TAROUBA, Trinidad – Shimron Hetmyer struck his fourth Caribbean Premier League fifty but off-spinning all-rounder Sunil Narine countered with one of his own, as Trinbago Knight Riders made a winning start to the tournament with a four-wicket victory over Guyana Amazon Warriors on Tuesday.
Asked to chase a tricky 145 after rain delayed the start by 1-½ hours and reduced the curtain-raiser to 17 overs per side, TKR reached their target with two balls to spare, with the left-handed Narine top-scoring with 50 off 28 balls at the top of the order.
He was his typically audacious self, belting two fours and four sixes, adding 34 for the second wicket with New Zealander Colin Munro (17) and a further 44 for the third wicket with left-hander Darren Bravo whose 30 needed 27 balls and included two sixes.
Twenty-year-old Afghan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq (2-21) and South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir (2-40) picked up two wickets apiece but Amazon Warriors failed to contain TKR’s scoring when it mattered most as off-spinning captain Chris Green and fast bowler Romario Shepherd proved untidy.
Hetmyer had earlier punched an explosive unbeaten 63 off 44 balls to propel Amazon Warriors to 144 for five after they were sent in at the Brian Lara Stadium.
West Indies rookie Brandon King fell to the third ball of the innings without scoring but Hetmyer arrived at number three to stabilise the innings in a knock which included a brace of fours and sixes.
Crucially, Hetmyer put on 50 for the third wicket with veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor who scored 33 from 21 balls, before adding 38 for the fourth with West Indies left-hander Nicholas Pooran (18).
Narine was brilliant, taking two for 19 from four tight overs, to lay the groundwork for his eventual Man-of-the-Match honour.
When King and Chandrapaul Hemraj (3) departed cheaply, Amazon Warriors were stumbling at 23 for two in the fourth over but Hetmyer paced his innings well in tandem with Taylor to restore order.
Favouring the leg-side for stroke-play, Hetmyer gathered runs steadily before reaching his half-century at the end of the 14th over when he swatted fast bowler Jayden Seales over the ropes at mid-wicket.
He had earlier lost Taylor in the 10th over, bowled off-stump by Narine missing a heave after striking two fours and sixes, and Pooran lashed a pair of fours and a six before holing out to cover off Seales in the 14th over.
Hetmyer and Keemo Paul (15 not out) then combined to gather 13 from the final over and get Amazon Warriors to a competitive total.
In reply, Lendl Simmons (17) never settled and eventually skied a Naveen slower ball bouncer to square leg in the fifth over with 22 on the board .
And left-hander Munro was beginning to tear into Shepherd, striking him for a four and then a six over long leg in the seventh over before mist-timing a slower ball and falling to a catch at mid-wicket in the same over.
However, Narine sustained the momentum for TKR, driving Tahir straight and then belting him over the ropes at extra cover in the ninth over which yielded 17 runs.
He followed up in the next over with a couple of sixes off Shepherd – the first over mid-wicket and the second stroked over long-off – as TKR raced to 96 for two at the end of the 10th.
Narine holed out in the deep off Tahir in the following over and even though Kieron Pollard (10) and Tim Seifert (2) fell cheaply, Bravo’s measured knock put TKR in touching distance of victory before he too perished in the final over with three runs required.