Vipers sting MIE in last-ball thriller to keep playoff hopes alive - GulfToday

Vipers sting MIE in last-ball thriller to keep playoff hopes alive


Desert Vipers' Sherfane Rutherford plays a shot against MI Emirates during their DP World ILT20 match in Dubai on Tuesday.

Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter

After a late blitz by Sherfane Rutherford, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Luke Wood held their nerves to steer Desert Vipers to a nail-biting two-wicket victory over MI Emirates in a topsy-turvy match at the DP World ILT20 in Dubai on Tuesday.

Earlier, riding on Mohammed Amir’s three-wicket haul, Vipers restricted MIE to 149/7 and chased down the target for the loss of eight wickets off the last ball of the match.

Meanwhile, Rutherford’s quickfire knock rekindled the hopes of Vipers after they were left struggling at 100/7. When almost everyone had written Vipers off, Rutherford’s blitzkrieg cameo brought them back into the game.

He smacked 22-ball 35 with the help of five fours and one six to bring the equation down to 21 needed off 16 deliveries before becoming the second scalp of Bravo.

After the departure of Rutherford, Shaheen and Wood took the onus on their shoulder and shared an unbeaten 21-run stand for the ninth wicket to take Vipers over the line.

Chasing, Vipers got off to a decent start but failed to get the momentum going. Both the opener Roham Mustafa and Alex Hales added 21 runs for the first wicket in their pursuit of an under-par total.

Fazalhaq Farooqi and UAE bowler Muhammad Rohid ripped through the Vipers batting line-up. Farooqi triggered the collapse by getting rid of UAE batsman Rohan Mustafa, who smashed 18 off 13 deliveries as Vipers lost the first wicket for 21 runs.

Rohan’s dismissal opened the floodgates for MIE bowlers as Vipers lost four wickets within a span of seven runs and 19 deliveries.

Rohid rattled the stumps of Hales to make it 25/2. He again struck in the same over to pick up Adam Hose, who failed to get off the mark. Farooqi had Colin Munro caught by Pooran to leave Vipers tottering at 28/4.

Azam Khan and Ali Nasser kept their hopes alive with a 32-run partnership for the fifth wicket before the Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman was caught by Boult off Rohid. Wanindu Hasaranga waged the lone battle with a fighting 26 to keep Vipers in hunt before falling prey to Bravo.

Earlier, Mohammed Amir returned after a break to torment the MIE batsmen as he finished with a figure of 3/26 in his four overs. Amir was rested against Sharjah Warriors in their previous match, which they lost.

The lanky former Pakistan pacer gave the first breakthrough with the dismissal of Kusal Perera in the first over and later returned to wipe the tail in his second spell. He accounted for the dismissals of Perera, Trent Boult and Tim David.

He was well supported by Luke Wood and Matheesha Pathirana who took two wickets each. Wood picked up two wickets in his consecutive overs to push MIE on the backfoot after Amir sent Perera back to the pavilion for a naught.

After the departure of Perera, MIE kept on losing the wickets on regular intervals. Muhammed Waseem and Andre Fletcher showed some resistance with a 33-run stand for the second wicket. When they looked set for a big partnership, Wood’s twin strikes in quick succession again pegged them back.

Waseem failed to read the length of the ball and holed out to Shaheen at the midwicket as MIE lost the second wicket for 33. Waseem played a breezy knock of 12-ball 19, hitting three boundaries and one six.

In his next over, Wood got rid of Fletcher, who dragged the ball on to his stumps in an attempt to hit him over the deep-mid-wicket. Fletcher’s innings was studded with two hits to the fence and one over it.

They lost three wickets within a span of 25 runs, which derailed their innings. Nicholas Poorna was taken by Ali Nasser while trying to slice it over the point as MIE were reduced from 52/2 to 58/4.

India’s Ambat Rayudu and West Indian Akeal Hosein tried to put the innings back on track with a 49-run stand for the fifth wicket. They took the score to 107 before Hasaranga dismissed Rayudu.

Rayudu played a sedated innings, scoring 23 runs in 30 balls. He and Hosein consumed too many deliveries as they scored 49 runs in seven overs, which put a lot of pressure on the batsmen to come.

Soon after the departure of Rayudu, Hosein also got out. Pathirana caught him off his bowling to leave MIE in tatters.

Tim David smashed a fiery 14-ball 28 and shared a whirlwind 37-run partnership with Dwayne Bravo. David atoned for Rayudu’s slow scoring and took the score to 148/7 before becoming the second victim of Amir.

Amir removed Trent Boult on the next delivery and sent back Fazalhaq Farooqi with a direct throw as he was trying to steal a single off the last ball of the innings.

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