Brampton, Ont: The Global T20 season 3 finale on Aug. 6 was a full house at the TD Cricket Arena in Brampton. The Montreal Tigers were crowned champions as they clinched an exhilarating victory on the final ball against the debutant Surrey Jaguars.
Pursuing a target of 131, the Tigers successfully chased it down with five wickets in hand. Jatinder Singh’s unbeaten half-century and Iftikhar Ahmed’s skillful bowling performance maintained the Jaguars’ challenge until the final delivery. However, a match-defining partnership of 29 runs in 12 balls between Sherfane Rutherford at 38 runs and Andre Russell at 20 secured the title for the Montreal Tigers.
Russell discussed Rutherford’s growth as a player and how he played a crucial role in the Tigers’ win.
“I see much maturity in his cricket as a few years back, Rutherford was just this guy who wanted to hit sixes and looked to hit every ball,” Russell said. “He has started to pick his bowlers, and when you have players like that, it is dangerous because then they are waiting on a particular bowler to bowl, which is their match-up, and are ready to score.”
Winning the toss, the Montreal Tigers elected to field first. The openers for the Jaguars, Mohammad Haris and Jatinder Singh, played cautiously through the initial overs, reaching 35 runs at the end of the powerplay. Singh took control of the innings, registering an unbeaten 56 runs off 57 balls.
Aayan Afzal Khan disturbed the Jaguars’ momentum by dismissing Haris at 23 runs in the sixth over. Litton Das then joined Singh to add more runs.
By the halfway point, the Jaguars had reached 58 runs at the loss of one wicket and then Das got out on Khan’s ball in the 11th over. Jaguars’ captain Iftikhar Ahmed aimed to add more runs but fell to Carlos Brathwaite’s low full toss.
Ayaan Khan walked in for the Jaguars and played a much-needed quick-fire knock towards the death overs in just 15 deliveries before he was dismissed by Abbas Afridi in the 19th over. Russell’s terrific bowling in the last over, conceding only seven runs and taking out Matthew Forde in the process, limited the Surrey Jaguars to a competitive total of 130/5.
The Montreal Tigers’ chase encountered a rocky start, with Muhammad Waseem bowled by a delivery from Spencer Johnson after a dropped catch. At the end of the powerplay, the Tigers stood at 35 runs at the loss of one wicket. Srimantha Wijeyeratne failed to capitalize on his start, while opener Chris Lynn contributed significantly by scoring 31 runs before falling to Iftikhar Ahmed in the 11th over. In the same over, Ahmed dismissed Dilpreet Singh Bajwa at 15 runs, shifting the momentum back in favour of the Jaguars.
With five overs remaining, the Tigers needed 53 runs with six wickets in hand. Next batter Dipendra Airee and Rutherford struggled to find boundaries against Ahmed, who conceded just one run in the 16th over. Rutherford took apart Matthew Forde in the 18th over, with a six and a four to bring the equation down to 25 runs needed from 12 balls.
Dipendra Singh Airee retired, paving the way for the dangerous finisher Russell. Russell and Rutherford made a partnership of 12 crucial runs in the second last over bowled by Johnson. Requiring two runs from the last delivery, pacer Ammar Khalid couldn’t contain Russell, who smashed his second six of the over, sealing the championship for the Montreal Tigers at 135/5.
Jaguars’ bowler Johnson talked about what went wrong for the team after 18 overs despite them being close to victory.
“I think you’re probably going to have to give credit to Rutherford and Russell; they are two outstanding players and have done it their whole career,” Johnson said during the post-conference. “Russell wasn’t on the field by then, and we thought there was still a chance.”
Before the playoffs, the Tigers lost their first and second spot to the Jaguars and Vancouver Knights and found themselves in the eliminator round against the Brampton Wolves. The Tigers fought hard to reserve a spot in Qualifier 2 by beating the Wolves by one wicket, and with their balanced bowling and batting side, they became the winners of this tournament. The team received C$300,000 in prize money, while the runners-up, the Jaguars, received C$150,000.
With his power pact performances throughout the tournament, Rutherford thrice won Man of the Match. He also won the Dean Jones Player of the Series award and was awarded a half acre of land, as promised by MAQ Group, in their exclusive Indian Lakes Estates development in central Florida’s Polk County as a prize.