PLAYING with the fearlessness of youth and the bravado that usually accompanies it, 20 year old Sherfane Rutherford said he certain the Guyana Amazon Warriors will beat the Trinbago Knight Riders tonight and qualify for Sunday’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final.
Both teams square off at 6pm tonight in the first qualifier, after finishing in the top two of the preliminary standings.
Rutherford, who has played for Guyana’s under-19 team and West Indies B, slaughtered the Knight Riders attack on Sunday. The left-hander pummelled 45 not out off 13 balls with one four and six monstrous sixes to lift the Amazon Warriors to a convincing six-wicket victory that guaranteed them second place. Rutherford, who was one hit away from scoring the fastest ever CPL half-century — the record is 18 balls — is confident the hosts will beat TKR thrice in one week. The Knight Riders defeated Guyana last Wednesday in Trinidad but the Amazon Warriors won the return leg on Sunday.
“We’re playing them a lot so it’s just about executing, and we will beat them,” he declared.
Rutherford, who strolled to the crease on Sunday with the score 86 for three after Nikita Miller had Jason Mohammed (5) caught at long-off by Dwayne Bravo, went on the attack immediately with three straight sixes off Miller including an audacious reverse sweep that sailed over the ropes.
“It was my intention to go out and back myself. We’re in the semis (playoffs) so nothing to lose,” he said.
“I’m very confident and it’s the confidence that I needed. Hopefully going into the next game I give my team that boost and we come out victorious and get into the final and bring home that trophy,” he added.
Chris Green, captain of Guyana, lauded Man-of-the-match Rutherford and 21 year old Shimron Hetmyer who topscored with a brutal 59 off 30 balls. “To Hetmyer and Rutherford, that was a joy to watch, the way they backed themselves to get us over the line and into this one vs two playoff.
I’m so pleased for them. Rutherford knew what was required of him....and he did it from ball one. I had the best seat in the house, sitting on the sideline here watching it,” Green said.
The South African, who replaced Emrit as skipper of the team, praised the Trinidadian for his professionalism and ability to bowl under intense pressure.
Emrit, who had assumed the mantle as skipper following the exit of Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik midway in the tournament, had figures of two for 25 from four overs including the big wickets of Denesh Ramdin (32) and Dwayne Bravo (14).
“I think he showed his class. The past 48 hours, missing last night’s game (vs Jamaica Tallawahs) and no longer being captain, to come back (and perform well) he really showed his character. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys and particularly Rayad showing his character, leadership and maturity.
Taking those crucial wickets and bowling crucial overs tonight sets us up in a great place going into Tuesday. We’re full of confidence and we know what we have to do now,” Green said.