Patrick Noone analyses the performance of Romario Shepherd as the Tridents’ elimination was confirmed with their fourth successive defeat
Romario Shepherd’s namesake, the Brazilian footballer from the 1990s, once famously remarked, ‘I don’t want to play well; I want to score goals.’ Up until tonight, the Guyanese seamer had more or less done the opposite during this campaign, in cricketing terms at least. His CPL season had been one of honest endeavour without always getting the rewards to match; essentially, he had played well but he hadn’t taken wickets.
But Shepherd’s contributions to Guyana Amazon Warriors’ season should not be downplayed. Every team needs a death bowler and Shepherd’s economy rate during the last five overs of the innings has been the equal best in the tournament, alongside Jamaica Tallawahs’ Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman.
Tonight, Shepherd saw out Barbados Tridents’ innings expertly with a series of wide yorkers from around the wicket in a final over that cost just five runs. Raymon Reifer and Ashley Nurse were the batsmen facing him, and Shepherd showed enough skill to adapt to the left-hand/right-hand combination, cramping them both for room and beating the bat on two occasions.
Earlier, Shepherd showed that he’s not simply a one trick pony, striking twice in his first over to remove Johnson Charles and Rashid Khan in successive balls. It should also be noted that Shepherd’s economy rate of 6.25 during the Powerplay is only bettered by Jason Holder in this tournament, demonstrating how effective Shepherd has been at both ends of the innings. It was Holder himself who holed out in Shepherd’s second over to give him his third wicket of the match, doubling his tally for the tournament in the space of eight balls that also included three dots.
In Shepherd, the Amazon Warriors have a skilful, versatile seamer who they can rely upon to keep the runs down. When he adds wickets as he did tonight, he gives his side’s attack another dimension that makes them hard to contain for any team, let alone a batting lineup as woefully out of form as the Tridents’.
It all meant that yet another box had been ticked for the Amazon Warriors as they closed off their group campaign with a fourth successive win. They have really stepped up at the back end of this stage and now look a well-balanced, well-oiled machine with players fitting into clearly defined roles and performing them with aplomb, as opposed to the slightly ramshackle outfit that lost four of their first six matches.
Meanwhile, the opposite has been true of the Tridents, whose miserable defence of their title officially came to an end with one game still to play. Their batting has fallen through the floor and today’s effort meant they have scored just 313 runs for the loss of 30 wickets across their last 64 overs of batting. That simply isn’t good enough for a team with the depth they have on paper.
The win for the Amazon Warriors means they are guaranteed to finish either second or third and thus will avoid Trinbago Knight Riders in the semi-final. They have four days off now to simply relax and wait to see if they’ll face Jamaica Tallawahs or St Lucia Zouks in the next round.
Patrick Noone is a CricViz analyst