Sharjah: Ravi Bopara (4 for 15), Joshua Little (3 for 17) and David Willey (2 for 16) orchestrated Sharjah Warriors’ catastrophic batting collapse and helped Abu Dhabi Knight Riders march to an emphatic seven-wicket win in the 23rd match of the DP World ILT20 season 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
It was another lacklustre display of resilience from the Warriors batters as they were bowled out for 75 in 17 overs. Their score was one run more than their total of 74 all out against MI Emirates on the same ground in the ninth match of this edition. Warriors thus recorded the second lowest total of the tournament too.
Chasing the target, Knight Riders raced to victory in 10.1 overs after their openers Joe Clarke and Michael Pepper put on a 54-run opening partnership in 5.2 overs. UAE’s left-arm pacer Muhammad Jawadullah struck twice to remove Pepper caught by Joe Denly at cover and Alishan Sharafu was also caught by Denly at cover-point for a duck.
Jawadullah also went on to dismiss Clarke caught behind for 34 but Sam Hain (9 n.o) and Laurie Evans (3 n.o) steered Knight Riders to the target without any further mishaps with 59 balls to spare. Jawadullah returned with figures of three wickets for five runs.
Warriors’ woeful batting collapse began soon after Knight Riders won the toss and elected to bowl. Warriors, who are at the bottom of the table, had crashed to a 79-run defeat to Gulf Giants the previous night after getting all out for 108.
Knight Riders’ Andre Russell, who captained the team in this match, expressing his delight on moving to the second spot in points table, said: “The bowlers made it really easy for us tonight. They bowled in the perfect areas and they made the new-ball dance. Picking early wickets was crucial. Although we were bowling based in how the wicket played, our main objective was to win this match.”
Warriors skipper Kohler-Cadmore, explaining his team’s poor show, remarked: “We kept losing wickets. That’s been the problem throughout the tournament for us, we kind of seem to lose wickets in clumps and never recover. We need to work out something for the next couple of games. The top-order needs to stand up and take the game deeper, not go off from ball one. If we win two, we could sneak through; so we are not out yet.”
Player of the Match, Little, talking about his spell, said: “I tried to keep it simple. We spoke before in the team meeting about hitting a spot, and luckily there was movement for me. I was working on some areas. The Knight Riders are a great franchise and they have been backing me all the way.”
Brief scores: Abu Knight Riders bt Sharjah Warriors by 7 wkts. Sharjah Warriors 75 in 17 overs (Daniel Sams 24, David Willey 2 for 16, Joshua Little 3 for 17, Ravi Bopara 4 for 15) Abu Knight Riders 79 for 3 in 10.1 overs (Joe Clarke 34, Muhammad Jawadullah 3 for 5). Player of Match: Joshua Little