Sharjah: Pakhtoons opener Andre Fletcher through a breezy unbeaten 68 off just 27 balls with five sixes and six boundaries over shadowed Rajput’s captain Brendon McCullum’s knock off 58 runs that came off 29 balls with three boundaries and six sixes. Fletcher ensured Pakhtoons a nine wicket win with two balls to spare on the third day of the second edition of the T10 League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The Friday crowd were entertained to brilliant knocks by these two best hard-hitters of the game though Rajput’s dangerous batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who won the hearts of the fans through his unbeaten 74 in 16 balls against Sindhis in the first match, fell for six. He began by hitting Sohail Khan’s second ball of the first over for a six but fell for the same score off the last ball of the over hitting to Shahid Afridi at mid-wicket. Behind this dismissal was an interesting tale. Khan, who is a close friend of Shahzad, had challenged Shahzad that he would pick his wicket. “He is a Pathan and I am a Pathan. We both wanted to succeed. I knew his weakness that if I attack his body I would get his wicket and so I got his wicket but he is a great player.”
Rilee Rossouw, who joined Brendon McCullum, hit slow left-arm spinner Liam Dawson for three consecutive sixes in the second over. McCullum smashed the tall and lanky Mohammad Irfan for three sixes and a boundary in the third over. India’s RP Singh was also punished by McCullum hitting two sixes while Rossouw too hit him for a six. Afridi clean bowled Rossouw for 25 in the fifth over. McCullum hit his sixth sixer off Afridi’s sixth ball of the sixth over. He reached his half century in 21 balls.
Raputs went past the 100 run mark in 7.5 overs. McCullum got bowled by Irfan to the fifth ball of the last over after steering his team to a challenging total.
Rossouw was thrilled with the experience of batting with McCullum. “This is the first time I played in T10. McCullum is a great player and I felt so nice to bat with him. If we had scored 15 more runs we would have won the match,” said Rossouw.
Fletcher and Delport opened for Pakhtoons and hit 20 runs off the first over from Samit Patel. They put on 53 runs in four overs before Delport was caught by Ben Dunk off Tymal Mills for 22. Shafiqullah Shafiq joined Fletcher and thrashed the bowling attack. Fletcher reached his half century in 21 balls and Pakhtoons needed just 20 runs from the last 12 balls and they won with two balls to spare. Shafiq remained unbeaten on 29 off 18 balls with three sixes and one boundary
Brief scores: Pakhtoons bt Rajputs by nine wickets. Rajputs 121 for 3 in 10 overs (Brendon McCullum 58, Rilee Rossouw 25, Laurie Evans 27n.o) Pakhtoons 126 for 1 in 9.4 overs (Cameron Delport 22, Andre Fletcher 68n.o, Shafiqullah Shafiq 29n.o) Man of the match: Andre Fletcher.