Siddhartha Vaidyanathan hands out some (fictional) awards after Vancouver Knights beat Edmonton Royals in the 11th match of this year’s Global T20.
The Canadian player of the match: Goes to Saad Bin Zafar. For his two early wickets that set the Edmonton Royals back. Saad had shown glimpses of his talent through the tournament but he came to the fore today with 2 for 34 in his four overs.
The USA player of the match: Medium-pacer Ali Khan did his bit by picking up two wickets in the end overs but he was overshadowed by his countryman Hayden Walsh Jr., the exciting legspinner. Playing his first game of this year’s GT20, Hayden brought forth his flight and guile and dismissed two dangerous batsmen before they could do too much damage. The wicket of Jimmy Neesham – caught by Ali Khan – helped the Vancouver Knights put the brakes on the scoring rate.
The Pakistani one-on-one-contest of the match: Shoaib Malik wins this for dismissing Mohammad Hafeez. The ball was full and outside off. Hafeez tried to smash it out of the ground. The top-edge took it only as far as short fine leg. And a local Canadian player Rayyan Pathan completed the catch.
The first-ball-dismissal of the match: Not Andre Russell – who was bowled by Ben Cutting off his very first delivery – but Shadab Khan, who was stumped off a wide. Which in effect meant that Shadab made 0 off 0 balls.
The Pakistani player of the match: Malik was a contender – with a wicket and a 34 to seal the run-chase. Hafeez threatened to be a contender – with his spell of 2-0-5-1. But it was their compatriot – Mohammad Nawaz who shone the brightest with a 27-ball 40. He walked in with the Royals at 52 for 5. When he walked out, they were within striking distance of a fighting total.
The Australian player of the match: Ben Cutting made a sizzling 72 with the bat – which bailed the Royals out of trouble – and followed up with three wickets in his four overs. There were seven big sixes in his 41-ball innings and it took a smart run out to stop his charge.
The drop-that-didn’t-matter of the match: Hayden Walsh Jr. dropped the dolly that Mohammad Nawaz offered him, but he was quick to seize the ball and throw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end – running out Nawaz in the process. The bowler ought to have got credit for that wicket. But it was Hayden alone whose name went on the scorecard.
The drop-that mattered of the match: Chris Gayle was on 19. He had just struck legspinner Shadab Khan for two sixes in two balls. He attempted a third six – trying to hoist it over the leg side – but got a top-edge instead. The ball swirled in the air. Shadab settled under it. The ball kept swirling. The breeze pushed it this way and that. Shadab kept waiting. The ball finally made its way down. And he dropped it.
The Jamaican of the match: Not Russell – who didn’t trouble the scorers one bit. Not Chadwick Walton, who made a measured 17. But Chris Gayle, who for the second match in a row thrilled the spectators at the CAA Centre with his belligerent hitting. He sent balls out of the ground (some of which never came back). He smashed Shadab for seven sixes – four of which came in one over that cost 32. On another day, Shadab would have had Gayle’s wicket early. And who knows, maybe he would have finished on the winning side. Today he ended with figures of 4-0-66-0. And a day he would hope to forget.