By Ravi Madholall in Toronto
Vancouver Knights are one major win away of retaining the prestigious Global T20 title for the second year in succession after they humiliated Brampton Wolves in Qualifier 1 on Thursday.
Playing at the tournament lone venue, CAA Centre in Brampton, Knights progressively rattled up a formidable 170-4 from the reduced 16-overs while Brampton Wolves only replied with 103 all out in 13.4 overs.
Having defeated a West Indies B team at the inaugural outing last year by a comprehensive seven-wicket margin with Canadian player Saad Bin Zafar hitting a responsible, unbeaten 79, Zafar was once again in an instrumental role by claiming four wickets for 22 runs from four overs.
Knights will wait on the winner of Qualifiers 2, which was scheduled to be played on Saturday between Wolves and Winnipeg Hawks.
Delivering with his left-arm orthodox spin on a benign pitch in overcast conditions, Zafar also received admirable support from left-arm medium-pacer Daniels Sams who snatched three for 29 off 2.4 overs while medium-pacer Hayden Walsh collected two for 18 in his three overs to help with the demolition.
Brampton Wolves were never in close proximity of the total after they had lost wickets on a regular basis losing West Indian discarded opening batsman Lendl Simmons and George Munsey for 3 and 2 respectively.
However, New Zealand buoyant left-hander Colin Munro appeared at number three and put up a decent fight despite standing among the carnage. Nitish Kumar (02), Babar Hayat (08), Shahid Afridi (00) and Abraash Khan (00) fell rapidly failing to negotiate the virtually unplayable Zafar. Munro continued to be determined mixing solid defense with steady aggression. He unleashed a series of boundaries predominantly on the leg-side, lifting six sixes and five fours from just 25 balls before he was undone by Zafar via a catch.
Earlier, Brampton Wolves who emerged as the point’s leader at the completion of the preliminary round, won the toss and immediately elected to field.
Inform Tobias Visee and Jamaican Chadwick Walton started proceedings but the later succumbed for 9 bowled by Canada leg-spinner Junaid Siddiqui at 25-1 while Visee who cracked half-dozen fours and two sixes felt for a well-entertained 40 while South Africa batsman He ven der Dussen continued with his prolific form by scoring an impressive 25.
In an effort to set up a massive total, Pakistani veteran player Shohib Malik in typical fashion blasted three sixes and four fours from his 26-ball occupation at the crease with 46 not out. He and the dynamic Andre Russell, who is known for his flamboyance in this exciting version around the world, put together an enterprising 77-run fourth-wicket stand that drained the enthusiasm out of the oppositions.
Meanwhile, Vancouver Knights have suffered an enormous blow to one of their most essential players and skipper Chris Gayle who left the tournament for West Indies duty against India in the Caribbean.
The pugnacious left-handed opening batsman Gayle had been in supreme form with three attractive scores: 122 not out, 94 and 45.