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Former Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir displayed the traits that had once hailed him as one of the world’s finest demolishers of batting lineups to produce a spell of four wickets for just seven runs to wreck Chennai Braves’ batting. His spell restricted Chennai to 75 for 9 and ensured New York Strikers a five-wicket win in the 23rd match of the Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. With the win, the Strikers regained top position with 10 points.
New York Strikers too got off to a shaky start losing three wickets for 30 runs, but Asif Ali through an unbeaten 23 ensured their victory with nine balls to spare. Sam Cook and Junaid Siddique’s effort with two wickets each went in vain.
New York Strikers bt Chennai Braves by 5 wkts. Chennai Braves 75 for 9 in 10 overs (Mohammad Amir 4 for 7) New York Strikers 76 for 5 in 8.3 overs (Asif Ali 23n.o, Sam Cook 2 for 15, Junaid Siddique 2 for 21)
Player of the Match: Mohammad Amir
Amir’s deadly spell and crash of Chennai’s batting
Earlier, New York Strikers won the toss and elected to bowl. Chennai, who had lost their previous match to Deccan Gladiators, had a different opening combination with George Munsey opening the batting along with Kobe Herft. Munsey picked a boundary off the last ball of the first over from Akeal Hosein to square leg.
Herft got run out to the first ball of the second over through a quick direct throw by Mohammad Amir at the bowling end. Munsey followed in the next ball caught behind by wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz off Amir for 6. Amir also had two-drop Bhanuka Rajapaksa caught behind off the fourth ball for a duck. Worse was to follow as Amir struck with the last ball of the second over forcing Charith Aslanka to be caught behind for a duck. He produced a wicket maiden that saw Chennai reeling at four wickets down for just six runs.
Jason Roy and Sikandar Raza then began the damage repair. But Hosein bowled tight to give away only six runs from the third over. Roy picked a boundary to backward point off Sunil Narine’s fourth over but that is all he could get. Chamika Karunaratne, who bowled the fifth over, was hit for a six by Sikandar Raza over extra cover. At the half way stage Chennai’s score read 32 for 4.
When half he side was back in the dug-out, Sunil Narine had Raza on 14 edge and give wicketkeeper Gurbaz his fourth catch. Mohammad Nabi, who joined Roy, escaped being caught by Narine at slip off Muhammad Jawadullah at short third man. He celebrated his luck by hitting Jawadullah’s last ball of the seventh over for a six over long-off.
Amir picked his fourth wicket in the eighth over by cleaning bowling Roy who played across the line for 18. Jawadullah went on to remove Nabi in the ninth over by forcing him to cut straight into the hands of Narine at third man for 13.
In the last over, Kai Smith got run out for 3 but UAE’s Aayan Afzal Khan smashed Odean Smith for two boundaries. Ultimately, he got run out to the last ball of the innings for 13. Chennai paid the price for a poor start and could muster only 75 for 9.
New York’s chase to the target
New York Strikers began their chase to a shocking start. Sam Cook dismissed opener Niroshan Dickwella to the first ball of the innings by having him top edge to Junaid Siddique. With the third delivery, Cook also forced the consistent Gurbaz to play on to his wicket for a duck.
Muhammad Waseem hit Siddique for six off the second ball of the second over to over mid-wicket, but only eight runs came off that over. Mark Deyal hit Cook’s first ball of the third over through the gully for a boundary. Waseem too picked another boundary past short fine leg off Cook’s fourth delivery. He also did not spare Nabi who was hit to fine leg for a boundary.
Nabi struck with the fifth ball to have Waseem caught at long-on by Sikandar Raza for 18. The intense battle to gain control of the match continued with Asif Ali joining Deyal.
In the fifth over, Deyal took a boundary past the wicket keeper while Ali hit a six to deep mid-wicket to lower New York’s stress. Still 33 runs were needed off the last five overs. Nabi bowled a tight sixth over giving away only singles off all the deliveries. Deyal mistimed a pull into the hands of Raza off Siddique for 19.
With run-a-ball 20 runs required to win, Odean Smith hit Siddique for a six to long-off, but perished to the next ball caught by Afzal Khan at gully. Skipper Pollard and Ali took the team to the target with Pollard hitting the wining boundary off McCoy and remaining unbeaten on 9. Ali remained unconquered on 23 to win the match with nine balls to spare.