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|Paul Van Meekeren||4.0||0||42||1||10.50|
After a long tussle, which lasted for more than a couple of weeks, is set to end in just a couple of days. The Qualifier and the Finale are to be played on subsequent days with the second qualifier to be played on Sunday, 10th August. It will be played between Winnipeg Hawks and Brampton Wolves at the CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario and the winner will progress to the finale to take on Vancouver Knights, the defending champions. While Brampton Wolves have had a pretty good tournament, winning most of their matches, Winnipeg Hawks' ride has been more of a roller coaster ride. Having said that, all the games they've played in the tournament so far are no longer consequential, and they both will like to start from a fresh note a register a win here to have a go at the title against the Knights on Sunday. With the place in the finale at stake, we expect a tightly-fought, engrossing, and a nerve-wrenching contest between the two sides.
The Wolves finished the top side in the league stage, but found themselves a little short in the first qualifier, against Vancouver Knights, in a rain-affected match, which pushed them to test their fate in the second playoff. Up until that game, it was the explosive Wolves batting that did most of the damage for them with George Munsey, Lendl Simmons, and Colin Munro scoring heaps of runs.
It all, however, changed in the first qualifier when they were required to chase a massive total set by Vancouver Knights. Bowling first on a rain-hit day, in a match that was already reduced to 16 overs, their bowlers started well by picking up Chadwick Walton, who was opening in place of Christopher Henry Gayle. However, the failure to contain Tobias Viese at the top and then Shoaib Malik and Andre Russell allowed the Knights to cruise to a towering total. Even though their bowlers kept on picking up wickets at regular intervals, the lack of sharpness in their bowling throughout the innings cost them too many runs.
Had their been continued the way they were doing in the league stage, the Wolves would have stood a chance to hunt this massive total down. Lendl Simmons and George Munsey both departed after scoring in single digits. Barring Colin Munro, who scored 62 off just 25 deliveries, no batsmen could match up to the task as Brampton Wolves they fell short by a fair margin of 77 runs. Colin Munro's fine innings included five fours and six sixes, and he will be Wolves' key man in the upcoming fixture.
With Shahid Afridi coming in at number six and not many batsmen known to play the role of a sheet anchor, Brampton Wolves' batting is fragile. They have terrific stroke-makers at their disposal, but in case things stop going as per the plan for them, they could find themselves in a bit of trouble, as was the case in their last match. Similarly, they have a pretty good bowling attack with most of their bowlers capable of picking up wickets, but as it turned out the last time, they can pretty quickly turn out to look toothless if things stop going as per the plan for them. All in all, if they resume playing the fearless brand of cricket they were playing in the league stage, it's going to be hard to beat them in the qualifiers as well.
LMP Simmons, George Munsey, Colin Munro, B Hayat, SMSK Afridi, DJG Sammy, Wahab Riaz, Rohan Mustafa, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddiqui, Cecil Pervez.
Winnipeg Hawks had a mediocre tournament in the league stage, but all that is now left behind and they'll be looking to make amends in their only chance to qualify for the playoffs. They are coming off a terrific, albeit controversial, win in the playoffs over Toronto Nationals wherein they chased down a massive total with extreme ease.
In their previous match, against Toronto Nationals, Winnipeg Hawks looked down at out after being reduced to 49 for 3 in their chase of 239, but some fabulous batting by Jean-Paul Duminy ably assisted by a small cameo from Rayad Emrit took them across the DLS par score before the setting sun forced umpires to call off the match.
JP Duminy played the innings of the tournament for the Hawks as he made all the difference with a swashbuckling 85-run knock which came in just 41 deliveries. Rayad Emrit 33 off only 15 deliveries proved to be invaluable as the Hawks found themselves just across the line as they were ahead of the par score just by one run after 17.1 overs.
While their batting has done pretty well in the tournament so far with the likes of Chris Lynn and JP Duminy doing the bulk of the damage, their bowling has been nothing more than ordinary. In the total of seven matches they've played so far, their bowlers have managed to pick up just 23 wickets in total, which is the least by any team in the tournament.
Overall, Winnipeg Hawks are a pretty solid batting team on paper, but the lack of consistency from their batsmen and poor bowling performances and strategies have hurt them more often than not. Just on the similar lines, their batting did extremely against Toronto Nationals after their bowlers conceded 238 runs on the board. If their bowlers are able to step up their game, Brampton Wolves will undoubtedly have their work cut out.
Chris Lynn, Dwayne Smith, S Anwar, Jean-Paul Duminy, Sunny Sohal, H Tariq, RR Emrit, Paul Van Meekeren, Mohammad Irfan, Kaleem Sana, Umair Ghani.
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With a place in the grand finale at stake, this game is of significant importance for both the sides. Both the teams had their vulnerabilities highlighted in their respective previous matches and will be looking to make amends and do better in this fixture. In the last encounter between the two sides, earlier in the tournament, Brampton Wolves defeated Winnipeg Hawks quite comfortably by a significant margin of seven wickets. With their bowlers not performing up to the standards for Winnipeg Hawks and a strong Brampton Wolves batting lineup stacked up against them, things are not going to be easy for them. With a superior batting lineup that has been doing pretty well and an exceptional bowling attack, at least on paper, Brampton Wolves are better placed to win the upcoming fixture and progress to meet Vancouver Knights on Sunday.
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