Guruge stars in late thriller

Manjula Guruge turned a heroic performance to clinch a last-ball thriller for UAE Exchange Centre over Eurocon Alubond in the UBL Twenty20 trophy final.

Vikrant Shetty, of Eurocon Alubond ,plays a shot against UAE Exchange, the Abu Dhabi team, in the United Bank Limited Twenty20 final match at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi last night.
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ABU DHABI // Manjula Guruge turned a heroic performance to clinch a last-ball thriller for UAE Exchange Centre over Eurocon Alubond in last night's UBL Twenty20 trophy final at the Zayed Stadium. Guruge hit two fours in the last two balls to take his team's score past the Dubai side for a two-wicket win and retain the trophy.

Pervaiz Nazir's fine all-round performance and a superb half century from Vikrant Shetty was overshadowed by Guruge's heroics at the end. UAE Exchange Centre openers fell after a bright but brief start. Indika Sampath (12) was bowled by Tanveer Hassan when trying to play the 'Dilscoop' with the score at 29 in the third over and Ihsan Ali (16) top edged Nazir to be caught at short square leg at 37 in the next over.

Asim Ijaz, who came at the fall of the second wicket, kept their fading hopes alive with a defiant century that ended when he lofted Nazir to the throat of Nasir Aziz at long off when they needed 11 in the last over. Guruge, who came in at the fall of the seventh wicket, brought the equation down to eight runs from the last two deliveries, hitting the first to the wide mid on fence and edged the next to the vacant third man. Nazir smashed 24 in just 13 deliveries, took a couple of catches running backwards, and grabbed four wickets in four overs, including the prized scalp of Saqib Ali, the UAE international and in-form batsman.

Ali started well, hitting a couple of sixes and a four in the 10 balls, but top edged a delivery from Nazir to be caught at the deep third man fence by Shetty for 20. Shetty anchored the Eurocon inning with a top score of 61 for his side to post 169 for six. He hit eight fours and a couple of sixes, and shared a valuable 55-run stand for the fourth wicket with Naeemuddin Aslam, the UAE batsman in the squad for the ICC Intercontinental Shield from July 5 to 8.

They came together at the fall of the third wicket at 38 in the sixth over after the UAE Exchange Centre captain Sandeep Shetty won the toss and elected to field. Aslam was run out for 23, but Nazir, who came in next, raised the tempo immediately by pulling the medium pacer Manjula Guruge for successive sixes. Vikrant ended their inning in a flourish by hitting Shadeep Silva, the left arm off spinner, for six and three fours.