Warriors win last-ball thriller against Sindhis

Source | Khaleej Times Nov 27, 2018

As the T10 League at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium entered its seventh day, the team totals have begun to shrink. But sometimes even a low-scoring match can have many edge-of-the-seat moments, like the one witnessed between Northern Warriors and Sindhis on Tuesday night.

Chasing 92 to win, the Warriors scraped home in the last ball with one wicket in hand.

Warriors needed eight runs from the last over. Left-arm pacer Usuru Udana was handed the ball by his captain Shane Watson. The Sri Lankan sent his first ball wide and the batsmen also ran for a single from the misfield which made it 6 from 6.

Next ball Chris Green tried to loft Udana over the ropes but found Dawid Malan in the deep. The match now started to get exciting and edgy. Then a superb throw from wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber caught Wahab Riaz napping.

It came down to five runs from three balls. But Imran Haider pierced the point region to get a crucial four and make it one run from two balls for the Warriors.

But like the pundits say, a cricket match is never over until the last ball is bowled, and it proved so.

From the second-last ball Anton Devcich pulled off a brilliant one-handed catch to see the back of Haider and keep Sindhis’ hopes alive.

Needing one from one a lot must have gone through the minds of tail-enders Hardus Viljoen and Harry Gurney. Udana barged in with long strides and beat Gurney but both batsmen just ran for their lives, so to speak, and in all the chaos wicketkeeper Shabber missed the stumps this time and Warriors breathed a sigh of relief.

In the pool matches, Sindhis had finished at the bottom in Group A, while Northern Warriors had topped Group B.

Earlier, tidy bowling performances from Harry Gurney (2-20), Hardus Viljoen (2-15) and Andre Russell (2-18) restricted Sindhis to 91 for 6.

Watson was the standout batsman for Sindhis with 50 from 28 balls (five fours and three sixes). He is currently second among the top scoring batsmen with 171 runs, 44 runs behind Pakhtoons’ Andre Fletcher (215), who rules the roost, and only one run ahead of Northern Warriors’ Nicholas Pooran (170).

Despite the Warriors’ sloppiness in the field – they dropped catches and misfielded on a couple of occasions – they still managed to keep the Sindhis to below 100 with Thisara Perera (11) and Mohammad Nawaz (11 not out) being the other batsmen to get into double figures.

Wahab Riaz was the bowler affected by two dropped catches in his first over and that probably demoralised him as he went for runs in his next over when Watson hit him for two sixes to spoil his bowling figures.

But just when Watson and Ben Cutting were looking to accelerate, Hardus Viljoen sent both back to the pavilion.

Riaz may have received the stick from Watson, but he also had a hand in getting him out, taking a catch in the deep off the bowling of Viljoen. The South African shares the top spot among wicket-takers (seven) along with Sindhis’ Pravin Tambe.