Zim Afro T10: Hazratullah Zazai leads Durban Qalandars to historic first title

Harare, July 30 (IANS) The Durban Qalandars, buoyed by the power-hitting of the Afghanistan batter Hazratullah Zazai, clinched the title in the inaugural edition of the Zim Afro T10, defeating the Joburg Buffaloes in the final, in front of a packed house at the Harare Sports Club.

On what was a historic night for Zimbabwe cricket, Zazai smashed a match-winning 43 not out from 22 deliveries to help deliver the title. The Qalandars won by 8 wickets and 4 balls to spare.

Asked to bat first, the Joburg Buffaloes came out of the gates very quickly, with the duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Tom Banton looking to score fast and entertain the packed house. The openers hit cleanly against the new ball and raced away to a 50-run partnership, getting to the mark in just over three overs.

But before the fourth over was completed Hafeez was cleaned up by George Linde for 32, and shortly after that, Will Smeed (5) was headed back to the hut. A few lusty hits later Banton lost his wicket for 36, with the score at 77/3 in the 7th over.

In came Yusuf Pathan, who had Ravi Bopara for company, and the Indian batter started off well, finding the boundaries with ease. However, he was dismissed while looking to clear the long-on fence. Yusuf walked back for 25 off 14 dismissed by young Tayyab Abbas, with the score on 102/4 early in the 9th over.

Bopara (22*) took charge in the final over and finished the innings off with a massive six, to make it a 17-run over, propelling the score up to 127/4.

The Qalandars started off their chase in a bright manner, with the New Zealand batter Tim Seifert firing away from the get-go, and scoring 30 from 13 deliveries before he was caught in the deep. Andre Fletcher then joined Hazratullah Zazai with the score at 34/1 after 3 overs.

From then on, Zazai took charge of proceedings along with Fletcher, and they put on a 43-run stand. Both were scoring freely, even as the bowlers tried their best to keep the pressure on the batters. However, Usman Shinwari struck again, removing Fletcher, who got 29 from 11 balls in the 7th over.

Zazai was joined by Asif Ali, and both batters wasted no time in shifting through the gears, much to the joy of the fans. Zazai and Ali put up quite a show, clearing the fence with ease and regularity, taking the equation down to 7 runs off the last over.

Ali (21*) was dropped off the first ball in the final over, and then Zazai went on to finish off the chase with a boundary straight back over the bowlers’ head.

Brief scores:

Joburg Buffaloes 127/4 in 10 overs (Tom Banton 36, Mohammad Hafeez 32; George Linde 1-22, Brad Evans 1-24) lost to Durban Qalandars 129/2 in 9.2 overs (Hazratullah Zazai 43*, Tim Seifert 30; Usman Shinwari 2-15) by 8 wickets.

–IANS

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