggled again to rotate the strike, and Bonner was lucky not to edge a wild hack off Naveen. Remarkably given the target, the Tallwahs went into the last five overs needing over a run a ball.
That, however, was as close as it got. Russell sent Tahir clean over the roof and then Paul hard and flat into the stands, Bonner almost took out the umpire with a straight drive off Paul, and when Naveen returned Russell somehow poked a wide ball through point for four and Bonner finished in style with ten off two balls. Unlike on Saturday, this time Russell didn't have to do it by himself, and the win was in the end a formality.
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