Asked to bat first, the Joburg Buffaloes had a slow start as they lost their opener Milton Shumba (0) very early on. Soon after, Tom Banton, who has been in good form recently, was runout for 8 with the score reading 40/2.
At this point, Mohammad Hafeez was looking dangerous and had Yusuf Pathan for company. The two experienced batters were coming off the back of a couple of good outings, and once again looked set to play a big role with the bat for the Buffaloes.
But before they could do much damage, Hafeez was dismissed for 31 off 11 deliveries, having hit 2 sixes and four boundaries. A little later, Ravi Bopara, who can hit the ball a long distance, failed to get going and was dismissed for 2, just before the half-way stage. From then on in, the dangerous Yusuf and Mushfiqur Rahim took up the responsibility of pushing the scoring rate.
The duo added a 52-run stand in the final half of the innings, scoring at a good clip, to help the Buffaloes reach 97/4 in their quota of 10 overs. Yusuf finished unbeaten on 36 while Rahim added 13 to the cause.
In response, the Bulawayo Braves took a while to get through gears as they lost three early wickets in Kobe Herft (1), Ben McDermott (10) and Beau Webster (0). However, their captain and the backbone of the batting order, Sikandar Raza was still there and going strong at his end.
Raza was joined by Ryan Burl, and the duo initially absorbed the pressure and started to pick up the scoring rate around the half-way stage of the innings. Raza, who has scored a couple of half-centuries so far in the tournament, wasn’t throwing in the towel anytime soon. Right on half-way though, Burl had his middle stump knocked over by Hafeez, who finished his spell with one wicket. At that point, the score read 42/4 from 5 overs, and the Braves needed 56 more to win.
Raza though was castled for 26 by Noor Ahmad in the 6th over, which put the pressure on the Braves, and meant the game was delicately poised. After that, Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera put his foot on the accelerator and was leading the charge for the Braves. Perera added a healthy 24 from 15 deliveries before he was dismissed by Blessing Muzarabani, who finished his spell with 2 wickets to his name.
In the final over, the Braves needed 16 more, but Junior Dala bowled brilliantly and conceded just 1 run and bagged the wickets of Jack Prestwidge (0) and Patrick Dooley (0), to help register a comprehensive win.
Joburg Buffaloes – 97/4 (Yusuf Pathan 36*, Mohammad Hafeez – 31; Patrick Dooley – 2/14, Farwaz Akram – 1/19) won by 14 runs against the Bulawayo Braves – 83/8 (Sikandar Raza – 26, Thisara Perera – 24; Blessing Muzarabani – 2/15, Usman Shinwari – 2/19)