Guyana Amazon Warriors maintained their unbeaten start to the 2023 Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a last over thriller against the Barbados Royals.
The Amazon Warriors won the toss and opted to bat first and despite losing a flurry of wickets at the backend of their innings they posted an ominous 181/9.
Scoreboard pressure saw the Royals lose early wickets in the PowerPlay but they were always in sight of the required run rate in their reply. Having seemingly timed their chase to perfection the Royals needed six runs from the final over but Gudakesh Motie held his nerve to seal a dramatic win for the Amazon Warriors.
Earlier Amazon Warriors had surprised everyone by opening with Motie and Saim Ayub and the experiment did not bear fruit as Motie fell for 7 runs inside the opening 9 balls.
Ayub and Hope laid a foundation following that dismissal to leave the Amazon Warriors handily placed on 83/1 at the halfway stage of the innings.
The 98 run partnership was eventually broken when Carlos Braithwaite dismissed Ayub caught and bowled for 57. Azam Khan fell shortly afterwards but the Amazon Warriors continued to force the pace before Obed McCoy got Hope to chop on to his stumps for an even 50.
Late over fielding penalties saw the Royals get punished but Brathwaite continued to be a thorn in the Amazon Warriors side dismissing Shimron Hetmyer, Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith in the 19th over before Jason Holder followed suit in the last over to remove Dwaine Pretorius and Keemo Paul.
The Amazon Warriors still posted an imposing total of 181/9 that left the Royals an almighty task ahead.
While 182 to win was always likely to be a tall order the Royals did not help their assignment by losing both their openers inside the PowerPlay. However, the Royals reached the six over mark at 54/2 and ensured they had a base from which to mount a charge.
A 60-run partnership between Laurie Evans and Alick Athanaze was eventually bought to a close when Odean Smith got Evans to commit to a shot too early and Athanaze himself was to follow 12 balls later.
Just when it seemed the Royals were going to fall to defeat captain Rovman Powell blasted 39 from 19 balls to leave the Royals the equation of 31 runs needed from 19 balls.
Once Braithwaite and Justin Greaves had got the equation down to six of the final over it looked a forgone conclusion but the Warriors and Motie closed out a famous win.