UAE youngster Jawadullah holds his nerve as Warriors clinch thriller

The two bottom-placed teams in the ILT20 fought tooth and nail to entertain a 13,000-strong crowd

By Rituraj Borkakoty

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Sharjah Warriors players celebrate their win. — Picture courtesy ILT20
Sharjah Warriors players celebrate their win. — Picture courtesy ILT20

Published: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 12:33 AM

With Jamal Kudu, the peppy Bollywood hit from the movie Animal, ringing out at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the 13,000-strong crowd at the historic venue was also treated to some delicious T20 cricket by the Sharjah Warriors and the Desert Vipers on Sunday.

The two bottom-placed teams in the ILT20 fought tooth and nail before the Warriors won the contest by seven runs, thanks to the nerveless display of death bowling by UAE youngster Muhammad Jawadullah.

Needing to defend 16 runs in the final over, the 24-year-old left-arm pacer gave away just eight runs as the Warriors, who had made 174 for seven, restricted the Vipers to 167 for seven.

Jawadullah (3-0-22-1), who came to the UAE from Pakistan to work as an electrician only four years ago, produced another match-winning display, having recently played a big part in the UAE’s T20I victory over Test-playing team Afghanistan.

Chasing 175 on a good wicket, the Vipers were never in control, losing wickets regularly.

But Alex Hales (61 off 40 balls) and Azam Khan (35 off 20 balls) turned the game on its head with their fantastic 52-run fifth-wicket partnership.

Chris Woakes (4-0-26-2) got the breakthrough in the 14th over when he had Hales caught at deep-backward point.

But the turning point was the dismissal of Azam who could not beat a throw from Warriors skipper Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

Still, a few big hits could have clinched the deal in the final over, but Jawadullah was brilliant against two dangerous Pakistani big hitters, Shadab Khan (11 not out off 12 balls) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (14 not out off 8 balls).

Earlier, Desert Vipers bowlers fought back to restrict the Sharjah Warriors 174 for seven.

At 146 for three in the 15th over, the Warriors were looking good for a very big score.

But the Warriors suffered a stunning batting collapse, losing four wickets for just one run as Sri Lanka’s star leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (4-0-30-3) worked his magic, dismissing Daniel Sams (1), Lewis Gregory (0) and UAE all-rounder Basil Hameed (0).

The Warriors eventually reached 174, thanks to an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership between Joe Denly (22 not out) and Chris Woakes (14 not out).

But they promised so much more when skipper Kohler-Cadmore (68 off 34 balls) put on a stunning exhibition of shot-making, hitting eight sixes.

His 101-run partnership with Martin Guptill (39 off 32 balls) put the Vipers to the sword before they suffered the batting collapse.

In the first match of the day, MI Emirates (189/1 in 19 overs) beat Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (188/5 in 20 overs) at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, thanks to UAE skipper Muhammad Waseem’s magnificent 62-ball 89 not out.

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