Northern Warriors displayed the art of defending a moderate total and sunk Delhi Bulls by 13 runs in the 25th match of the Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. Delhi’s bowling attack led by Afghanistan’s left-arm pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi with two wickets in the first over strangled Northern Warriors’ run flow and restricted them to 79 for 5 in 10 overs. UAE’s Rahul Chopra, who top scored with an unbeaten 23 added some respect to the total.
Nothern Warriors fought back through a brilliant captaincy from Angelo Mathews and his army of tight bowlers led by Azmatullah Omarzai with two wickets for six runs from two overs and Ziaur Rahman with two wickets for 19 runs in two overs. They were backed by some brilliant fielding with wicketkeeper Chopra taking three catches. Omarzai who hit an unbeaten 13 and took two wickets was rightly judged the Player of the Match.
Northern Warriors bt Delhi Bulls by 13 runs. Northern Warriors 79 for 5 in 10 overs (Rahul Chopra 23n.o) Delhi Bulls 66 for 8 in 10 overs (Rilee Rossouw 20, Azmatullah Omarzai 2 for 6, Ziaur Rahman 2 for 19)
Player of the Match: Azmatullah Omarzai
Delhi Bulls’s tight bowling show
Delhi Bulls won the toss and elected to field. Northern Warriors got off to a shocking start. Fazalhaq Farooqi removed opener Kennar Lewis with the first ball of the match trapping him leg before. With the second ball he had Josh Cobb clean bowled with a delivery that swung in. Angelo Mathews denied Fazalhaq a hat-trick. Only three runs only came off that over.
Naveen Ul Haq bowled a tight second over giving away no boundaries. Hazratullah Zazai hit the first boundary of the innings off Wasim Akram’s third delivery cutting to third man region. The fourth over saw Zazai too depart caught behind by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off Richard Gleeson for 9.
Wasim Akram went on to remove Angelo Mathews, caught by Dwayne Bravo at extra cover fo 11. At the half way mark, Northern Warriors was struggling at 30 for 4. Bravo who was introduced for the sixth over gave away only seven runs. UAE’s Rahul Chopra hit the first six of the innings in the seventh over flicking Fazalhaq to deep mid-wicket. He also hit a boundary past fine leg and pulled the last ball for another boundary. It became the costliest over with 17 runs coming off it.
Neesham’s mis-hit off Bravo went for a boundary and Chopra played a lovely cut shot past gully for another boundary. Naveen Ul Haq ended Neesham’s knock by having him caught by Rilee Rossouw at deep mid-wicket for 10 in the ninth over. He also gave away only one run in that over.
Azmatullah Omarzai hit Gleeson’s first delivery of the last over for a six over mid-wicket and square drove the fifth for a boundary to remain unbeaten on 13. Chopra remained unconquered with a top score of 23 off 14 balls with three boundaries and a six.
Northern Warriors’ fight back
Delhi Bulls lost their opener Johnson Charles to the fourth ball of the first over from Kaunanain Abbas for a duck. Rilee Rossouw hit the first boundary of the innings through the cover off Neesham and also got another through a dropped edge off the fourth ball.
Omarzai took the valuable wicket of Quinton De Kock with the second ball of the third over through a fine catch by Rameez Shahzad at short third man for 1. Wickets continued to fall regularly, and in the fourth over skipper Rovman Powell was dismissed by Mathews caught behind by wicketkeeper Chopra for 1.
The fifth over saw the fall of Usman Khan edging Ziaur Rahman to wicketkeeper Chopra for 14. At the half way stage, Delhi Bulls too was struggling at 35 for 4, needing another 45 runs to win in the remaining five overs. Mathews bowled a tight sixth over giving away just three runs to mount the pressure on Delhi. In that over, Ravi Bopara got run out for 4.
Rossouw hit Neesham to long-leg for a six but perished to the fifth ball of that over caught by Mathews at extra cover for 20. With 34 runs needed of the last 18 balls, Bravo joined Ben Cutting. Left-arm spinner Sultan Ahmad clean bowled Cutting who went for a pull shot and missed it to be out for a duck.
Bravo hit Ziaur for a boundary off the second ball of the ninth over but edged the last ball for wicketkeeper Chopra to pull off a spectacular diving catch towards slip for 6. This resulted in 26 runs needed off the last over. Sultan Ahmed who bowled the last over gave away only 12 runs despite a six and a boundary from Naveen who remained unbeaten on 14.