The first ever season of Zim-Afro is in its final stages of the tournament. After an exciting and enthralling league phase, the tournament moved to the play-off stages. The first play-off game saw the Johannesburg Buffaloes take on Durban Qalandars. The game was played at the Harare Sport Club.
The story as it happened –
Mohammad Hafeez the Johannesburg Buffaloes captain won the toss and chose to bowl first. The Qalandars team had a host of huge international names as well as known Pakistani players. The likes of Asif Ali and Mohammad Amir along with international stars like Tim Seifert, Andre Fletcher and George Linde. For the Buffaloes the focus was on Yusuf Pathan the big hitting former Indian all rounder.
Mohammad Amir taken to the cleaners by Yusuf Pathan –
Chasing 141 to win from 10 overs, the Johannesburg unit had their task cut out. Mohammad Amir was given the task of bowling the 8th over and already conceded 17 runs of his 1st over. Johannesburg at that point needed 65 runs from the three overs left. Yusuf Pathan then swung the match around as he hit Amir for back to back sixes.
The first one over deep extra cover region and then over mid-wicket. The third ball was a dot ball as the fourth again sailed for a six over the backward square leg boundary. The misery continued for the 30 year old left arm seamer whne he bowled a wide ball followed by 2 runs off the 5th ball. The last ball saw Pathan swing the ball for a 4 to make it 25 runs of the over.
Yusuf Pathan stays not out to help Johannesburg into the finals –
Needing 39 off 12 balls, Yusuf Pathan hit Brad Evans for 16 runs off 3 balls to make it 20 needed of the last over. Mushfiqur Rahim took a single and made it 19 runs off 5 balls as Tendai Chatara came in to bowl. 2 sixes over long- on region and 2 fours later, Yusuf Pathan was running back happy as he had helped his team reach the finals. Pathan was not out on 80 off 26 balls with 4 fours and 9 sixes. Mohammad Hafeez (17), Will Smeed (16) and Rahim (14*) were the other top scorers.
All round batting effort helps Durban reach 140 –
Earlier, put into bat first the Durban based outfit managed to reach 140 from their 10 overs. Mirza Baig began with 20 off 16 balls as Seifert was out for 11. The top scorer for Durban was Andre Fletcher who scored 39 off 14 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes. Asif Ali then was not out on 32 off 12 balls with five fours and a sixe, while Nick Welch was not out on 24 off 9 balls with 3 fours and a six.
Durban and Johannesburg face off in summit clash –
The win meant Johannesburg made it to the final, but there was more action on Friday. The eliminator game saw Harare Hurricanes beat Cape Town Samp Army by 9 wickets. The final game of the day saw Durban take on Harare in the 2nd qualifier for the place in the final. Durban won the game by 4 wickets while chasing 83 in a low scoring game. The final game on Saturday will witness Johannesburg and Durban cross paths once again as Yusuf Pathan gets ready for battle once more.