ILT20: Desert Vipers beat Gulf Giants to storm into final

Sherfane Rutherford, Tom Curran and Wanindu Hasaranga played key roles in Vipers win


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Desert Vipers players celebrate their victory over Gulf Giants at the Dubai International Stadium. -- Supplied photo
Desert Vipers players celebrate their victory over Gulf Giants at the Dubai International Stadium. -- Supplied photo

Published: Wed 8 Feb 2023, 10:42 PM

Amid talks of a takeover bid for Manchester United, Avram Glazer, co-chairman of the iconic English football club, now stands on the cusp of winning his first piece of silverware as an owner of a cricket team.

The Glazer-owned Desert Vipers brought the Gulf Giants to their knees in the Qualifier 1 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday to storm into the final of the inaugural DP World International League T20.

The Vipers had a West Indian, a Sri Lankan and an Englishman to thank for their glorious march into the grand finale.

Sherfane Rutherford (37, 19 balls, 1 four, 4 sixes) defied a hamstring injury, conjuring a stirring knock that propelled the Vipers to a big total of 178 for seven.

Wanindu Hasaranga, who had chipped in with a knock of 31 off 20 balls, then delivered a spin masterclass (3-36) to set up the Vipers 19-run win as the Giants were bundled out for 159.

Tom Curran (4/31 and 29 off 17 balls) also struck crucial blows with the bat and ball to deny the Giants a whiff of a chance.

Earlier, England’s T20 World Cup hero Alex Hales (3) endured his fifth successive failure with the bat after his blistering start in the tournament.

Hales is still the highest-scorer in this tournament, but it was the fearless Rohan Mustafa (23, 13 balls, 3 sixes), the UAE all-rounder, that launched a stunning assault on the Giants bowlers.

But Mustafa’s dismissal in the fourth over led to a top-order collapse with Hales and skipper Colin Munroe (2) falling in quick succession.

Hasaranga (31 off 20 balls) and Sam Billings (31 off 29 balls) revived the innings with their 60-run fourth-wicket partnership.

The Giants struck again, sending back Hasaranga and Billings.

It was then that the Rutherford show began. The West Indian left-hander was limping on the ground after pulling his hamstring.

But he marched on in heroic fashion, hitting three straight sixes off David Wiese in the 18th over before retiring hurt in the final over.

Rutherford found great support from Curran (29, 17 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) as the Vipers eventually put on a formidable total on the board.

It was a total that proved too big for the Giants.

Brief scores

Desert Vipers beat Gulf Giants by 19 runs.

Desert Vipers 178 for seven in 20 overs (Sherfane Rutherford 37, Wanindu Hasaranga 31, Sam Billings 31, Tom Curran 29, Rohan Mustafa 23; Chris Jordan 3/30, Aayan Afzal Khan 1/2, Carlos Brathwaite 1/31)

Gulf Giants 159 all out in 19.4 overs (Shimron Hetmyer 36, Chris Lynn 26, James Vince 21; Tom Curran 4/31, Wanindu Hasaranga 3/36, Luke Wood 2/26)

Thursday’s match

Eliminator 1

MI Emirates vs Dubai Capitals

Sharjah Cricket Stadium

6 pm

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