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Chris Lynn of Gulf Giants feels he is happy to play the big shots and wants to have fun in DP World ILT20. Image Credit: CREIMAS Photography/ILT20

Dubai: Australian whiteball specialist Chris Lynn says the role of a Twenty20 specialist is to be an entertainer on the field.

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The 33-year-old Australian right-hander is one of the most travelled franchise cricketers, having played in eight different Twenty20 leagues across the world including the Big Bash and the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the DP World ILT20 League in UAE.

“This is a great time to be playing in the ILT20. One thing for sure, we know we’re not just sportsmen, but we are entertainers. Yes, we want to put the fans on their seats and play entertaining in the tournament,” the Gulf Giants batter told Gulf News.

The DP World ILT20 defending champions got off to a winning start, racing to six points from the first three games, but two successive losses put them in a spot of bother. With two more wins from next four games have placed the Adani-owned team in the second spot in Season 2 table, behind MI Emirates, who have already qualified for the play-offs. With 10 points from nine matches, the Giants will be hoping to beat the third-placed Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in their final group game in Dubai on Saturday. Giants and Knight Riders are almost assured of their spots in the next stage, however a win in the final match will help them seal the second spot and get a second chance to book their place in the final.

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Australian Chris Lynn has so far scored two half-centuries in seven innings in Season 2. Image Credit: CREIMAS Photography/ILT20

Grit and determination

Sharjah Warriors, Desert Vipers and Dubai Capitals are contesting for the lone remaining spot , however a win for either Vipers or Capitals in Dubai on Friday will only strengthen their chances before the final round on Saturday and Sunday.

The defending champions showcased their grit and determination to pull off a five-run win over MI Emirates in their penultimate match of season 2 at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday. The architects of Giants’ win were their skipper James Vince, who showed the way through his 59 off 41 balls, and wicketkeeper Jamie Smith’s quick unbeaten 43 off 26 balls. Together they helped Giants post a fighting total of 158 for 7. The Giants then restricted MI Emirates to 153 for 7 in 20 overs.

Emirates’ skipper Kieron Pollard lit up hopes of a victory through his fighting knock of 40 off 31 balls after opener Kusal Perera had hit 34 runs off 25 balls. Chris Jordan and Jamie Overton bowled the death overs to perfection and ensured their team’s win. Unfortunately, Emirates’ left-arm spinner from Afghanistan, Waqar Salamkheil’s spell of 3 for 19 went in vain.

Lynn has so far scored two half-centuries and a 45 in the seven matches he has played so far this season.

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Skipper James Vince, Chris Lynn and Andy Flower during a chat ahead of their match. The defending champions are one step away from booking their place in the playoffs. Image Credit: CREIMAS Photography/ILT20

Live by sword and die by sword

“I just fun to be honest,” he spoke about his power-hitting capabilities. “If you are a batter, you want to take the game deep. The big thing for me is taking the game head on and expressing yourself. As I said, we’re entertainers and want to hit the ball out of the park. On some days it’s not going to come off. When you live by the sword, you die by the sword. In 10 games like ILT20, if I come off two or maybe three times, then I’ve done my job for the team, because I’m expecting James (Vince), Chris (Jordan) and others to come up and score. There’s one of us for each game,” the shrewd Australian simplified the entire process. Lynn has played in 280 Twenty20 matches, scoring 8,050 runs at an average of 32.72, including five centuries and 52 half-centuries.

Apart from being an entertainer, Lynn, who has also played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, feels as overseas players, it is their responsibility to unearth the UAE talents. The team has some exciting UAE talents like Aayan Afzal Khan, Sanchit Sharma. 

“Big tournaments like the IPL has already got their foundations right. Every tournament has its pros and cons and we as overseas players need to grow the game in that tournament. We need to find the next superstar. How do we find the next Rashid Khan or Jos Buttler out of UAE? That’s a challenge for the overseas guys. We have got great coach Andy Flower and we have great support staff to achieve that. So the big thing for me in ILT20 is just trying to grow the game in UAE,” he concluded.