The Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel entered the Queen’s Park Oval on Friday night with their backs against the wall.
The Dwayne Bravo-led Red Steel needed a win to keep alive their Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 campaign and to appease a demanding crowd, who had grown accustomed to the dominance of the T&T “Red Force” in regional T20s.
Although the margin of victory was just three runs, the home fans would have appreciated the efforts of their team, especially after three consecutive defeats.
On Friday night, Bravo won the toss and elected to bat first, with his team getting their best opening partnership of the tournament, thanks to Kevin O’Brien’s 47-ball 70.
He and Adrian Barath (29 off 31 balls) shared 95 for the first wicket in a stand that lasted more than 11 overs, and which set the platform for their winning total of 159 for four. The Amazon Warriors replied with 156 for four.
But it was O’Brien’s big hitting and Ross Taylor’s unbeaten 27-ball 39 that made the difference.
The Irishman slammed six sixes and two fours, while New Zealander Taylor hit three fours and two sixes to take the total past 150.
The Red Steel then survived a late onslaught from James Franklin to clinch their first win.
With wickets in hand and Franklin finding the boundary at will, the Amazon Warriors could have stolen the victory, but the Red Steel bowlers saw their team through.
Franklyn finished on 60 not out off 34 balls with five fours and three sixes, while Christopher Barnwell was unbeaten on 23 from 18 balls with one six and one four.
The Amazon Warriors needed 20 off the last over, but Kevon Cooper started with two dot balls wide of the batsman.
The pacer limited Franklyn to 16 in that over, with the New Zealand batsman hitting two fours and a six to bring his team close.
The Red Steel play the Antigua Hawksbills in their final home match tonight at the Oval from 8 p.m., while the Amazon Warriors take on the Barbados Tridents at the same venue today from 3 p.m.
T&T Red Steel Innings
K O’Brien c Mohammad Hafeez b Barnwell 70
A Barath c wkp Ramdin b Jacobs 29
R Taylor not out 39
N Pooran c Franklin b Santokie 3
DJ Bravo b Santokie 8
DM Bravo not out 7
Extras: (lb 1, w 2) 3
TOTAL: (4 wkts; 20 overs) 159
Did not bat: Kevon Cooper, Delorn Johnson, Yannic Cariah, Sulieman Benn, Fidel Edwards.
Wickets at: 95 (Barath), 125 (O’Brien), 128 (Pooran), 147 (DJ Bravo).
BOWLING: Barnwell 3-0-22-1 (2w); Santokie 4-0-25-2; Mohammad Hafeez 2-0-11-0; Narine 4-0-35-0; Franklin 2-0-25-0; Permaul 4-0-30-0; Jacobs 1-0-10-1
Guyana Amazon Warriors Innings
L Simmons c wkp Pooran b Edwards 18
M Guptill c Benn b Johnson 6
Mohammad Hafeez c wkp Pooran b DJ Bravo 35
R Sarwan c wkp Pooran b DJ Bravo 4
J Franklin not out 60
C Barnwell not out 23
Extras: (b 2, lb 3, w 5) 10
TOTAL: (4 wkts; 20 overs) 156
Did not bat: Stephen Jacobs, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Krishmar Santokie, Veerasammy Permaul.
Wickets at: 22 (Simmons), 41 (Guptill), 47 (Sarwan), 78 (Mohammad Hafeez).
BOWLING: Edwards 4-0-47-1; Johnson 4-0-25-1 (2w); Cooper 4-0-35-0 (2w); Benn 4-0-23-0 (1w); DJ Bravo 4-0-21-2.
Toss: Won by Red Steel who elected to bat
Result: Red Steel won by 3 runs
Player of the Match: Kevin O’Brien (Red Steel)
Points: Red Steel 2, Guyana Amazon Warriors 0
Umpires: P Nero, J Wilson
TV umpire: P Gustard