Andre Fletcher’s unbeaten 39-ball 68 helped Edmonton Royals cruise to an eight-wicket win over Toronto Nationals in Global T20 Canada on Saturday. The visitors chased down the 170-run run target with five overs to spare in King City, and powered to the top of the points table.
Royals’ chase began in a strong fashion with Luke Ronchi unleashing his lethal best. Three fours to begin with, one to end the first over and a six in between. Anton Devcich’s left-arm spin was smashed around for 22 runs, and the visitors had found the required momentum. If that wasn’t enough, he continued the assault in the next over as well, hitting Mohammad Sami for four consecutive boundaries. Ronchi missed out on a fifty but his 18-ball 47 had dented the confidence of the hosts.
By the time he departed, 71 runs were wiped off the required score, and Nationals were done bowling only 4 overs. The ploy to go on the attack worked and Fletcher did a fine job to sustain the pressure. Only twice till the end of the chase, did they finish an over without stroking a boundary. Fletcher hit 11 of them – seven fours and four sixes. Agha Salman contributed in his own way, nudging four boundaries and two maximums in his 27-ball 38.
Nationals used as many as seven bowling options, and all the bowlers, except Nikhil Dutta and Steven Smith, conceded over 9 per over. The only success Nationals managed to find after Ronchi’s dismissal was when Salman edged a pull off a Pollard slower ball to Nizakat Khan to bring an end to the 73-run stand with Fletcher.
Earlier in the day, put into bat, Toronto Nationals lost both their openers early, with the Pakistan duo of Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Irfan striking of their first overs each. Steve Smith, who had another disappointing outing with a run-a-ball 10, and Anton Devcich got off to starts, but fell before they could help pick the scoring rate.
Nitish Kumar and Kieron Pollard repaired the early damage with a crucial 56-run stand off 35 balls. Pollard took little time to get going, smashing Shahid Afridi for a six over long off off the second ball of his innings, and following it up with a boundary a couple of balls later. Pollard continued to dominate the legspinner before Afridi eventually had the better of him. He tossed the ball up and had him holed at long on to end his stay at 28, as well as the fruitful partnership
Nitish, who had started off slowly, too pressed on the accelerator in company of the West Indian, hitting a boundary and a six off Parnell in the eighth over. But with partners running out, he had to temper his innings. Darren Sammy failed to bring out his big shots as regularly as he would have wished, could only scamper to a 20-ball 19. With the run rate taking a hit, Nitish decided to throw his bat around and bludgeoned Satsimranjit Dhindsa for 18 runs off the 15th over.
Both of them were dismissed off successive deliveries an over later, but Mohammad Naveed’s three consecutive sixes in the final over off Tanvir propelled the hosts to 169 – a total which proved too little in the end.
Brief Scores: Toronto Nationals 169/7 in 20 overs (Nitish Kumar 55, Kieron Pollard 28; Wayne Parnell 2-24, Mohammad Irfan 1-22) lost to Edmonton Royals 173/2 in 15 overs (Andre Fletcher 68*, Luke Ronchi 47*; Kieron Pollard 1-18, Kesrick Williams 1-44) by 8 wickets
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