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The Durban Qalandars fought hard against the Sikandar Raza led Bulawayo Braves, and defeated them by 7 runs in what was a very closely contested game at the Harare Sports Club, in the inaugural edition of the Zim Afro T10.
Bangladesh star Taskin Ahmed finished this year’s competition as most wicket-taker with 11 wickets before get eliminated.
Having opted to bat first in the penultimate league stage game, the Durban Qalandars had the kind of start that was ideal for the Bulawayo Braves as Taskin Ahmed struck in the first over, cleaning up the in-form duo of Tim Seifert (0) and Andre Fletcher (6). In the next over, the Qalandars lost their skipper Craig Ervine for a duck as Tanaka Chivanga picked his first wicket.
Taskin came back for his second over and accounted for Hazratullah Zazai (5), to leave the Qalandars in a spot of bother as the score read 14/4 in the 3rd over. Nick Welch and Asif Ali were in the middle after that, and had the task of rebuilding. Together, they put on 34 runs for the fifth wicket, mixing aggression with caution as the dominant Braves’ bowling attack hunted for more wickets.
While Ali did most of the heavy lifting, Welch kept him good company, before being dismissed for 5 in the 7th over. That brought Ali and George Linde together, against a bowling attack who had their tails up and had been on the money from the get-go. While Ali was the next to head back to the pavilion for 32 off 20 deliveries, Linde continued to chip away. Linde (28*) and the lower order helped the Qalandars over the 100-run mark in the final overs, as they recovered and finished with the score on 103/8.
In response, the Braves too did not have it easy with the bat. Daryn Dupavillon drew first blood as Innocent Kaia for a duck, shortly after which Ben McDermott was dismissed for 8 by Brad Evans. Pegged back early on, the Braves needed partnership, but Kobe Herft (1) could not come up with goods as Evans struck again.
That brought Sikandar Raza and Beau Webster in the middle, and they began the rebuild, absorbing the pressure, running hard between the wickets and putting away the bad deliveries. The duo played superbly, and threatened to take the game away from the Qalandars with a 42-run stand. Raza was going strong and looking good for another important knock, however he was dismissed by Tendai Chatara for 21 in the 7th over.
Webster too had settled in and was in the mood to make it count, and had Thisara Perera for company. With Webster looking to ensure that he stays in to close the game out, it was the experienced Perera who was taking more of the chances in the death overs. However, that was not how it played out as Webster took the aerial route and was caught in the deep for 40, giving Chatara his second wicket of the game.
At this point, the Braves needed 10 runs from 4 balls and Perera had Ryan Burl for company. Chatara struck again of the second last ball of the game, getting the wicket of Perera, after which Patrick Dooley was run-out of the last ball, which meant the Braves lost by 7 runs.
Durban Qalandars – 103/8 (Asif Ali – 32, George Linde – 28*; Taskin Ahmed – 3/20, Patrick Dooley – 2/16) won by 7 runs against Bulawayo Braves – 96/6 (Beau Webster – 40, Sikandar Raza – 21; Tendai Chatara – 3/9, Brad Evans – 2/9)