ILT20: Thrilling finale on the cards

Desert Vipers will take on Gulf Giants in the final of the DP World ILT20 at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday

By Team KT

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Desert Vipers skipper Colin Munro and Gulf Giants captain James Vince pose with the DP World ILT20 trophy at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. — Supplied photo
Desert Vipers skipper Colin Munro and Gulf Giants captain James Vince pose with the DP World ILT20 trophy at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. — Supplied photo

Published: Sat 11 Feb 2023, 10:15 PM

An intense clash is on the cards as Desert Vipers will meet Gulf Giants for the coveted DP World ILT20 trophy at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

So similar are the strengths of both teams, which finished at the top two spots in the league stage, that it will be an unpredictable final where only the team that produces the best cricket will emerge as the winner.

The prize awaiting the winner is a whopping $700,000 while the runners-up will receive $300,000.

UAE’s own cricket league commenced on January 13 and dished out many exciting matches and stupendous individual performances during the month-long tournament. It’s not only international cricketers who sparkled in these contests but domestic UAE’s players too, only going to prove that they deserve recognition and a place among the best limited-overs cricket players in the world.

Leading the show through consistent batting is Alex Hales from Desert Vipers with 468 runs from 11 matches and a fine bowling performance from Chris Jordan with 19 wickets from nine matches.

Hales is being closely chased by Gulf Giants skipper James Vince with 425 runs from 10 matches, while Jordan is being tailed by his teammate David Wiese with 18 wickets from 10 matches.

Who will walk away with the Green Belt for the most runs and the White Belt for the most wickets is as unpredictable as the outcome of the final.

For the UAE cricket fraternity, it is a matter of pride that their hero and MI Emirates’ opener Muhammad Waseem is in fourth position among the highest run-getters with 367 runs from 11 matches and bowler Junaid Siddique of Sharjah Warriors is in the seventh position among highest wicket takers with 10 wickets.

Desert Vipers stormed into the final stunning table toppers Gulf Giants in the Qualifier 1 by 19 runs.

Whether they will be able to repeat their show in the final will depend on the performances of their star players starting from their opener UAE’s Rohan Mustafa, the consistent Hales, Sam Billings, all-rounders Wanindu Hasaranga and Tom Curran.

Much is expected from their skipper Colin Munro and strike bowlers Sheldon Cottrell, UAE’s Shiraz Ahmed, Luke Wood and Gus Atkinson.

Speaking ahead of the grand finale, Desert Vipers’ captain Colin Munro said: “We’ll enjoy the day for what it is. Hopefully, we’ll put on a good show. We’ve got two wonderful teams in the final. Two teams in form from the league stage. It’s been really pleasing to see the depth of our squad.”

Gulf Giants will aim for a repeat show from their captain and opener James Vince who led from the front in Qualifier 2 through an unbeaten 83 to help his team defeat MI Emirates.

A good start by him with opener Chris Lynn will be vital. Vince will want his batsmen Colin de Grandhomme and Gerhard Erasmus, and all-rounders David Wiese and Carlos Brathwaite to play their roles to perfection.

Furthermore, the bowlers will be led by Jordan, UAE’s Aayan Khan and Sanchit Sharma as well as Qais Ahmed who all can provide vital breakthroughs.

When asked about the title clash, Gulf Giants’ captain Vince said: “It’s been a great competition. It’s only fitting that the teams which finished in the top two spots are meeting in the final. We have got a lot of experience in our team. The players have played in big games and I can’t see the final fazing anyone.”

Today's match


Desert Vipers vs Gulf Giants

Dubai International Stadium

6 pm (UAE Time)

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