Hales’ blitzkrieg again sank ADKR’s hopes to get off the mark:
The International League T20 turned 9 Matches old today as Desert Vipers met Abu Dhabi Knight Riders for the second time. Knight Riders have not been fortunate enough to get off the mark so far, owing to which they are dwelling on the last position in the table. Desert Vipers have won two in two, one of them against the Knight riders. The toss allowed Sunil Narine, leading the Knight Riders, to make a decision and he opted to bowl first.
Andre Russell took the bowl while Rohan Mustafa, who was opening with Alex Hales, stood on strike, prepared. The first ball was sent over Russell’s head to race towards the boundary. Another one, just two balls away, followed. This time Rohan smashed the ball over short fine leg for a four. The flurry of fours by Rohan ended the very next ball when Russell bowled a length ball, making the opening batter misjudge the ball and mistime the shot. The ball ended in the hands of Charith Asalanka standing at extra cover and Russell drew the first blood. Colin Munro walked in to bat.
Akeal Hosein came to share the ball and was about to seal his over with no boundary bruise but Hales tonked his last delivery over mid-off for a maximum. Munro, following Hales’ footsteps, decided to clear the boundaries against both Russell as well as Lahiru Kumara. The actual blitz started in Matiullah Khan’s over when Hales wacked him for 18 runs in an over on the back of two fours and one maximum. The power play soon ended with Vipers at 61 runs and loss of 1 wicket.
Akeal Hosein was the new man after power play ended while Narine bowled in tandem with him. Run rate fell to 8.40 when Matiullah Khan was deployed again and was again thrashed for a Hales six. Hales reached his half century using just 30 deliveries. De Silva joined the attack only to concede 16 runs in his first over. Hales, like always, was breathing fire and the bowlers did not have any answer to him.
Akeal Hosein could not escape the Hales wrath too and had to add two back two back painful sixes from Hales into his tally. A troika of fours off Russell pushed Hales into his 90s and on just 52 balls, the English batter completed his ton which was also the first of the tournament. Seeing him reach his 100, Munro also blasted the ball for a deep midwicket six off Narine and completed his 50.
Munro could not stay for long as in the next over Lahiru Kumara’s short ball got the better of him and he had to depart after Akeal Hosein caught him. In walked Sherfane Rutherford. Hales’ blitzkrieg against Matiullah, however, did not end and this time Rutherford joined the party as well. Both batters collectively handed Khan a total of 23 runs in one over.
Lahiru got Rutherford in the next over making Tom Curran come to the field for a few balls. Boundaries, reviews and drama in the last few balls brought Vipers to a total of 219 runs.
ABU DHABI KNIGHT RIDERS’ BATTING:
Sheldon Cottrell with the new ball came to bowl to Brandon King while Kennar Lewis waited on the other end. King tonked Cottrell for a six over the mid-wicket. Cottrell had the last laugh as he struck King’s off stump to send him back to the pavilion. Dhananjaya de Silva joined Lewis in the middle as Atkinson entered the attack. An outside edge four from Lewis got him off the mark, however, he could not delay his departure more as Cottrell in his second over arranged for him to return to the pavilion as well. Lewis misjudged the ball and swung the ball towards the mid-on fielder. In walked Colin Ingram.
Atkinson, too, in his second over got his first timber of the day. Colin Ingram it was, who had to depart for a duck as Munro caught him at square leg after the ball touching the top edge flew in the air. ADKR looked in deep trouble as their 3 wickets were already down. Cottrell ran to bowl his third and the Vipers’ looked to be on a wickets spree as Wanindu Hasaranga chipped in his contribution, before coming to bowl, after directly hitting the stumps and running Charith Asalanka, who had not even faced a single delivery, out. Zawar Farid was the next batter in and some courage from him to hit Atkinson for two fours, powered DDS to come out of hiding as well. De Silva struck Atkinson for a six and ended the powerplay at 41/4.
Cottrell returned to bowl after the power play ended and ended his spell by getting Dhananjaya de Silva’s wicket. Cottrell sealed his 4 over spell and half of the ADKR team was now out. Now came Andre Russell with feeble hopes to rescue things.
Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva came to further ruin the things for ADKR and on just his second delivery he took a return catch to end Zawar Farid’s stay. Captain Sunil Narine came in next while Tom Curran was asked to bowl and a silent over ended 9 overs.
Hasaranga came back and got the big big wicket of the captain, Narine, this time. The Vipers were elated as 7 of ADKR batters were down as the tail started. Asking rate skyrocketed to 16.60. Could this mean the end for ADKR.
Andre Russell, however, resisted and resisted classically. He powered even Hasaranga’s balls for sixes and made a mockery out of Shiraz Ahmed by thrashing him 15 runs in one over and two back to back sixes in the second to bring up his fifty. However, Shiraz retaliated and sent him back to the pavilion in the same over.
The remaining one wicket could not even last for two balls after Russell as Matiullah Khan lost his wicket to Benny Howell to end the misery.