Dubai, Feb 10 (IANS) Skipper James Vince struck 50 off 39 balls (5×4, 1×6) while Jordan Cox hammered 57 runs off 38 balls as Gulf Giants pulled off a hard-fought three-run win over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the 28th Match of the ILT20 season 2 at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on Saturday.
Vince and Cox shared a 103-run opening partnership backed by Shimron Hetmyer’s unbeaten 39 off 27 balls with five boundaries giving 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. The Giants will now take on MI Emirates in 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 followed, 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.
Earlier, second-placed Gulf Giants won the toss and elected to bat against the third-placed Abu Dhabi Knight Riders. Giants skipper and consistent scorer, James Vince, escaped being caught at his score of 1 when he top-edged David Willey to Alishan Sharafu at deep point. His partner, Jordan Cox, hit a boundary and two consecutive sixes off Josh Little, and the pair put on a 50-run partnership in 5.3 overs. Cox was the first to reach his half-century in 28 balls with two boundaries and four sixes. In the first ten overs, the Giants scored 85 runs, and the pair also posted their 100-run partnership in 11.3 overs.
Vince reached his half-century in 38 balls but fell to the next delivery when Sagar Kalyan took a running and diving catch at backward square leg off Imad Wasim. Cox too fell soon, lifting Ali Khan to Little at long on. Chris Lynn and Shimron Hetmyer, the two other fine hitters in the Giants team, came together wanting to capitalize on the good start. Ali Khan struck again to force Lynn to smash straight into the hands of Narine at covers for 6.
Between the 10th and 15th overs, the Giants could only score 38 runs and lost three wickets. Hetmyer, on 17, was dropped by Jason Roy at mid-off by Little, and he, along with Jamie Smith, steered the total to the 150-mark in 18.1 overs. In the last five overs, the Giants scored 43 runs, losing only one wicket.
Gulf Giants 166/3 in 20 overs (James Vince 50, Jordan Cox 57, Shimron Hetmyer 39n.o, Ali Khan 2-39) beat Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 163/9 in 20 overs (Jason Roy 47, Joe Clarke 20, Alishan Sharafu 29, Laurie Evans 34n.o, Jamie Overton 3-32, Chris Jordan 2-22) by three runs.