T10: Delhi Bulls too strong for Bangla Tigers

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Ravi Bopara plays a shot. (Supplied photo)
Ravi Bopara plays a shot. (Supplied photo)

Dubai - Chasing a stiff target of 129, Gurbaz, Lewis and Bopara held it together to win in a canter, by seven wickets and seven balls to spare

By James Jose

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Published: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 11:13 PM

The Delhi Bulls top order featuring openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Evin Lewis and number three Ravi Bopara came up with the perfect riposte as they got the better of the Bangla Tigers in the third fixture of the Abu Dhabi T10 League on Thursday night.

Chasing a stiff target of 129, Gurbaz, Lewis and Bopara held it together to win in a canter, by seven wickets and seven balls to spare, at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Afghanistan’s Gurbaz top scored with a 15-ball 41 with five boundaries and two sixes, while West Indian Lewis made an unbeaten 32 from 18 deliveries that had three fours and two sixes. England’s Bopara scored 38 from 16 with the help of four boundaries and two sixes.

“I think it was a good game all around,” Delhi Bulls captain Dwayne Bravo said at the post-match presentation.

“They batted well. We know how dangerous (Johnson) Charles and (Andre) Fletcher can be with the bat. But the way Gurbaz put their best bowler under the pump from the first over itself was amazing. There was a bit of dew, it is expected when you play night games. But you have to find a way to play around it. We can get better and we would as the tournament progresses. We have to come back tomorrow again. It is good to have points on the board,” the West Indian added.

Earlier, Bangla Tigers opted to bat and the West Indian opening pairing of Johnson Charles and captain Andre Fletcher gave them an explosive start to help them rack up a competitive total.

Charles and Fletcher put the wheels on as the Bangla Tigers raced to 128 for 2.

The Bangla Tigers, coached by former Sri Lankan international Thilina Kandamby, were eyeing a much bigger score than they ended up with but Fletcher’s departure at the start of the eighth over, and Tom Moores soon after, slowed their charge a little bit.

Charles and Fletcher showed their intent right from ball one and didn’t give the Delhi Bulls bowling attack a whiff of a chance.

Charles brought up the team’s 50 in 23 deliveries by smacking Ali Khan to the midwicket boundary.

Charles then ushered in his half-century in just 20 balls by coshing opposition skipper Dwayne Bravo for a six over long-on as the Bangla Tigers moved to 89 for no loss after six overs.

The 100-run opening stand was up between the two in 40 deliveries after Fletcher flat-hit an Ali Khan half-volley to the long-off boundary.

Fletcher earned a reprieve off the last ball of the same over after wicketkeeper Gurbaz failed to hold on to a top edge.

But Fletcher couldn’t make full use of that as he was castled off the first ball of the next over. Bravo came up with a fine yorker and Fletcher was unable to get his bat down in time and saw his furniture disturbed.

Southpaw Moores could only manage two from four balls before he top-edged Fidel Edwards down Bravo’s throat at short cover.

New batsman Afif Hossain hit three boundaries, two off successive deliveries, off Kashif Daud in the final over, as the Bangla Tigers finished up with that total.

Daud, the UAE medium pacer was the most expensive bowler, conceding 36 from his two overs, without a wicket.

The chase was given the impetus by Gurbaz, who got stuck into the Bangla Tigers bowling attack.

The 19-year-old began by smoking compatriot and fellow 19-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman for a six off the first ball of the chase.

Gurbaz’s partner West Indian Evin Lewis too got in on the act by hitting three boundaries off Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Irfan.

The pair put on 48, with most of the runs coming from Gurbaz, but his knock was put to an end by countryman Karim Janat, who had him bowled with a fine yorker.

Lewis and Bopara were then involved in a crucial 51-run partnership for the second wicket before the Bangla Tigers inflicted twin blows.

Bopara and Mohammad Nabi fell in quick succession but Lewis and fellow West Indian Sherfane Rutherford took them home.

Brief scores:

Bangla Tigers: 128-2 in 10 overs (Johnson Charles 73 not out, Andre Fletcher 32) lost to Delhi Bulls: 129-3 in 8.5 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 41, Ravi Bopara 38, Evin Lewis 32 not out, Karim Janat 2-34) by 7 wickets.


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