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Match 20 – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots v Guyana Amazon Warriors

Patrick Noone analyses Nicholas Pooran’s exceptional century as the Amazon Warriors return to winning ways

Nicholas Pooran’s CPL season has somewhat mirrored that of his team’s: flashes of brilliance but generally all too fleeting to make a serious impact. The Guyana Amazon Warriors wicket-keeper batsman has played some characteristically eye-catching shots but until tonight, had only passed 50 in one of his six innings – a 49-ball 68 in a losing cause against St Lucia Zouks.

With the Amazon Warriors’ season on the line, Pooran put his earlier form to one side and batted like a man on a mission as he set about chasing St Kitts & Nevis Patriots’ total of 150. His team had made a stodgy start, making their way to just 24-2 after 5.2 overs when Pooran strode to the crease. Shimron Hetmyer departed two balls later and Pooran was faced with the unenviable rebuilding task alongside Ross Taylor.

Pooran was busy from the moment he arrived at the crease, attacking six of his first seven deliveries before launching Jon-Russ Jaggesar for six over long on from the eighth ball he faced. It was a sign of what was to come as Pooran targeted both the off-spin of Jaggesar and the leg-spin of Imran Khan.

The onslaught began in earnest once the innings passed the midway point. At that stage, the Amazon Warriors were still scoring at less than a run-a-ball and required 92 from the last ten. Khan bowled the first over after drinks and Pooran began an 11-ball burst that saw him plunder 34 runs, including three sixes and three fours.

No area of the ground was safe as Pooran cut Khan first through point along the ground for four, then drove over cover through the air for six, then pulled him over midwicket for another half-dozen. Jaggesar then resumed and met the same fate with his first ball as Pooran carved him over extra cover and, by the time Alzarri Joseph had been hit for two fours in the next over, Pooran had upped the Amazon Warriors run rate from 5.90 to 7.61 in the space of three overs.

Jaggesar’s bowling innings breakdown tells the story of just how destructive Pooran was – against all other batsmen, the off-spinner took 2-7 from 10 balls; against Pooran, he conceded 26 from the remaining 14. Meanwhile Pooran scored 17 off the five balls he faced from Khan, no mean feat considering the leg-spinner registered the most economical figures in CPL history just 24 hours earlier.

Pooran wasn’t done yet though and he was primed to finish with a flourish against Ish Sodhi. With 16 needed from three overs and Pooran 18 away from his century, he went down the pitch and smoked the first ball over cow corner for six. When Sodhi adjusted by going a touch fuller, Pooran cleared the ropes over extra cover. The third delivery flying over midwicket was almost an inevitability by that stage as Pooran won the game and brought up his hundred.

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This was a much-needed win for the Amazon Warriors. Defeat tonight would have seen the Patriots go level on points with them and they would have found themselves in a real dogfight for the top four. As it stands, they go up to third and their fate remains in their own hands thanks to the rare talents of Nicholas Pooran.

Patrick Noone is a CricViz analyst

@patnoonecricket

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