ILT20: Desert Vipers cruise to six-wicket win over Sharjah Warriors

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Sharjah: The Desert Vipers sailed to a comfortable six-wicket win over the Sharjah Warriors in the 30th and final league match of the ILT20 season 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium after rain delayed the start of the match and reduced it to an 18-over contest.

A fine bowling display from Vipers’ Nathan Sowter (3 for 21) and Matheesha Pathirana (3 for 28), well backed by Sam Curran (2 for 29), restricted Warriors to 121 for 9 in 18 overs. Vipers then raced to the target in 12.5 overs with openers Phil Salt (30) and Alex Hales putting on a 50-run partnership in 23 balls, followed by a 49-run partnership between skipper Colin Munro (27) and Dinesh Chandimal (24*) for the fourth wicket.

The Vipers, who were eliminated before the start of the match, won with 31 balls to spare. This victory helped them push the Warriors to the bottom of the table and to take the fifth slot. In chasing the score, the Vipers’ opener Salt hit a 12-ball 30 runs with four boundaries and two sixes before being dismissed by Sean Williams. One-drop Dan Lawrence got out quickly, pulling Junaid Siddique to Nilansh Keswani at fine leg for 7. Siddique also hit the off stump of Hales on 21 with an angling delivery. Dinesh Chandimal, with his skipper Colin Munro, smoothly carried their team to the target, though Munro got run out when seven runs were needed to win.

Earlier, the Desert Vipers won the toss and elected to bowl. The Warriors’ openers, Niroshan Dickwella and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, put on 25 runs in four overs before Sam Curran clean-bowled Kohler-Cadmore, who went for a slog shot and missed. Dickwella, on 20, also followed attempting a sweep off off-spinner Daniel Lawrence, and the ball hit his pad and crashed onto the stumps. One-drop Luke Wells and Martin Guptill put on another 28 runs for the third wicket when leg-spinner Nathan Sowter clean-bowled Guptill, who went for a slog sweep and missed, scoring 11.

With nine more overs left and the score at 55 for 3, Joe Denly joined Wells but lasted only five balls, scoring two runs before falling to Sowter, caught by Philip Salt at long-off. Sean Williams and Wells added another 25 runs before Wells’ fine knock ended at 31, caught and bowled by Sowter. Williams, who kept the score moving, fell to Pathirana at 23, caught by Curran at mid-on. Daniel Sams, who chipped in with 15 runs, also fell caught by Mustafa off Curran at long-off. The Warriors’ innings ended with Pathirana clean bowling Mark Watt and Adil Rashid with the last two balls of the innings.

Player of the Match, Sowter, revealed how he picked those wickets. “The ball was staying a bit low, so I was trying to land it on a length and keep it on the stumps. I just backed my ability to do it again and again, and tonight I got the rewards.”

Vipers skipper Colin Munro was candid in his comment. “To be brutally honest, we haven’t played good enough cricket throughout the tournament. One person who stuck up their hand with the bat was Alex Hales. We managed to adapt to the conditions well. Salt has played in two games and has performed admirably for us, and Alex Hales is one of the best openers in the world.”

Warriors’ skipper Kohler-Cadmore hoped that his team would make a strong comeback and said: “We have experienced highs and lows, so it’s somewhat expected for us to be where we are. We’re trying to take away positives from this, and hopefully, the guys will make a strong comeback next year and perform well.”

The schedule for the upcoming matches: On February 13th (Tuesday), the Eliminator between Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Dubai Capitals will be held at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. On February 14th (Wednesday), Qualifier 1 between MI Emirates and Gulf Giants will be played at the Dubai International Stadium. The Qualifier 2, between the winner of the Eliminator and the loser of Qualifier 1, will be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on February 15th (Thursday). The final will be held on February 17th (Saturday) at the Dubai International Stadium between the winner of Qualifier 1 and Qualifier 2.

Brief scores: Sharjah Warriors 121/9 in 18 overs (Niroshan Dickwella 20, Luke Wells 31, Sean Williams 23, Sam Curran 2 for 29, Nathan Sowter 3/21, Matheesha Pathirana 3/28) vs Desert Vipers 123/4 in 12.5 overs (Phil Salt 30, Alex Hales 21, Colin Munro 27, Dinesh Chandimal 24*, Junaid Siddique 2/16)
Player of the Match: Nathan Sowter.

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