…Russell’s heroics fail to ignite defending champions
AS if Saturday’s cliff-hanger, which ended off the last ball, wasn’t enough, Sunday’s final of the second edition of Global T20 Canada produced a heart-stopping thriller which saw Winnipeg Hawks dethroning inaugural winners, Vancouver Knights, at the CAA Center, Brampton, Ontario, Canada, in the first super over of the tournament.
The super over became a reality following the histrionics of Andre Russell who bulldozed his way to a boundary-studded unbeaten 46 off 20 balls, clobbering three fours and five sixes as Vancouver Knights ended on 192 for six in pursuit of Winnipeg Hawks’ 192 for eight in their 20 overs.
Russell’s heroics were, however, in vain as the defending champions could only muster nine for two in the super over, with Winnipeg Hawks achieving the required 10 off four deliveries.
The dangerous Russel, who, the Windies Cricket Board (WCB) said was using the tournament as part of rehabilitation from a knee surgery, entered the fray with Vancouver Knights needing 54 from 19 balls, and he did not disappoint the bumper sold-out crowd which, like last year, was the biggest of the three-week festival.
By the start of the last over, bowled by Pakistani medium-pacer Kaleem Sana, the deficit had been reduced to 17 with Russell at the non-striker’s end at the commencement of the over. With last year’s man-of-the-match, Saad Bin Zafar, completing a single off the first delivery, Russell smashed the second delivery straight over the bowler’s head for a six. This brought the equation to 10 from four.
Sana’s next ball was adjudged a no-ball and Russel obliged by smashing the free hit over the boundary, as it became three from three. With the next delivery being a maiden ball, it was three from two.
In a mad rush for three off the final delivery, Saad Bin Zafar (27) failed to beat the cover fielder as himself and Russell only completed two as the spectators were left in awe.
Earlier, Winnipeg Hawks were given a rollicking start of 73 in six overs by man-of-the-match, Shaiman Anwar, and Chris Lynn (37) with the former going on to hit a brilliant 90 before departing in the 16th over; his knock laced with eight fours and seven towering sixes.
The consistent Lynn stroked four fours and three sixes while JP Duminy contributed a useful 33 off 27 balls with one four and two sixes. Russell, who was used sparingly as a bowler during the tournament, picked up four for 29 from his four overs.
Vancouver Knights started disastrously, losing the wickets of Chadwick Walton (01), Tobias Visee (0), Daniel Sams (21) and Russie van der Dussen (23) and were 53 for four in the eighth over before Pakistani Shoaib Malik (64) and Saad Bin Zafar featured in a face-saving fifth-wicket partnership of 86 in 10.1 overs with Malik dominating the stand.
Malik’s dismissal in the 17th over, after striking six fours and three sixes off 36 balls, seemed a telling blow for Vancouver Knights until Russell arrived and transformed the game but, as faith would have it, his effort was all in vain.
Skipper Rayad Emrit, who also suffered at the hands of Russell, finished with two for 37 while Paul Van Meekeren took two for 40.
On Saturday, Winnipeg Hawks were powered to victory off the last delivery of the innings with Anwar once more among the runs with 52 off 23 balls , hitting six fours and three sixes after sharing another enterprising opening stand of 76 in 6.1 overs with Lynn whose 35 (three fours and three sixes) came off 20 balls. Duminy spanked a quick-fire undefeated 50 off 34 balls with three fours and three sixes to ensure victory towards the end.
Opponents Brampton Wolves had earlier reached exactly 200 for seven with several of their batsmen getting into the thirties but none going beyond. Emrit claimed three for 43 and Sana two for 25.