Azam Khan's 42-ball 64, coupled with Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Nyeem Young's three-wicket hauls powered the Barbados Royals to a dominating 36-run win over St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in Guyana on Wednesday. This is the Royals' eighth win of the tournament, and they now have 16 points to their name.
Earlier, Patriots captain Dwayne Bravo won the toss and opted to bowl first. It was a decent Powerplay for the Royals, who scored 43 runs in the first six overs, despite having lost opener Rahkeem Cornwall in the 4th over. Kyle Mayers and Harry Tector set the foundation with their 24-run partnership for the 2nd wicket. The skipper was dismissed by Akila Dananjaya soon after, and there was a slight dip in the run rate for a brief period.
But Azam Khan walked in like a man on a mission and swung the momentum in his team's favour with his explosive innings. He started off cautiously but then accelerated to take the attack on the Patriots bowlers as Harry played the perfect supporting role from the other end. The duo put up an astonishing 102-run partnership that included 8 fours and 7 massive sixes. The last five overs alone fetched 62 runs, with Azam registering his maiden fifty of the season along the way. Harry batted well for his 44-ball 47 and stayed unbeaten till the 20th over. Azam fell in the 19th over, but by then the Royals were already nearing the 150-run mark. Jason Holder walked in and smashed a boundary to help the team finish with 156/3 in their 20 overs.
The Patriots' chase began strongly, with openers Evin Lewis and Andre Fletcher teaming up to take 43 runs off the Powerplay. But that partnership was broken as soon as Mujeeb came into the attack and forced Fletcher to go for a big heave across the line, only to be caught at backward square leg. Lewis continued to hit the occasional boundary and was also dropped on 40 by Mujeeb off his own bowling. However, the spinner returned to complete the act in the 14th over, cleaning up Lewis who had only scored a solitary run since his reprieve.
While Mujeeb was sensational from one end, Nyeem Young wasn't too far behind. The 15th over saw the Patriots batters take 15 runs off Hayden Walsh. But Young came onto bowl the next over and immediately neutralised the threat. His double-wicket over included the scalp of Dewald Brevis, who was playing a blinder of an innings to take his team closer to the target. Holder followed it up with another double-wicket over and the Patriots were left reeling at 108/7 by the end of the 17th over.
Mujeeb returned to complete his spell by taking his third wicket of the innings, and a brilliant run-out by Holder sent the Patriots skipper packing in the 19th. With 39 runs needed in the final over, it was all but over for the Patriots as they were bowled out for 120 with 3 balls to spare.