Bangla Tigers’ Hazratullah Zazai hopes the winning momentum will continue in the eliminator match of the Abu Dhabi T10 after a comfortable 30 runs win over Northern Warriors at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
The left-hand Afghan opener scored an unbeaten 55 runs from 31 balls and built 96 runs partnership with Faf Du Plessis to raise 119/1 from 10 overs. In reply, the bowlers restricted Northern Warriors to 89/6.
Batting first, the Tigers after a slow start made 57/1 after seven overs and then smashed 62 from the final three overs bowled by Abhimanyu Mithun, Imran Tahir and Rayad Emrit. Zazai was named the player of the match.
“Initially it was a difficult wicket to bat. It was a two-paced wicket. So, we decided to take our time. Later, we scored off the bowlers we had targeted. Staying long on the wicket helped us. It was a 100-110 runs wicket but we could set a target of 120 runs, which was good for the team.”
Zazai said that the players are in a good frame of mind ahead of the do-or-die eliminator to be played on Friday. While the winner will progress to the Qualifier 2, the loser will be left to fight for third place play-off match.
“The overall combination of our team has been good in the tournament. We are having a run of good form and wish to continue this momentum. We will enter the eliminator round with full confidence. Winning and losing are part of the game, sometimes we score enough runs and sometimes we don’t but if we play with full confidence, it should do us good.”
Zazai said that Afghan players have been able to extend their run of good form from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to the ongoing T10 tournament.
“The T20 World Cup has given all of us a lot of confidence. It was a good experience on handling pressure. Afghan players have been doing well in the shorter formats like T20. The same confidence level, which comes from our natural game of hard-hitting, has helped Afghan players do well in T10. There is a lot of self-belief among the players to do well and that is the reason why Afghans are performing in this tournament.”
In the second match of the day, Delhi Bulls defeated Team Abu Dhabi by 49 runs. On Friday, table toppers Deccan Gladiators and the second-placed Delhi Bulls will face-off in the Qualifier 1. Later, Team Abu Dhabi and Bangla Tigers will play in the eliminator.