Tladi have been crowned the 2015 Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Twenty20 (T20) tournament champions. The team beat fellow finalists Ditlhase by 18 runs in an all Gaborone affair on Sunday. Having won the toss and opted to bat first, Tladi did not get the start they were hoping for as they lost opening batsman Zain Abbassi to Afzal Patel’s last ball of the third over with the team having scored just 26 runs. Despite the hard hitting Karabo Modise replacing Abbassi to partner with Karabo Motlhanka at the crease, Tladi failed to increase their run rate with both the batsmen failing to exert their influence.
Modise lasted only five overs at the crease and managed just 15 runs off 14 balls before he was caught leg before wicket (lbw) by off spinner Noor Ahmad. Tladi’s top order were all out an over later as Motlhanka tried to hit Jatin Patel for a boundary but only managed to float his strike to James Moses, who easily caught the ball with Motlhanka having scored only 25 runs off the 28 balls. With the top three batsmen all out and Tladi still at a paltry 63 runs, it was now left to the duo of Waseem Tajbhay and his captain Nabil Master to stabilise the team’s innings. The two players immediately went to work and went on a 49 runs partnership, the highest partnership by Tladi batsmen in the final match. The partnership was however broken in the 16th over as Nabil Master was caught by Moses off Manu Michael’s brilliantly bowled ball having scored 25 runs off 22 balls. With Tladi looking out of sorts, it needed a big turnaround and it was Tajbhay who delivered in the 17th over.
In what was a crucial over, Tajbhay managed to hit 22 runs, which included 2 sixes, 2 fours and a two before he was caught by Moses as he tried to hit Saksham Raina for another boundary. Despite the loss of Tajbhay with Tladi at 135 runs for four, the damage was already done as Manzoor Hussain and Namal Bandara managed to add a further 21 runs to see off the remaining overs to see Tladi end their innings at 156 runs, and setting Ditlhase a fairly good total to chase. Needing 157 runs to win, Ditlhase were off to a good start despite losing opening batsman Akhlaq Raja, who was bowled out by Zain Abbassi after just 1.6 overs. The duo of Inzimam Master and Sooraj Nair, who had replaced Raja at the crease, gave the Tladi bowlers a headache as they raced to a 54 run partnership, the highest of the final match, to set Ditlhase on course to a successful chase. Things however fell apart for Ditlhase when the two batsmen were dismissed in two successive overs on the eighth and ninth overs. First to go was Inzimam Master who was bowled out by Hussain with the last ball of the seventh over having scored 40 runs from 26 balls, with his knock having yielded four 4’s.
Two balls later, he was followed back to the dugout by Nair who was trapped lbw by Modise having scored just 21 runs. Three overs later, Ditlhase’s chase suffered a blow as Moses, who had been crucial in their run to the finals, was caught lbw by Hussain. He was then followed back to the dugout by Imran Khan who was run out by Adithya Rangaswamy. From then on, it was a Vimal Joseph’s bowling masterpiece show as the Tladi bowler wreaked havoc among the Ditlhase tail end, claiming four wickets to take his team to victory. With 16.1 overs gone, Josephs caught Imran Pathan lbw before bowling out Raina for a duck one ball later. The bowler was at it again on the 18th over as he bowled out Patel before bowling and catching Noor Ahmed with his last ball of the same over, leaving Ditlhase at 131 runs for the loss of 9 wickets and needing a massive 26 runs to win from their remaining overs. It was not to be for Ditlhase as they then managed only 7 runs off the remaining overs and lost the game by 18 runs.
For his efforts with the ball, Joseph was awarded the man of the match and was also the tournament’s best bowler, having claimed 10 wickets in 4 matches. In other individual awards, Tajbhay walked away with the Best Batsman award for his 199 runs in 5 matches, while Moses was the Player of the tournament, having scored 173 runs as well as claiming 4 wickets in 5 matches.