Dragons clinch title in final-over thriller

Band-e-Amir Dragons 158 for 7 (Ahmadi 55, Zahir 3-31) beat Mis Ainak Knights 154 for 7 (Raza 40, Rashid 1-22) by four runs

© AFP

Mis Ainak Knights needed 12 runs off the final over, but managed only seven as Band-e-Amir Dragons clinched a thriller to win the 2017 edition of the Shpageeza Cricket League. Chasing 159, Knights recovered from an early wobble to bring the equation down to 42 off the last three overs, and smashed 15 runs each off the 18th and 19th, but a tight final over by Zimbabwe international Tendai Chatara ensured Dragons finished on top.

Knights’ late charge began when Mohammad Nabi (27 off 12 balls) joined Sikandar Raza at the crease with the team 92 for 5 in the 14th over, and the two added 46 off 28 balls for the sixth wicket. Javeed Khan dismissed Nabi in the 19th over after conceding a six, but Dawlat Zadran hit two fours off the over’s last two balls to keep Knights in the hunt.

Chatara only conceded two runs off the first two balls of the final, over, leaving Knights to score 10 off the last four. Raza was run out off the third ball, and Chatara only conceded four off the last three balls to bowl his team to the title.

Dragons were also frugal in the middle overs, with Rashid Khan conceding only 22 in his four overs and Shahidullah only 17 off his three. This dragged back Knights, whose openers – primarily Ihsanullah, who smashed 20 off nine balls – had given them a flying start, scoring 34 in the first four overs. Ihsanullah’s partner Vusi Sibanda, however, only managed a strike rate of 72.72, scoring 24 off 33. Of the seven wickets that fell in the chase, three were run outs.

Having chosen to bat first, Dragons posted 158 courtesy a opening stand of 72 between Javed Ahmadi and Hazratullah (35 off 28). Their stand lasted 9.5 overs and gave their team the base from which to push towards a big first-innings total. But the left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan, who finished with figures of 3 for 31, negated their early advantage, and Dragons slumped from 99 for 1 to 129 for 6 in the space of four overs.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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