ILT20 Season 2: MI Emirates storm into playoffs with 30-run triumph over Desert Vipers

MI Emirates continued to reign supreme in the ILT20 Season 2, registering a resounding 30-run victory against the Desert Vipers at the Zayed Cricket Stadium to become the first team to secure the berth in the playoffs.

MI Emirates continued to reign supreme in the ILT20 Season 2, registering a resounding 30-run victory against the Desert Vipers at the Zayed Cricket Stadium to become the first team to secure the berth in the playoffs.

Completing their sixth victory in eight matches, the MI Emirates asserted themselves with a first-innings score of 188/5 buoyed by an elegant knock of 65 by Kusal Perera and a late-innings assault from Nicholas Pooran (39). Ambati Rayudu also produced impeccable value for this team with a hard-fought stint that earned 44 runs.

The Desert Vipers run chase never found momentum, encumbered by the clinical bowling of the MI Emirates, they lost wickets at frequent intervals, including five in the Powerplay. Fazalhaq Farooqi was the pick of the Emirates’ bowling attack with impressive figures of 4/31. His four overs scripted the dismissals of Colin Munro, Adam Hose, Azam Khan and Luke Wood to limit the Desert Vipers to 158/8 in 20 overs.

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Invited to bat first, MI Emirates began with a lucrative powerplay despite the loss of two wickets. Kusal Perera made his intent crystal clear, scoring 31 off just 18 deliveries in the first six overs. While Muhammad Waseem and Andre Fletcher both departed with minimal impact, scalped by Mohd Amir and Nathan Sowter respectively, to leave the MI Emirates at 61/2 by the end of the powerplay.

As Rayudu joined Perera, the duo constructed a partnership of 75 runs. Serving as the aggressor in the partnership Perera brought up his half-century in just 31 deliveries. In the 16th over, Perera was caught at deep mid-wicket off Wanindu Hasaranga’s delivery.

The same over saw Nicholas Pooran stamp his authority from the very first ball, striking Hasaranga for two consecutive sixes to begin his innings. Meanwhile, Rayudu endeavoured to break the shackles, but the big hits eluded him. He departed for 44 runs at the hands of Mohd. Amir in the 18th over.

Luke Wood, tasked with bowling the 19th over was bested by Nicholas Pooran, who hammered two sixes and two fours to complete a 22-run over. Pooran’s exploits were finally halted when a lethal yorker from Matheesha Pathirana broke his middle stump in the final over the innings that only conceded 3 runs. The MI Emirates, however, managed a strong finish to conclude the innings at 188/5 in 20 overs.

In response the Desert Vipers had a tempestuous start, losing four wickets in the powerplay. Rohan Mustafa fell to spinner Akeal Hosein, as early as the first over while Alex Hales was dismissed by Trent Boult in the fourth over. The Desert Vipers conundrum compounded when Fazalhaq Farooqi was brought into action to dismiss Adam Hose and Colin Munro.

The in-form Azam Khan looked dangerous as he blitzed his way to 19 runs in just 10 deliveries, including three fours and a six, but he also fell to Fazalhaq Farooqi in the sixth over, to leave the Desert Vipers languishing at 38/5 by the end of the powerplay.

The Desert Vipers continued to spiral out of control as Wanindu Hasaranga was the next man to depart, falling to Waqar Salamkheil for just 9 runs in the seventh over. UAE’s Ali Naseer and Sherfane Rutherford worked to salvage a respectable outcome as the pair combined to put on 38 runs before Rutherford was dismissed by Odean Smith in the 12th over with the score at 82/7.

As Luke Wood joined Ali Naseer, the Desert Vipers needed a steep 107 runs in 48 deliveries. While the Viper ultimately fell short of the target by 30 runs, Ali Naseer put on an exceptional display reaching his half-century in 42 balls and Luke Wood chipped in with 30 runs before, he was Farooqi’s fourth scalp of the night in the 20th over. The Desert Vipers finished at 158/8.

Brief scores:

MI Emirates 188/5 in 20 overs (Kusal Perera 65, Ambati Rayudu 44, Nicholas Pooran 39, Mohd Amir 2-29) beat Desert Vipers 158/8 in 20 overs (Ali Naseer 63 n.o, Luke Wood 30, Azam Khan 19, Fazalhaq Farooqi 4-31) by 30 runs.

(IANS)

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