By USACricketers Staff | Scorecard | Photo Gallery
The battle for T20 supremacy in the Commonwealth Cricket League lived up to the hype when Strikers clashed with National in a close encounter last Sunday, July 12th at Cunningham Park. Strikers went on to win the game on the second to last ball of the game.

Strikers’ skipper Irfan Malik won the toss and elected to field on a sunny but humid day. His reason for taking the field first was that he had a better batting line-up in comparison to his team’s bowling.

Zamal Khan (left) and K. Yadram during their 29 runs partnership Photo by Shem Rodney

Zamal Khan (left) and K. Yadram during their 29 runs partnership. Photo by Shem Rodney

National got off to a flying start when F. Ali and F. Ahmed went out in the middle. They put on 40 before F. Ahmed was caught by Amir Khan off the bowling of K. Yadram for 16, striking two fours along the way.

Z. Hussain would then join F. Ali and the pair added 64 valuable runs. F. Ali was the more aggressive of the two. He contributed 36 from 29 deliveries before being caught by Zamal Khan, when he top edged a delivery from K. Yadram for a well-played 57. Z. Hussain went on to make 23 as no other National batsman except Masum Rahman (10) got into double figures.

Some fine spin bowling from Amir Khan, K. Yadram and Chanderpaul Hemraj would restrict National to 135 for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

Strikers in reply lost opener Waqas Ali on the second ball of the first over boosting National’s confidence.

Chanderpaul Hemraj would join S. Shahzad, the other opener but he did not stay for long as he was caught for 3 off the bowling of S. Khan, with the scorecard reading 2 for 10.

The hard-hitting Lisan Chowdhury partnered with S. Shahzad and added 21 before the latter was bowled by F. Ahmed for 21, which included 2 fours and a six.

Chowdhury would later partner with new batsman Zamal Khan and together added 23 runs. Chowdhury was the next batsman to fall as he was caught by Z. Hussain off the bowling of Masud Rahman for a quick 20 that came off 13 balls.

Amir Khan joined Zamal Khan and the two batted brilliantly picking up the singles along with the odd boundary here and there, adding 29 for the fifth-wicket partnership. Amir Khan would depart for a useful 11, with the score at 86 for 5 off 11.4 overs.

At this stage, Strikers would need 49 runs from 50 balls. Seemed like an easy task, but the momentum would shift from team to team.

F. Ali of National during his knock of 57. Photo by Shem Rodney

F. Ali of National during his knock of 57. Photo by Shem Rodney

Zamal would find a useful partner in K. Yadram as they consolidated the innings and pushed the score to 115, but K. Yadram was caught for 10 off the bowling of T. Rahman with the scorecard reading 115 for 6 off 17 overs.

Zamal Khan took it upon himself to ensure Strikers would reach the target but not before some excitement as he displayed some exquisite strokes around the ground.

Kishan Dass made his way to the middle with 21 runs needed from 18 balls. He would add 14 runs with Zamal Khan in the next two overs.

In the final over, another five runs was required, here is how the five deliveries that was needed for the win went down, Dass went for three, big hit, which he missed, and desperation could be seen in the Strikers camp. Zamal Khan was animated in a pitch conference with Dass. He would then get a single and give Zamal the strike on the fourth ball.

Zamal Khan is hoisted by teammates after hitting the winning run. Photo by Shem Rodney

Zamal Khan is hoisted by teammates after hitting the winning run. Photo by Shem Rodney

With Khan on 46 and on strike – quite pleasing to Strikers and their supporters. A ball outside the off-stump from F. Ahmed, Zamal Khan played a bit shot towards the cover area – got an inside edge – it sneaked past the keeper – and quickly raced away towards third man for 4…streaky, but effective!  Strikers win by 4 wickets – 1 ball to spare!