Sharjah: Northern Warriors rode on hard-hitting Nicholas Pooran’s shower of sixes as they marched past Kerala Knights by eight wickets in the first match of T10 on Thursday. After restricting Kerala to 101 for two in 10 overs, Warriors reached the target with 16 balls to spare.
Pooran hit an unbeaten 43 off just 18 balls with five sixes and two boundaries with all-rounder Andre Russell chipping in with an unbeaten 29 off 10 balls with four sixes. Speaking after the win, Man of the Match Pooran said: “I want to fully utilise my form when it is going good. I hope my form in the T10 will help me score well in T20 format too as I hope to extent my form there.”
Coached by Robin Singh and captained by Darren Sammy, Warriors look unstoppable at the moment. Electing to bowl after winning the toss, Warriors off-spinner Chris Green bowled a fine first over — giving away just three runs. Russell too bowled tightly despite Stirling hitting him to a boundary to backward square leg.
In the third over, Stirling hit Green for a six to long off and also scored two boundaries to take 16 runs off the over. When Wahab Riaz too gave away only nine runs from the over, Kerala needed some big hits.
Stirling lifted Hardus Viljoen over mid-wicket for a six at the half-way mark, and Kerala were still only 45 for no loss. In the sixth over bowled by Ravi Bopara, Stirling hit two consecutive sixes, the first over long on and second over mid-wicket. Chris Gayle hit a six off Russell but two balls later lifted the ball straight to Green at long on for 14. The opening pair put 68 runs in 6.4 with Stirling scoring 51 of the total then.
Eoin Morgan joined Stirling and scored a boundary off Bopara’s first ball of the eighth over. The rest of the deliveries from Bopara were so accurate that the batsmen could score only singles. Stirling managed to hit Viljoen for a six to deep mid-wicket but fell to the last ball of the over getting caught at mid-wicket by Kennar Lewis for 60.
Jonny Bairstow, who flew in to join Kerala after his duties with England team in Sri Lanka, joined Morgan and ensured his team cross the 100-run mark.
Warriors openers Lendl Simmons and Pooran scored 12 runs off Sohail Tanvir’s opening over. Pooran, who has hit the maximum sixes in this tournament, hit his 21st six by hositing Mohammad Naveed. Wayne Parnell had Simmons caught behind by Bairstow for 12 but Pooran continued to hit sixes with ease. He hit Sandeep Lamichchane for three sixes in the fourth over and even escaped being caught and bowled at 35. Rovman Powell fell quickly to Benny Howell for 14. Russell pulled Tanvir out of the stadium with the ball hitting a lorry on the road. The pair helped their team reach the target easily.