Desert Vipers defeated Gulf Giants by 19 runs in the first qualifier of the ILT20 at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday to reach the finals. Curran took 4 wickets for 31 runs and Hasaranga 3 wickets for 36 runs, restricting them to 159 runs in 19.4 overs.
Vipers scored 178 for 7 at the end of 20 overs with Hasaranga scoring 31 and Curan scoring 29 on time. Sherafane Rutherford scored 37 runs off 19 balls with 4 sixes and one four with injury.
In the second over, Desert Vipers opener Rohan Mustafa hit two sixes off Zahid Sharma, first to deep mid-wicket fence and another to a backward square leg. Mustafa did not spare Drakes either. Hit his third six over deep mid-wicket.
David Wiese, who took 5 wickets in his last match against Sharjah Warriors, was introduced in the fourth over and he struck with the first delivery forcing Mustafa to mistime his shot and get him caught by Chris Jordan at mid-on for 23.
Opener Alex Hales took just 8 balls to score 3 before he was run out trying to hit Carlos Brathwaite big off the second ball of the fifth over. Captain Colin Munro was also dismissed by Chris Jordan when he caught wicketkeeper Tom Banton.
At the end of the power play, Desert Vipers scored 36 runs for 3 wickets and were in a difficult situation. Wicketkeeper Banton had to leave with a finger injury and was replaced by Ashwanth Chidambaram.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Sam Billings combined to cross the 50-run mark in the 8th over and at the halfway mark of 74 for 3, they built a 50-run partnership in 5.3 overs.
Hasaranga hit Drakes for two consecutive boundaries in the 12th over but fell to the third delivery while going for a slog and edging to new wicketkeeper Chidambaram for 31. The duo added 60 runs in 38 balls for the fourth wicket.
Vipers crossed the 100-run mark in the 13th over. In the next over, Rutherford, going for a quick single, pulled his hamstring and had to retire injured at 5. In the 15th over, UAE’s 17-year-old off-spinner Ayan Afzal Khan was asked to bowl.
He struck from the third ball of his first over when Sam Billings went for a powerful shot and Jordan took a good catch for 31 runs.
An injured Rutherford hit Jordan again for a six and a four to score 16 runs in the 17th over. In the 18th over, he hit Wise for three consecutive sixes – the first over long-on, the second over extra cover, and the third over the bowler’s head. In the 19th over, Curran hit Brathwaite for a six-over deep wicket and a four-over long-off.
Injured but UNBEATEN! 💪
Stand and deliver was Sherfane Rutherford’s mantra tonight 🤩
— International League T20 (@ILT20Official) February 8, 2023
Curran felt to last ball of the innings slashing at Jordan and edging to wicketkeeper Chidambaram for 29.
Rutherford retired with one ball remaining at 37. In the last five overs, 69 runs were scored losing just two wickets.
In the absence of Banton, who was injured, Chris Lynn started chasing an 8.90 run rate with James Vince.
The fours were steady with Lynn hitting Sheldon Cottrell for 2 fours in the second over and Gus Atkinson for another 2 in the third over. Vince also hit Luke Wood for 2 fours and a 50-run partnership was recorded in 5.3 overs.
Hasaranga provided the breakthrough with the first ball of his first over clean bowling Lynn through the gates for 26. Tom Curran struck in the next over clean bowling Vince too through the gates for 21. In the middle of the match, Gulf Giants were 75 for 2 with 104 more to reach the target.
With the first ball of the 11th over, Hasaranga trapped De Grandhomme leg before 11. One ball later, Hasaranga also trapped Wiese leg before for a duck. Hetmyer started his massive knock in the 13th over by hitting Hasaranga for three sixes. West Indies star scored a 21-ball 36 with three sixes and another four.
Banton hit Crane for 2 fours in a row but fell to wicketkeeper Billings for 8 off the third ball. This almost completely overshadowed the Gulf giants’ pursuit. Wood continued to strike and had Drakes caught at long leg for 9 and Curran removing the danger man Brathwaite caught by Munro at covers for 18 and Sharma too in an identical manner for a duck. Last man Aayan got run out for a duck.
Later in an interview on the Vipers Voices Podcast, Rutherford said he knew it was his last game, but he wanted to make an impact on the game and help his team.
“It was my idea (to go back out and bat). When I went in (after being injured), I asked my physio if I could go back and bat. He said no and that it was better I just relax.”
“I told him I could do it, and then he said he was going to discuss it with the coach. At that time Tom Moody was passing by and he said, ‘If he (Rutherford) wants to bat, let us trust him.’ I also knew it was going to be my last game (in the tournament) and I wanted to give it my all, and hopefully I could make an impact for the team.”
After coming to the crease he revealed his intentions to his partner Tom Curran and with him scored 52 runs which eventually changed the course of the match. Also he said,
“I knew I could not run, so I said (to Tom Curran) that I was going to try and get boundaries. So, I think that’s where we won the game. “
Speaking about their performance, Desert Vipers captain Colin Munro said,
“Sherafane showed great character today. This is the kind of environment we have created in the dressing room. The players want to go out there and perform for the team. Sherfane’s innings was the turning point in the game. He hit the ball beautifully and put us in the driver’s seat.”
Meanwhile, Gulf Giants’ bowling coach Ottis Gibson said,
“We were in a pretty good position until Rutherford came back and played some good shots. His innings helped them to get 178 which turned out to be a difficult chase for us.”