Bangla Tigers stop Northern Warriors’ spirited chase by two runs in front of a packed stadium

It was a great treat for the Sunday crowd that filled every seat at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. The 16th match of the Abu Dhabi T10 enthralled everyone with David Miller living up to his nickname as ‘Killer’ Miller after cracking a breezy 50 off 24 balls with four boundaries and three sixes to help Bangla Tigers post an impressive 137 for 4 in ten overs.

Northern Warriors took up the challenge through Hazratullah Zazai who hit 57 runs off just 20 balls with five boundaries and five sixes. Though Jamesh Neesham tried hard to pull his team to the target with an unbeaten 23, Bangla Tigers held on to their nerves and won the match.

Miller had put on a 67 runs partnership off 29 balls for the fourth wicket with Dasun Shanaka (14n.o). Opener Jordan Cox too hit a quick 35 off 16 balls with three boundaries and three sixes with Kusal Mendis chipping in a ten-ball 20 runs to give Bangla Tigers the challenging total in 10 overs.

Millers half century lift Bangla Tigers

Northern Warriors won the toss and followed the general trend of electing to field. Bangla Tigers’ openers Jordan Cox and Avishka Fernando took 16 runs off Northern Warriors’ skipper Angelo Mathews’ first over. It included a flicked away six by Fernando.

UAE’s left-arm spinner Sultan Ahmed, who bowled the second over, had Fernando caught at point by James Neesham for 11. Kusal Mendis walked in and hit Sultan for two boundaries and a six to take 17 runs off that over.

Runs continued to flow briskly in the third over too when Abhimanyu was hit for 23 runs Cox hit two sixes and a boundary off Mithun to steer Bangla Tigers past the 50 run mark.

Tabraiz Shamsi too was hit for a boundary by Mendis to take ten runs off that over. James Neesham ended Mendis’ knock for 20 when his pull shot ended up being caught by wicketkeeper Rahul Chopra at square leg. Neesham also went on to remove Cox with the last ball, clean bowled for 35. His knock off 16 balls had three boundaries and three sixes.

Dasun Shanaka and David Miller took up the challenge of maintaining the run flow. Miller steered Mithun for a boundary to short third man while Shanaka hit him for six to long-on. Miller went on to then punish Shamsi for a boundary and a six off consecutive deliveries to steer the total past the 100 run mark in eight overs.

Neesham’s first delivery of the ninth over was hit for a six by Miller to deep square leg and also for another boundary to take 18 runs off that over. Shanaka hit Angelo Mathews, who introduced himself for the last over, for a six to long leg. Miller hit Mathews’s fifth delivery for another six to reach his 50 in 23 balls. He was run out to the last ball of the innings.  Miller and Shanaka put on 67 runs off 29 balls for the fourth wicket.

Zazai’s second consecutive half century in vain

Northern Warriors began through their opener Kennar Lewis hitting Josh Little for a boundary and a six off the first over. Opener Hazratullah Zazai, who had hit 54 runs against Chennai Braves in his last match, continued in the same manner hitting Carlos Brathwaite for a boundary and a six off the first two balls of the second over. He also hit the fourth and sixth deliveries for sixes and took 23 runs off that over.

This was the start that Northern Warriors neeeded. Zazai went on hit Dominic Drakes to long on for a six and also a boundary through extra over. The score read 54 for no loss in just three overs.  The first ball of the fourth over saw Lewis get out to Daniel Sams edging to wicketkeeper Mendis for 22. Adam Hose walked in and also began to hit aggressively. He hit four consecutive boundaries off Sams.

Zazai did not spare Shanaka too and hit him for two consecutive boundaries to square leg and mid-wicket. With a boundary to exta cover and six over long-on, Zazai positioned Northern Warriors at a commanding 91 for 1 by the half way mark.

Zazai reached his half century in 18 balls with six off Rohan Mustafa to long on. Mustafa ended Zazai’s onslaught by having him play to Howell at backward point. His knock of 57 came off 20 balls with five boundaries and five sixes. At this point Warriors neeeded 38 runs off 25 balls. Little who was re-introduced for the seventh over got Hose out caught behind for 17.

With 30 runs needed off the last 18 balls, it was anybody’s game. Brathwaite who bowled the eighth over had Angelo Mathews brilliantly caught by Dominic Drakes at long-on. He flicked the ball inside from near the boundary, jumped back from outside the boundary and took the catch. With the next ball, Brathwaite also made Azmatullah Omarzai hit again to Drakes at long on.

The drama continued with Northern Warriors needing 27 runs from the last 12 balls. Neesham hit a boundary off Sams’ second ball. Sam yielded no more boundaries in that over.

The dramatic last over

Drakes started the last over with Northern Warriors needing 17 runs. Neesham scored a boundary to long-off off the first ball.  He bowled a wide off the second and the third ball was hit by Neesham for a boundary. This resulted in seven runs needed off the last three balls and that reduced to six runs needed off the last two balls. Two runs were taken off the fifth ball making it four off the last ball. Neesham tried to chip the last ball over third man but got only one run.

Brief scores:
Bangla Tigers bt Northern Warriors by 2 runs.  Bangla Tigers 137 for 4 in 10 overs (Jordan Cox 35, Kusal Mendis 20, David Miller 50, James Neesham 2 for 22) Northern Warriors 135 for 5 in 10 overs (Kennar Lewis 22, Hazratullah Zazai 57, James Neesham 23n.o, Carlos Brathwaite 2 for 26)
Player  of the Match: David Miller

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