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Bangla Tigers prevented Chennai Braves from performing any brave act and raced to a 27-run win in the 26th match of the Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. After Robin Uthappa, playing in his first match, gave a quick start hitting 20 runs, Kusal Mendis (32) and Dasun Shanaka (34) provided Bangla Tigers a strong total of 126 for 5 in the 10 overs. Though Mohammad Nabi bagged three wickets for 15 runs, Chennai could not restrain their run flow.
Chennai’s chase then failed to rise to the challenge. The only brave innings came from skipper Charith Asalanka who cracked 55 runs off the 26 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes. Through a fine display of tight bowling led by Haider Ali with two wickets for 17 runs, Bangla Tigers restricted Chennai to 99 for 6 in 10 overs. This win helped the Bangla Tigers move to the fourth slot with eight points.
Bangla Tigers bt Chennai Braves by 27 runs. Bangla Tigers 126 for5 in 10 overs (Robin Uthappa 20, Kusal Mendis 32, Dasun Shanaka 34, Mohammad Nabi 3 for 15) Chennai Braves 99 for 6 in 10 overs (Charith Asalanka 55, Haider Ali 2 for 17)
Player of the Match: Dasun Shanaka
Nabi strikes but Bangla Tigers post a strong total
Bangla Tigers got off to an electrifying start with Robin Uthappa hitting the first two deliveries of the innings from Chris Soles for boundaries over short fine leg and extra cover. Nine runs came off the first over.vUthappa also hit Obed McCoy to long-off boundary in the second over. The veteran leg spinner Imran Tahir struck with the second ball of the third over getting opener Daniel Sams clean bowled for 1. Uthappa did not spare Tahir either and hit his fourth delivery for a six over the bowler’s head. UAE’s accurate bowler Junaid Siddique then got Uthappa, who was settling down, caught by Tahir at short fine leg with the second ball of the third over for 20. Nabi, who bowled the fifth over also got Avishka Fernando caught by George Munsey at long-on for 5 with the third delivery. Bangla Tigers reached the 50 run mark at the half way stage.
Sole, who bowled the first over, was introduced again for the sixth over. Kusal Mendis hit his fourth delivery for a six over long-on. Tahir also got hit for two sixes and a boundary by Dasun Shanaka in the seventh over to take their score to 80 for 3.
Siddique, who bowled the eighth over, was hit by Mendis for two boundaries to take 15 runs off the over. But Nabi got Mendis out at the score of 99 caught by a diving Munsey at long-on for 32. His knock off 15 balls had two boundaries and two sixes. Nabi also got Shanaka clean bowled for 34. His 15 ball knock had three boundaries and two sixes. Skipper Benny Howell hit McCoy’s second ball of the last over for a huge six over mid-wicket and the fifth ball for another six over square leg. Howell slashed McCoy to the third man for a boundary and remained unbeaten on 16. McCoy gave away 24 runs off that over and Bangla Tigers posted a strong target.
Asalanka’s brave half century in vain
A good start was needed from the Chennai Braves’ openers Jason Roy and Kobe Herft. Daniel Sams had Roy out for 1 caught by Brathwaite at short third man off a leading edge to the last ball of the first over. Only two runs came off that over. Rohan Mustafa too bowled a tight second over giving away only a boundary to Munsey. Howell struck with the first ball of the third over by having Munsey caught and bowled for 5. Asalanka hit Howell elegantly through the covers for a boundary and another by lifting to extra cover. Some more big hits were needed and Asalanka hit Shannon Gabriel’s fifth ball of the fourth over for a six over fine leg. Haider Ali clean bowled Herft, who took ten balls to score six runs, off an arm ball while attempting a slog sweep.
Bhanuka Rajapaksha joined Asalanka but lasted only three balls to score three runs before lifting Haider to Shanka at deep cover. By the halfway mark, Bangla Tigers had taken a strong grip on the match with the score reading 36 for 4 and Chennai having to score 91 runs off the remaining five overs. Asalanka continued to stroke fluently and hit another fluent cover drive of Haider and a six-over long-off. Yet 66 runs were needed off the last three overs. Mustafa clean bowled Nabi with the first ball of the eighth over. That brought in UAE’s Vriitya Aravind to the crease.
Asalanka reached his half century in 24 balls picking two boundaries off Sams’ ninth over. Together with Aravind (12n.o), Asalanka put on a 37-run partnership in 15 balls for the sixth wicket before slicing Drakes into the hands of Sams at deep cover for 55. Chennai could muster only 99 for 6 in their 10 overs.