UAE's Sharafu powers Abu Dhabi Knight Riders to six-wicket victory over Desert Vipers

‘It feels really good. I’m looking to pick up as much as I can from all the legends in the dressing room,’ said the Player of the Match

By Team KT

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Alishan Sharafu of Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in action. - Supplied photo
Alishan Sharafu of Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in action. - Supplied photo

Published: Sat 27 Jan 2024, 7:50 PM

The UAE's Alishan Sharafu stole the thunder at the DP World ILT20 season 2 on Saturday by cracking a stunning unbeaten 82 runs to steer Abu Dhabi Knight Riders to a six-wicket win over Desert Vipers at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

A courageous Sharafu, 21, crafted his match-winning innings out of 47 balls that were studded with 11 boundaries and four sixes.

With support from experienced and senior players like Imad Wasim (25) and Andre Russell (24n.o), he helped Knight Riders chase down the Vipers total of 154 for 8 with 16 balls to spare.

Desert Vipers' batting had failed before the tight bowling of Wasim, who took two wickets for 19 during the powerplay and Russell (2 for 29). Except for Colin Munro’s 50 off 44 balls with six boundaries and a six, none of the other batters rose to the challenge to post a bigger total.

The chase towards 155 was a treat to watch. Joe Clarke was run out while backing up when bowler Mohammad Amir deflected the ball to the stumps. Opener Andries Gous too followed, falling to Amir edging to wicketkeeper Azam Khan for 10 in the fourth over.

Wanindu Hasaranga tightened the grip by trapping Sam Hain's leg before through a googly for 7 in the sixth over. These early strikes made the target look huge.

Sharafu then began to play freely and in a total of 60 for 3, he had scored 30 of those runs. Wasim provided excellent support. Sharafu reached his half-century in 34 balls with six boundaries and three sixes.

Knight Riders went past the 100-run mark in 13.3 overs. Wasim lifted Hasaranga into the hands of Sherfane Rutherford at long for a run-a-ball of 25 runs.

Sharafu then took up the mantle of taking his team to the target along with Russell and won the match in 17.2 overs. For Knight Riders who had lost two consecutive matches, this was a morale-boosting win.

“It feels really good. I am grateful to the management for trusting in me,” said Player of the Match Sharafu.

“It's a great environment and I’m looking to pick up as much as I can from all the legends in the dressing room.”

A released captain Sunil Narine remarked: “It’s always a good feeling, playing good cricket and winning. Picking up early wickets is key in this format. Our fielding was also good.”

Losing captain Munro admitted that his team played below par.

“We were probably 10-15 short. In the day games, the ball always does a little bit. We were below par and they were just above par,” he said.

Brief scores:

Abu Dhabi Knight Riders bt Desert Vipers by 6 wicketws

Desert Vipers 154 for 8 in 20 overs (Colin Munro 50, Sherfane Rutherford 28; Imad Wasim 2 for 19, Andre Russell 2 for 29)

Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 160 for 4 in 17.2 overs (Alishan Sharafu 82n.o, Imad Wasim 25, Andre Russell 24n.o, Wanindu Hasaranga 2 for 12)

Player of the Match: Alishan Sharafu of Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

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