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SUNRISE/FL – USA: Legendary West Indies batsman Chris Gayle made a controlled 65 to lead Atlanta Param Veers to a 19-run victory over the US All Stars in the semi-finals of the US Open T20 tournament on Saturday night at the Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale.
Gayle struck 65 and Steven Taylor 31 to take Atlanta Param Veers to a fighting 163/8, despite excellent bowling by Mahammad Ali Khan 4/25 and Ali Shaffique.
Chasing 164 at 8.5 runs per over for victory the task proved beyond the US All Stars and they finished on 144/7. They lost opener Zishawn Qureshi in the first over which immediately put them on the back foot. Main batsman Zeeshan Ashraf then followed and from that point it was always going to be tough. Atlanta then got the prized scalps of US national player Jaskaran Malhotra and Canada’s Ravinderpaul Singh and it was downhill from that point.
Rizwan Cheema fought well getting 36 runs from 19 balls with two sixes and two fours.
With the victory, Atlanta Param Veers will now play 22 Yards for the championship on Sunday.
Batting first Atlanta would have depended heavily on the experienced Chris Gayle as they would have lost four CPL players before the start of the game. They lost skipper Rayad Emrit, Kissoondath Magram, Akeal Hosein, and Khary Pierre who boarded a flight for Trinidad and Tobago as it was the only flight available for a while to the twin Island Republic.
Gayle made a conscious effort to bat long and his 65 was the cornerstone of the innings because as soon as he fell with the score on 136 a collapse ensued.
Gayle and Steven Taylor was able to take Atlanta to a position of strength at 136/2 with four overs to go, however Ali Shaffique who who bowled brilliantly removed both batsmen. Gayle was caught on the boundary after facing 64 balls and hitting six sixes and two fours. Taylor followed in the same over for 31 off 28 balls.
Ali Khan than ran through the lower order to finish with 4/25, as Atlanta lost six wickets for 27 runs off their final four overs. Shaffique finished with 3/15 off his allotted four.
SCORES: Atlanta Param Veers 163/8 (20)(Chris Gayle 65, Steven Taylor 31, Mahammad Ali Khan 4/25, Ali Shaffique 3/15 vs US All Stars 144/7 (20)(Rizwan Cheema 36, Damian Rowe 29no, Steven Taylor 3/26, Marquino Mindley 2/20).