Hales storm trounces Sharjah Warriors to help Vipers script a win:
Sharjah Warriors, after a poor performance last night by the majority of their team which led them to lose their first match of the league, started their second match against the Desert Vipers with hopes to stage a comeback. The Captain of Desert Vipers, Colin Munro, won the toss and asked Moeen Ali-led team to bat first. Thus, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Evin Lewis walked in the field to bat while the Desert Vipers’ eleven took their positions.
Sheldon Cottrell started the match by bowling to Rahmanullah, who on the second delivery tried to hit the ball but could only get it past the fielder for two runs. However on the 5th delivery, the opener was successful in thumping the ball away for a six.
Pacer Gus Atkinson came running in, to bowl the second over and was presented with a four through covers by Rahmanullah. Evin Lewis, who had faced only 3 balls by now, tried to pull the fourth ball away to get off the mark but a top edge gave fine leg a chance to catch the ball, and send the first batter home, which he grabbed with both hands. Out came Dawid Malan at Number 3 to join Rahmanullah. Cottrell was again hit for a maximum by Rahmanullah’s merciless blade over the covers.
The Afghanistan-born did not look in mood to stop as he again sent Atkinson’s ball running towards the mid-on for a four. However, Atkinson was quick to settle the accounts as he forced Rahmanullah to make a mistake. The mistake which saw a leading edge take the ball flying upwards. The keeper Sam Billings got his hands under the ball and Rahmanullah was sent back. Tom Kohler-Cadmore came striding in at 4th position after being promoted up the order and in the same over, the chance to dismiss Malan went begging, as Sherfane Rutherford dropped his catch standing at the backward point.
Cottrell bowled a ball which was called both dead ball and no ball in his 3rd over. Interestingly, iy was struck for a four by TKC but it did not end up adding anything to the tally.
Tom Curran was introduced into the attack and was hit for a one bounce four by his namesake on the other end. However, TKC could not carry on more as Tom Curran’s short ball forced him out of the crease to play the ball which did not connect properly and was caught by Rohan Mustafa. Moeen Ali, the captain, had to enter the field next to join his countryman, Malan. The Sharjah Warriors ended the powerplay at 40/3 and in came Tymal Mills to bowl the first over after powerplay. Mills’ 4 run first over was followed by a return over by Atkinson and, Malan and Moeen Ali, licking their lips struck him for two boundaries.
Rohan Mustufa as the first spinner bowled the 8th while Mills got his first wicket of the day after Tom Curran took a screamer at midwicket to send Moeen Ali back to the pavilion. Joe Denly strode in while Benny Howell was given the ball. Howell’s entry brought glad tidings for the Vipers as he sent the dangerous Dawid Malan back from the field. 11 overs ended and 5 wickets of the warriors were already down.
Mohammad Nabi joined Denly as Curran came back to the attack. Somewhat silent overs followed where only traces of strike rotations and extras were seen and somehow in the 17th over the Warriors brought their tally to above hundred. That’s when the storm raged. Denly and Nabi decided to start firing in all cylinders and took the total to 145 by the time the innings ended with the help of three fours by Denly and two maximums and 1 boundary by Mohammad Nabi. A target of 146 was set for the Vipers to chase, but, after the innings break ended.
DESERT VIPER’S BATTING:
Rohan Mustafa and Alex Hales opened the batting for their side and Moeen Ali took the ball himself to bowl the first over. Two back to back fours by Mustafa’s reverse sweeps shook Moeen Ali to make amends and so he did. On the last delivery of the first over, Mustafa tried to go for a sweep this time but Woakes at deep square leg got hold of it and so Mustafa had to walk back to the pavilion. Captain Colin Munro was seen coming in next while Chris Woakes prepared for his run up. A first ball four by Hales to his compatriot Woakes, got him off the mark. However, Munro could not stand longer in front of Woakes’ bowling brilliance as Munro’s pull was caught conveniently by Denly at deep square leg to hand Woakes his first wicket of the day.
Sam Billings, one of the numerous English players playing today, walked out next while Naveen ul Haq took the charge with the ball. A loud appeal came with him after he rapped Hales’ pads but Umpire did not look impressed. Moeen Ali took the help of DRS but it also confirmed that the ball would be going down the leg. Hales was saved and the next ball he, along with a little help from Meiyappan who misfielded, struck Naveen for a four. Woakes’ three runs over brought back Naveen the very next over and without showing mercy Hales and Billings gifted him two fours. Chris Woakes came to bowl the last over of the powerplay but his country fellow, Hales, showed no regard and decided to make the most of or at least 16 of this over. Power play ended with Desert Vipers at 52/2.
Junaid Siddique’s first over teemed with extras as he gave as many as 7 extra runs. Mohammad Nabi joined him from the other end and bowled a decent one.
Karthik Meiyappan conceded 10 in his next over, helping the Vipers bring down the asking rate and surge the current run rate. Nabi’s over went silent but Meiyyappan’s obsession with conceding 10 runs in his overs murdered any remaining chances of Warriors to win the game.
Naveen ul Haq replaced Meiyappan while Junaid Siddique was recalled to bowl from the other side. Two drop catches in Siddique’s over further slashed Moeen Ali-led team’s spirits. 14 overs ended and Vipers were soaring with 114 runs next to their name. Now they needed only 32 runs off 36 balls.
Alex Hales again started his blitzkrieg against Chris Woakes as he thwacked him for 22 runs in his last over by hitting him for four boundaries and 1 maximum. Meiyappan was sent back to bowl and was sent for a four by Billings who, after a single, stood at 49. Unluckily the English batter had to depart without scoring a half century as a top edge, being the criminal, landed the ball in Naveen’s hands. Sherfane Rutherford came to see the match through to victory as only 3 runs were needed to win. A single by Rutherford gave Hales the deserving chance to play the winning shot and so he did as he clipped a slow bouncer by Junaid Siddique for a boundary towards mid-on.