Nicholas Pooran-1707075061999
Nicholas Pooran with the Player of the Match award in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: MI Emirates continued to reign supreme in the DP World ILT20 Season 2, registering a resounding 30-run victory against the Desert Vipers at the Zayed Cricket Stadium to become the first team to secure the berth in the play-offs.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Completing their sixth victory in eight matches, the MI Emirates asserted themselves with a first innings score of 188/5 buoyed by an elegant knock of 65 runs from Kusal Perera and a late innings assault from Nicholas Pooran (39). Ambati Rayudu also produced impeccable value for this team with a hard-fought stint that earned 44 runs.

The Desert Vipers run-chase never found momentum, encumbered by the clinical bowling of the MI Emirates, they lost wickets at frequent intervals, including five in the powerplay. Fazalhaq Farooqi was the pick of the Emirates’ bowling attack with impressive figures of 4/31. His four overs scripted the dismissals of Colin Munro, Adam Hose, Azam Khan and Luke Wood to limit the Desert Vipers to 158/8 in 20 overs.

MI Emirates’ top scorer of the day, Kusal Perera said, “I think we got a very good score on the board. We are always looking to make the most of the powerplay. I think Rayudu and I did well to set up the foundation and bat till the 15th over, but we did very well in the death over to put up a big score, thanks to Nicholas Pooran.”

Speaking on the crowd support, he further added, “It’s always great to see so much support for our team and it motivates the players as well. Hope to see the same things for the remaining games.”

UAE’s 20-year-old leg spinner Zuhaib Zubair sped up Giants’ victory bagging four wickets for 22 runs. Image Credit: Supplied

Giants win

In the other match of the day, Shimron Hetmyer, wearing his favourite jersey No 189 and sporting his white coloured hair, flayed the Sharjah Warriors bowling attack as Gulf Giants registered a fine 79-run win.

Hetmyer’s knock of 53 not out off 28 balls was studded with three boundaries and four sixes. He entertained the Sunday crowd that filled almost every seat at the Dubai International Stadium.

He recorded a 35-run partnership with Gerhard Erasmus (17) for the fifth wicket and a 59-run stand with Jamie Overton (25) immediately after. Hetmyer’s show began after Chris Lynn hit 45 runs off 32 balls with six boundaries and a six and had put on 66-run stand for the second wicket in 47 balls. Warriors’ left-arm spinner Sean Williams picked three wickets for 46.

The Warriors’ chase began on a disastrous note. UAE’s 18-year-old left-arm spinner Aayan Afzal Khan, bowling the first over, struck by getting opener Niroshan Dickwella caught behind with the first ball, and one-drop Joe Denly with the second delivery, caught by Jordan at mid-off. Their batters continued to fall at regular intervals with Johnson Charles too being caught behind off Overton for 2.

After skipper Tom-Kohler Cadmore, who hit a brave 39, was caught by Cox off Drakes, and Sean Williams too was out caught by Afzal Khan at short third man off Zuhaib Zubair for 3, half the side was back in the dug-out for 44. After this, Giants’ victory was a mere formality. Lewis Gregory hit 30 runs but UAE’s 20-year-old leg spinner Zuhaib Zubair sped up Giants’ victory bagging four wickets for 22 runs.

Confidence boost

James Vince, skipper of Giants, who is delighted over his team’s return to the top four in the table, said: “We knew that if we won today we will be back in the top four. The manner in which Hetty (Hetmyer) and Jamie played highlighted what we spoke about and the intent we wanted to play to win matches.”

Kohler-Cadmore, skipper of Warriors, was sporting in defeat. “We didn’t get enough runs with the bat, so obviously disappointed. We’ve got another game tomorrow and need to get back to our best. Sometimes you gotta dust your hat off and say well done.”

Player of the Match Zuhaib Zubair said: “I am glad I got the opportunity to play in this tournament and am happy with the win. I want to thank my bowling coach (Ottis Gibson) for giving me the confidence to do my best.”

Brief scores: MI Emirates bt Desert Vipers by 30 runs. MI Emirates 188 for 5 in 20 overs (Kusal Perera 65, Ambati Rayudu 44, Nicholas Pooran 39, Mohd Amir 2 for 29); Desert Vipers 158 for 8 in 20 overs (Ali Naseer 63 n.o, Luke Wood 30, Azam Khan 19, Fazalhaq Farooqi 4 for 31). Player of the Match: Nicholas Pooran.

Gulf Giants bt Sharjah Warriors by 79 runs. Gulf Giants 187 for 6 in 20 overs (James Vince 20, Chris Lynn 45, Shimron Hetmyer 53n.o, Jamie Overton 25, Sean Williams 3 for 46) Sharjah Warriors 108 in 17.3 overs (Tom Kohler-Cadmore 39, Lewis Gregory 30, Aayan Afzal Khan 2 for 16, Zuhaib Zubair 4 for 22). Player of the Match: Zuhaib Zubair.