Pooran’s unbeaten 75 helps push Warriors closer to playoffs


Gudakesh Motie and Odean Smith kept the Tallawahs batting line-up tied down in the 170-run chase

Guyana Amazon Warriors 169 for 6 (Pooran 75, Russell 2-35) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 123 all out (Snith 3-21, Motie 3-25) by 46 runs

In a must-win encounter to control their own playoff destiny, Guyana Amazon Warriors got a crucial innings from captain Nicholas Pooran, who lifted his side with an unbeaten 75 off 39 balls that included four fours and seven sixes to set an easily defendable total in a 46-run win over Jamaica Tallawahs on Saturday in St Kitts. Pooran arrived in the ninth over at 63 for 3 and scored the lion’s share of the runs the rest of the way to get his side to 169 for 6 before impressive spells from Gudakesh Motie and Odean Smith kept the Tallawahs batting line-up tied down in the chase.

After smothering two balls defensively from Chris Green upon his arrival to the crease, Pooran went into attack mode against Veerasammy Permaul in the following over, heaving him over the leg side rope to get off the mark and then followed it up with another swat over cow corner for six two balls later. The biggest fireworks though came in the final two overs as Pooran started the 19th against Andre Russell by carving out a wide yorker in elegant fashion over short third man for a boundary to bring up a 30-ball fifty. Another attempted wide yorker on the next ball disappeared over extra cover for six.

Tallawahs ended the 19th and started the 20th missing consecutive chances to dismiss Pooran. A lofted drive off Russell was heading straight for Haider Ali on the cover boundary but he lost the ball in the sun only for it to land just to his right and bounce over the rope. Carlos Brathwaite then misfired on a point blank runout chance fielding off his own bowling to begin the next over and Pooran made him pay by clobbering two of the next three balls over midwicket and long-on for the final two of his seven sixes to put an exclamation mark on the Warriors innings.

Tallawahs looked in a very good position at 63 for 1 in the ninth over before Smith disrupted the chase with his medium pace. Haider Ali tried to heave Smith over the leg side but could only top edge a swirler taken by Shoaib Malik tracking back from short third man. Chandrapaul Hemraj then took a tremendous low catch at short extra cover off a scorching drive from Kirk McKenzie next ball to remove both set batters following a 41-run stand.

But Smith’s signature moment came in the 15th when he bowled a wicket maiden that included the scalp of Russell mistiming a heave to long-on. Motie got the ball to grip and turn sharply in the following over to claim Shamarh Brooks and Brathwaite with a stumping and a leading edge to extra cover, completing a collapse of 4 for 3 that began when Motie had Rovman Powell punching to Smith at mid-off at the end of the 14th. From 98 for 3 to 101 for 7, Tallawahs had little fight left and eventually subsided for 123 with five balls left unused.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna

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