Double-header day gives ILT20 a day full of cricket after 3 days of wash out:
Two matches for a cozy Saturday were scheduled at the Dubai Stadium, after 3 consecutive games were abandoned thanks to rain. In the first game of the day, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Sharjah Warriors face-off took place while under the lights Dubai Capitals hosted Desert Vipers.
Abu Dhabi Knight Riders vs Sharjah Warriors:
Before the game started Warriors were resting at the fourth position on the table while Knight Riders, without any win, stayed behind all the teams. Joe Denly, who was captaining the Warriors after Moeen Ali flew away for national duty, came out with Sunil Narine for the toss. Denly was asked to make a choice after winning the toss and he opted to bowl first.
Paul Stirling and Joe Clarke strode in to start the innings while Naveen ul Haq had the ball in his hands. A destructive innings by Paul Stirling helped his team stay in the hunt while the wickets from the other end kept on falling from time to time. Dhananjaya de Silva came to the crease, after Joe Clarke departed early, but could stay only for 21 balls. However, Andre Russell and Charith Asalanka’s quick 33 and 21 scores respectively added to Stirling’s contribution after he departed. All in all, the Knight Riders were able to accumulate 149 runs by the end of 20 overs while the Warriors were able to strike the timbers of only four batters.
To chase the decent target of 150 runs, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Tom Kohler-Cadmore came to bat during the start of the innings. TKC, although, had to depart in the last over of the powerplay, the blitz from Rahmanullah’s blade stayed as he thrashed every bowler who came his way for at least one boundary per over. So much so that by the time the game reached 8th over, Rahmanullah reached his 50 however he departed soon. After his ousting, two quick wickets fell. First one was of the new man in the squad, Marcus Stoinis following him the wicket of Skipper Denly.
Thanks to Rahmanullah’s flurry the asking rate was much lower than the CRR but things for the Warriors started looking grim soon. Lahir Kumara’s 14th over further damaged the SW’s chances to dominate the game. Kumara got rid of Paul Walter and Adam Hose in the same over. Just when it started to look that the Knight Riders would take the game away, Mohamamd Nabi decided to thwack Kumara for 3 back to back fours and six, bringing the ball back to his team’s court. A couple of errors in line from Sabir Ali ended the game in Warrior’s favor while ADKR again bottled up their chance to get any victory in the tourney.
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Desert Vipers vs Dubai Capitals:
The second match of the day took place between the hosts Dubai Capitals and Desert Vipers. Colin Munro and Rovman Powell came out for the toss, after a 10 minute delay, and Powell made the right call. As the Capitals’ captain decided to bowl first, the Vipers’ openers started getting armed to open the innings with their blade. Alex Hales who has been phenomenal throughout the tournament came out to the field with Rohan Mustafa. Mustafa had to go back in the first over while Hales, much to everyone’s astonishment, took the long walk back in the 3rd over after scoring a mere 12. The captain Colin Munro tried to get his team back on the track by leading from the front and scoring a much needed 40 runs while his partner Sam Billings complemented him with his knock. Sherfane Rutherford and Tom Curran chipped in some crucial runs and brought the team’s total to 149 by the end of the first innings.
The openers of the Capitals, Robin Uthappa and Hazratullah Zazai were hunted by the Vipers’ bowlers early in the innings. Dasun Shanaka and Chiragh Suri tried to keep the house of cards together but could only do so for a short time, and soon departed without contributing many runs. Hasaranga got the better of Shanaka, while Rohan Mustafa got rid of Suri, thus denting DC’s chances further.
Sikander Raza joined his captain Powell to help him in the recovery process. An eventful 14th over took place where Sikander Raza decided to go all guns blazing against Rohan Mustafa and struck him for two back to back maximums. The third ball helped Mustafa get rid of Raza but Powell took charge from his departing team mate and handed Rohan another biggie. A stumping appeal made by Rohan and his team mates brought more drama to this over but Powell survived.
Yusuf, who came in place of Raza, went big as well but Tom Curran and Matheesha Pathirana turned the match in their favor by bowling brilliant overs and leaking as few runs as possible. In the last over, Capitals were 17 runs away from their victory but Curran did not let the batters score that kind of runs, thus guiding his side over the line.