Montreal Tigers win Global T20 Canada title; Guyanese Rutherford cops MVP prize

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The Montreal Tigers were crowned champions of the 2023 Global T20 Canada cricket tournament after defeating the Surrey Jaguars by five wickets in Sunday’s final at a packed TD Cricket Arena in Brampton, Ont.

Jamaican star Andre Russell provided late-match heroics for Montreal in the final over, hitting the match-winning six on the last ball with the target set at 131 runs. The Tigers needed 13 runs off the final six deliveries.

“I hope everyone in Canada was watching that because that’s what we’re about, that’s why we’re here, to entertain and put on a show,” said Tigers captain Chris Lynn of Australia.

Champions Montreal Tigers (Photo: GT20 Canada Facebook)

Player-of-the-tournament Sherfane Rutherford was also instrumental in the win, stepping up when it mattered most for the second straight match. He hit the ball to the boundary for four runs before launching a pair of sixes over the stands, which were filled with cheering Tigers fans.

The 24-year-old from Guyana also played hero on Saturday, hitting three straight sixes to lift Montreal over the Vancouver Knights to reach the final.

“That’s why they’re here; they’re big-game players,” Lynn said of Rutherford and Russell.

Russell finished the match with 20 runs on just six balls, while Rutherford had 38 runs on 29 balls. Lynn added 31 runs on 35 balls, including a six of his own.

Sherfane Rutherford receives his prize from former West Indies captain, Sir Clive Lloyd (Photo: GT20 Canada Facebook)

What Rutherford did

The Guyanese batsman copped the Dean Jones Man-of-the-Series prize of a half-acre plot of land in the USA after finishing with 220 runs from eight innings, the second most behind Lynn, who made 234.

The left-handed Rutherford averaged 44 and went a strike rate of 130, hitting 12 sixes and 16 fours.

Apart from his 38* off 29 in the final, Rutherford also cracked an unbeaten 48 from 34 in Qualifier Two and 84* off 53 in a league game against Vancouver Knights.

Montreal Tigers celebrate victory (Photo: GT20 Canada Facebook)

Six teams, 25 matches, one winner

The third edition of the six-team tournament consisted of 25 matches in Brampton over 17 days, with Montreal claiming its first-ever title. Vancouver won the tournament in 2018, followed by the now-defunct Winnipeg Hawks in 2019. The 2023 edition also featured the Toronto Nationals, Brampton Wolves and Mississauga Panthers.

Jatinder Singh led the way for Surrey, which had won six straight matches. The 34-year-old Oman batsman hit a match-high 56 runs on 57 balls.

While the Tigers gave up three wides and a leg before wicket, the Jaguars surrendered two of each as they failed to defend their 130 runs.

The GT20 Canada tournament has helped spark the sport’s rapid growth in Canada. The prestigious event has attracted international cricket stars to share the stage with Canada’s top talent, making it a must-see event for hundreds of millions of fans across the world.

Russell was among several marquee international cricketers competing in Brampton, with Shoaib Malik (Brampton), Harbhajan Singh (Brampton), Shahid Afridi (Toronto) and Chris Gayle (Mississauga) also taking part.

There were 36 Canadian players in the tournament, giving them a chance to shine alongside their cricket heroes in front of a global audience. (CBC)

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