Guyana Amazon Warriors registered a 5-wicket win over Barbados Royals to close out the league stage of CPL 2022 in a late evening encounter at the Providence Stadium on Sunday. However, the Royals continue to reign at the top of the table, with 16 points and 8 wins to their name, and will enter the playoffs as firm favourites.
Earlier, the Warriors won the toss and opted to bowl first. It wasn't the start Kyle Mayers & co. would've expected, as the Royals lost their top three within the first two overs thanks to Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd striking early. But once again, it was the sizzling duo of Azam Khan and Jason Holder that began the Royals' resurrection, with their 51-run stand bringing some stability in the middle overs. Holder fell for a well-made 39-ball 42 that included three massive sixes and a four. At one point, it looked like the team would find it difficult to go past the 100-run mark amid a flurry of quick wickets. But some handy cameos from the tailenders ensured the Royals finished with 125 runs on the board.
In response, the Warriors lost opener Chandrapaul Hemraj on a duck in the first over as skipper Mayers worked his magic with the ball. Holder then got into the act, trapping Shai Hope plumb in front in the 4th over. However, Shakib Al Hasan scored a defining half-century that turned the tide in the Warriors' favour. His 30-ball 53 alongside a crucial 79-run partnership with opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz proved to be the difference between both sides. Obed McCoy dismissed both set batters but by then, the Warriors were well on course for a comfortable victory in the 15th over.
With 16 points to their name, the Royals round off a successful league stage and maintain their position as table-toppers. The Warriors have pocketed 11 points, and they sit in second place. Both teams will square off in the first qualifier on Tuesday, with the winner booking a direct berth in the grand finale, while the losing team will get another chance in the eliminator.