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GT20 Canada: Caution overtakes aggression as Montreal Tigers win title completing a hat trick of wins

Montreal Tigers snatched an exciting last-minute win over Surrey Jaguars.

What a game! How exciting cricket can be was on exhibition at a nearly packed TD Arena in Brampton when Montreal Tigers snatched an exciting last-ball win over Surrey Jaguars to climax the 18-day mega event.

Incidentally, the winners, Montreal Tigers had three thrilling wins in its last three matches thus completing a hat trick of triumphs.

It was more or less a repeat of yesterday’s fantastic win of Montreal Tigers over Vancouver Knights with three balls to spare after Rutherford smashed the first three balls of the last over to the maximum.
And today Rutherford had substitute batsman and teammate Andre Russell playing a superb supporting unbeaten innings of 20 of the last 12 balls to give the Tigers the title. He made 20 from six balls he faced and hit two towering sixes and a boundary while senior partner Rutherford remained not out on 38 made from 29 balls with two hits to the maximum and three superb boundaries. Earlier, skipper Chris Lynn played sheet anchor with a well-made 24. At one stage, the win looked like a distant dream as the Tigers were struggling at 78 for four in 15 overs.

The actual onslaught started with the last ball of the 18th over which got the maximum punishment from Rutherford. Earlier, he had hit a boundary in the same over to get 10 runs from the over.

Tigers reached 100 in 17.4 overs and a six in the last ball saw them reaching 106 for four.  In a strategic move, Tigers recalled Dipindra Airee and sent in Andre Russel for the slaughter overs. The move worked and the Tigers got 29 in the last two overs, four more than they needed for a win.

It was a caution that overtook aggression during the middle overs with bowlers restricting batsmen from hitting the ball to the maximum as the GT20 Canada came to a close at TD Arena on Sunday. But then it was excitement that took over and set the stands ablaze with Rutherford and Russel tearing apart the bowling attack of the Jaguars.

While batters of both teams suspected a devil in the wicket that prevented them from going for big hits, bowlers cannot be denied credit for keeping the batters in check.

It was certainly not a batters’ day as Surrey Jaguars batting first managed a respectable total of 130 for five in the allotted 20 overs thanks to a laborious and steady innings of 56 not out by opener Jatinder Singh. He not only kept his end intact but also punished loose balls for his first and only fifty of the tournament.

When Jaguars batted, there were three hits to the maximum, including one by Haris in the second over bowled by  Carlos Brathwaite. The second came when Ayaan was dropped on the boundary as the ball fell across the fence to the great relief of the batter Ayaan.

The Tigers enjoyed a slice of luck early on when on the first ball of their innings Waseem was dropped by Pargat Singh off Spencer Johnson. Spencer Johnson, however, had the last laugh as he got Waseem clean bowled two balls later. It was skipper Chris Lynn who hit the first six for his team off Ammar. It was Ammar who also bowled the last over and was hit for two sixes by Russell.

Jaguars made 130 for five thanks to good batting by Haris 28, Jatinder Singh 56 not out, Liton Das 12 and Ayaan Khan 36, Ayaan Khan 2/21, Russell 1 for 24, Abbas Afridi 1 for 31 and Carlos 1 for 33 were the most successful bowlers for  Montreal Tigers.

Montreal Tigers 135 for 5 in 20 overs ( Chris Lynn 31, Wijeratne 12, Dilpreet 14, Rutherford 38 not out, Russell 20 not out,  Iftikhar 2 for 8, Spencer Johnson 1 for 31 and Ayaan Khan  1 for 12).
Runners up team got a cash prize of Canadian 1,50,000 dollars while the winners got Canadian $250,000.

Prabhjot Singh
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