Sharjah: Andre Fletcher continued to massacre the bowlers and steered Pakhtoons to a seven-wicket win over Bengal Tigers on the sixth day of the T10 League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday. Fletcher, who had hit two unbeaten knocks of 68 against Rajputs and Sindhis, looked set for his third successive half-century but fell for 47 off just 18 balls.
Indian pace legend Zaheer Khan, setting the field for Fletcher, finally got him out caught by Mohammad Nabi at wide long on. Bengal Tigers, who had produced a poor batting show posting just 93 for six, did not have the total to fight back after this knock.
Pakhtoons did everything right from the start — including winning the toss and electing to field. Bengal openers Jason Roy began by hitting R.P. Singh’s second delivery for a boundary to long off. He also produced an elegant straight drive for another boundary off Sohail Khan. Roy’s partner Sunil Narine glanced Khan too for a boundary and also hit the first six of the match by lifting Khan over long on into the crowd.
Singh dismissed Roy by forcing him to hit straight to Colin Ingram at mid-off for 12. Luke Wright, next man in, pulled Singh for a boundary but he fell to the last ball of the over lifting to Ingram for boundary like Roy did earlier. That brought in the 20-year-old rising star from West Indies’ Sherfane Rutherford to the crease. Mohammad Irfan bowled a tight fourth over — giving away just eight runs and trapping Narine leg before for 15. Liam Dawson made it worse for Bengal by bowling skipper Sam Billings for one. Mohammad Nabi hit the first ball he faced from Dawson for a six to long on and Bengal at the halfway mark, were 47 for four. Rutherford hit Afridi for two successive sixes but a total of over 100 looked impossible.
Nabi hit Dawson over long off and so did Rutherford too over long-off and got run out to the fifth ball. Half the side back in the pavilion for 77 Aamer Yamin joined Nabi. Irfan bowled another brilliant over giving away just four runs. Khan clean bowled Nabi for 17. Afridi gave just eight runs in the last over and restricted Bengal to 93 for 6.
Chasing the easy target, Bengal’s young striker bowler and mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman bowled Pakhtoons opener Sharafuddin Ashraf for one with the fourth ball of the first over. The in-form Fletcher hit Aamer Yamin for a four and two effortless sixes. Shafiqullah Shafiq hit Rahman for a six over covers and also picked two boundaries.
Pakhtoons took full control over the match in the fourth over when Fletcher hit Morne Morkel three sixes and two boundaries to take 26 runs off the over. Though Sunil Narine trapped Shafiqullah leg before for 16, Fletcher continued to hit the bowlers with ease.