Captain Sarfaraz Ali smashed 56 off just 26 balls and all-rounder David Mathias scored an unbeaten 57-ball 59 as Bahrain hunted down a stiff 161-run target to beat Canada by eight wickets with five balls to spare last night in their fourth match of the Desert Cup T20I Series 2022 at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat.
The comprehensive win was Bahrain’s third consecutive victory in the tournament, after they lost their opening game to Canada by four wickets last Monday.
Ali’s knock was laden with five sixes and five fours as he put on 81 for the first wicket with Mathias, relishing his new role as opener, before being run out in the ninth over.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Ahmer Bin Nasir then joined Mathias and scored a run-a-ball 16 in a quick-fire 34-run partnership before being bowled by Nikhil Dutta with the score at 115 for two in the 14th over.
That brought Sohail Ahmed – who has been in red-hot form with scores of 80 not out, 55 not out and 78 not out in the first three matches against Canada, Oman and Saudi Arabia respectively – to the crease and he continued his unbeaten run in the tournament by clattering a 16-ball 31 with two sixes and two fours in a match-winning partnership with Mathias to take Bahrain to a comprehensive victory.
Earlier, after Ali won the toss and put Canada in to bat, the Bahrain captain saw his move pay off immediately as the Canadians slumped to 31 for four in the seventh over.
Middle-order batsman Pargat Singh, who eventually top-scored with an unbeaten 61 off 51 balls, tried to stem the rot by trying to build partnerships, first with Harsh Thaker (13 off 11 balls) and then, captain Saad bin Zafar (15 off 20).
But, when Zafar departed with the score reading 85 for five in the 15th over, the stage was set for the first explosive batting display of the evening.
Ravinderpal Singh, in at number seven, hammered a breathtaking 48 off only 18 balls with four fours and four sixes, and added 75 runs in partnership with Pargat Singh off only 30 balls to push the Canadian total to a competitive 160 for six off their 20 overs.
But any thoughts Canada had of defeating Bahrain for the second time in the tournament – the Canadians won by six wickets in their first face-off three days ago – were quickly dashed by the magnificent opening stand by Ali and Mathias.
Bahrain are now level at six points after four matches each with leaders Canada – who retain the top spot because of better net run-rate – on the four-team table. Oman are in third place with two points from their four games while Saudi Arabia languish in last place, having failed to win even a single match so far.
The double round-robin league format means that each team plays the other three sides twice each with the top two teams advancing to the final of the week-long tournament, which will be played on Monday.
Bahrain will play Oman for the second time in the tournament tomorrow, before taking on Saudi Arabia in their last group game a day later.