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Knight Riders edge home in Challengers Cup

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The Knight Riders, winners of the opening match of the Gold section in the Challengers Cup at the ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City

The Knight Riders secured a win against SFS by the narrowest of margins in the opening match of the Gold section of the Challengers Cup at the state-of-the-art facilities of the ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City.

Chasing 72 to win, the Knight Riders got to the winning score with a single from the final ball of the match to make the perfect start to the tournament. The victory was well deserved, with four Knight Riders players reaching double figures, but it also had to be earned as SFS showed real fight.

SFS took three Knight Riders’ wickets in two overs in the middle of the innings to leave the match on a knife-edge and it took that cool finish from Ashraf to see his side home.

There are three sides in the Gold section of the Challengers Cup, with Oxford Marine completing the trio, and the line-ups play each other twice each to determine which of them will take part in the Grand Final.

Those Gold sides are three of a total of 27 taking part in the tournament across three sections, with the Silver and Bronze groupings having 12 teams each, and eight from each will go through to quarter-finals, followed by semi-finals and finals.

Players bat in pairs for three overs each and five runs are deducted from a team total every time a wicket falls.

In the Silver section Pool A, Dulsco made it two wins out of two with a convincing 22-run success against ENOC-1. Dulsco got away to a flying start, with 30 runs from the first three overs of its innings before it was reined back, but for ENOC-1 the match was lost during a disastrous period where it lost four wickets from successive deliveries.

Also in the Silver section, but in Pool C, BPN kept up its 100 per cent record with a second victory in two starts, this time with a 26-run success against Alec.

The Alec side posted a score of 44, which was a good effort after it lost four wickets in the first two overs of its innings, but BPN cruised past the target, reaching 70 and that despite losing five wickets of its own.

In the Bronze section, two of the ENOC sides enjoyed contrasting fortunes. In Pool B, ENOC-3 beat Bits & Pieces by two runs to secure its first win in its second outing. ENOC-3 made 66 and in response, Bits & Pieces got away to a flying start with 24 from its first three overs but requiring just eight runs to win from the final three overs, it managed only five, losing two crucial wickets that helped swing the match ENOC-3’s way.

ENOC-4 went down by the narrowest of margins, one run, to Chalmers in Pool C. Chalmers secured its second win in a row by restricting its opponents to 42 and although it had an almighty wobble at the end, losing three wickets in the final three overs, it still managed to get across the line. Needing a single from the final ball, Chalmers got it and that was a heartbreaker for ENOC-4.

Also in Bronze Pool C, Khaleej Times crushed Arenco IT by 38 runs for its first win of the tournament. Arenco IT lost six wickets in posting a score of 35 and that proved to be wholly inadequate as the journalists reached 73 in reply.

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