Canadian Saad Bin Zafar Powers Vancouver Knights to Inaugural Global T20 Canada Championship

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Ontario, Canada

Final: Cricket West Indies B vs. Vancouver Knights, 3:00 p.m. North America Eastern Standard Time


Summary Result: Vancouver Knights 148/3 in 17.3 overs (Saad Bin Zafar 79, Rassie van der Dussen 44; Derval Green 2-30) defeated Cricket West Indies B 145 all out in 17.4 overs (Fabian Allen 41; Sheldon Cottrell 4-29, Fawad Ahmed 3-24, Bin Zafar 2-26) by seven wickets

By Colin Benjamin

KING CITY, Ont. – It wasn’t Chris Gayle. It wasn’t Andre Russell. It was Canadian Saad Bin Zafar who produced the performance of his pro cricket career to lead Vancouver Knights to the inaugural Global T20 Canada championship.

The 31-year-old Bin Zafar, who was born in Gujrunwala, Pakistan, first played his part with the ball claiming two key wickets, in a spell of 4-1-26-2 to help bowl Cricket West Indies B Team out for 145 runs. Then his crucial match-winning innings of 79 (48 balls, 8×4, 6×3) guided the Chris Gayle-captained side to victory and the champions prize of C$500,000.

Proceedings on the day began in front of a sellout crowd, with Vancouver winning the ptoss and asking Windies B to take first strike.  Immediately, the Caribbean side, comprised mostly of youth players, found themselves in trouble, slipping to 51/4 in the sixth over.

First, Sharma Springer (10) was dismissed, comprehensively bowled by left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell.  Then Justin Greaves guided an attempted cut shot to New Zealander Tim Southee at short third man.

Next to go was Brandon King (3) bowled by Bin Zafar as Windies B slipped to 30/3 in the fifth over. Guyanese batsman Sherfane Rutherford (14), the hero of the previous meeting between the two teams after recording the tournament’s only century (134 not out), was out caught by Australian Ben Dunk at long off,

Rutherford had hit two sixes in Steven Jacobs’ opening over and his dismissal prompted wild celebrations from Jacobs.

The score was 53/5, when Nicholas Pooran (8) was out first ball bowled by Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed missing an attempted pull shot.

Fabian Allen in partnership with Windies B captain Anthony Bramble (16) and Kavem Hodge (14) attempted a minor comeback, but it was not enough as Windies B were bowled out for 145 runs with 16 balls still to be bowled in the innings.

Cottrell’s four wickets made him the tournament leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets, at an average of 16.25.

Chasing what seemed to be an easy target, Vancouver found them themselves in immediate trouble slipping to 22/3 in the third over.

It was 12/1 after the first over as Walton (4), who got off the mark with a boundary, hit a catch to the cover fielder.
 
Gayle (2) was then brilliantly caught by Greaves at mid-on via medium pacer Derval Green. Then Dunk (11) became Green’s second victim caught by Khary Pierre.

Vancouver then made a brave tactical decision to promote Bin Zafar to the number five batting position instead of Andre Russell and Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat.  

This decision proved critical.

In partnership with South African Rassie van der Dussen, the second-leading run scorer of the competition (255 runs, average 51), they compiled an unbeaten 126-run third wicket alliance that gave the Windies B bowlers no hope and gave Bin Zafar his moment in the headline news as a Canadian cricketer.