Gulf Giants pulled off a hard-fought three-run win over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the 28th match of the DP World ILT20 season 2 at the Dubai International Stadium.
Skipper James Vince’s knock of 50 in 39 balls with five boundaries and a six, Jordan Cox’s 57 runs off 38 balls with two boundaries and four sixes, and their 103 opening partnership backed by Shimron Hetmyer's unbeaten 39 off 27 balls with five boundaries gave them a total of 166 for 3 in 20 overs.
Knight Riders chased through opener Jason Roy’s 47 off 31 balls with five boundaries and two sixes. He put on a 50-run partnership for the second wicket off 24 balls with Joe Clarke (20) and a 51-run partnership in 38 balls for the third wicket with Alishan Sharafu (29).
Laurie Evans too tried hard through an unbeaten 33 runs, but that was not enough to win the match which came down once again to the last over where the Abu Dhabi side needed 11 runs to win but failed.
The Giants will now take on MI Emirates in the Qualifier 1.
Jamie Overton (3 for 32) and Chris Jordan (2 for 22) lit up victory hopes for Knight Riders. With 11 runs needed off the last over, Blessing Muzarabani kept his cool and gave away only seven runs to ensure the Giants an exciting win. Jordan, who has taken nine wickets between the 16th and 20th overs, and with 31 wickets, is the highest wicket-taker in this tournament’s history.
The chase was exciting with Joe Clarke, who joined Roy, hitting Muzarabani for three consecutive boundaries in the third over. Roy too opened out hitting Gerhard Erasmus for two sixes and two boundaries and took 20 runs off the fourth over. Their 50 runs partnership for the second wicket came in 23 balls before Overton had Clarke top edge his pull to wicketkeeper Jamie Smith for 20.
Alishan Sharafu and Roy accelerated the run flow and steered the total to 100 in 10.2 overs. Their 50-run partnership came in 37 balls when Aayan Khan clean bowled Roy who went for a pull and missed the arm ball. Sharafu was stumped by Smith off Zuhaib Zubair for 29.
Overton removed Imad Wasim for 4, caught by Vince at mid-on when 34 runs were needed for a win in the last five overs. Chris Jordan bowled a brilliant yorker to clean bowl Fabian Allen for 7. When 11 runs were needed off 11 balls, David Willey got run out for 11 and Jordan clean bowled Sagar Kalyan for a duck. In the last over, Narine got run out for 2 and Muzarabani gave away only seven runs to ensure the Giants' victory.
Winning skipper James Vince said: “The last four games have been magnificent. In the last two games, we were in the game. They were ahead in the game, we showed a lot of character to fight back.
He (Muzarabani) was worried about bowling the yorkers but I made him believe. We felt a yorker was the best option. Two extremely young inexperienced (UAE) spinners, it's huge that they are performing in all games,” added Vince.
Losing skipper Sunil Narine said: “The way they started, they were on course for over 190, we pulled them back, started well, but we then lost a cluster of wickets. Their spinners did a good job and they bowled well in the death overs.”
Player of the Match, Overton, explained: “In T20, it's hard (to keep the cool). You just back what you are doing.
“We try to be unpredictable with our lengths. The wicket was slow at times. Some stopped a little bit, some skidded through. Back end, you are going to get hit, you just got to keep backing yourself.”
Overton also hailed UAE spinners Aayan Khan and Zuhaib Zubair saying: “They have been phenomenal, holding those middle overs and picking crucial wickets.”
Gulf Giants bt Abu Dhabi Knight Riders by three runs.
Gulf Giants: 166 for 3 in 20 overs (James Vince 50, Jordan Cox 57, Shimron Hetmyer 39n.o, Ali Khan 2 for 39)
Abu Dhabi Knight Riders: 163 for 9 in 20 overs (Jason Roy 47, Joe Clarke 20, Alishan Sharafu 29, Laurie Evans 34n.o, Jamie Overton 3 for 32, Chris Jordan 2 for 22)
Player of the Match: Jamie Overton
Afzal Basira defeated Rajgan Cricket Club by 26 runs to claim the crown
First victory for the Thai golfer since her Major win as a rookie at the 2021 ANA Inspiration on the LPGA
Dubai based Chiara Noja continues her season and is joined in the field by UAE amateurs Jamie Camero and Intissar Rich
The winner qualifies for the regional finals with a round that featured four birdies and an eagle
The 15-time Major winner has played in just five Official PGA Tour events since his February, 2021car crash
'The finishing holes are dramatic at Al Mouj and you have to be on your game'
The prestigious four-day event at Endurance City in Seih Al Salaam has attracted some of the best riders in the world