By Ravi Madholall in Toronto
Toronto Nationals snagged an exciting six-wicket win over Vancouver Knights on Thursday as the 2018 and inaugural Global T20 Canada tournament commenced at Maple Leaf ground, King City, Toronto.
Set a formidable 231 for victory from the allotment of 20-overs, the Nationals surpassed the target in the final over thanks to a splendid effort from middle-order number-4 batsman Anton Devcich, who caressed six sixes and ten fours in his unbeaten 92.
He was admirably supported by suspended Australia skipper Steve Smith who fashioned an impressive half-century (61) and the two also shared a steady 89-run third-wicket stand.
Opener Johnson Charles set up a solid foundation by making 30 before fall victim to spinner Saad Bin Zafar while Nizakat Khan (06) was bowled comprehensively by New Zealand’s fast-bowler Tim Southee.
After Smith was departed, the fluent Devcich continued to flourish with boundaries as he played several effortless shots over the ropes and partnered with skipper Darren Sammy to seal the deal on a lively pitch.
Sammy quickly smacked two fours and two sixes from ten deliveries to score 22 not out while Devcich, the former New Zealand cricketer, faced 44 balls during his occupation at the crease.
Earlier, Vancouver Knights took first strike at the invitation of Toronto Nationals but lost their captain and star-batsman Chris Gayle for 17.
However, Trinidadian and Gayle’s opening companion Evis Lewis flayed the attack to all parts of the park by striking a belligerent 96 laced with ten sixes and five fours from 55 balls while Andre Russell also showed great aggression by contributing an attractive 54 not out.
He Vander Dussen chipped in with 25. Spinner Nikhil Dutta, who got the initial break-through, finished with 2-26 from his maximum four overs.
Meanwhile at the presentation ceremony just after the conclusion of the match, Devcich was named player-of-the-match. Victorious leader Sammy stated that the win was clinical. “The way Smith and Charles went after the chase, was clinical. I thought if we needed 100 off the last 8 it was good for us. We went way better than that,” the St. Lucian-born Sammy related.
Gayle also spoke at the post-match ceremony citing it was a good start to this tournament alluding to the fact that over 500 runs scored.
“It was a good game. This is what we asked for. In the first game, you always look to assess. Few nerves here and there. This pitch is going to be a tricky one for the bowlers. It’s good to see Evin among the runs.
The action continues on Friday at the same venue with one match being scheduled. Montreal Tigers looking to roar against Winnipeg Hawks from 16:00hrs.