Abu Dhabi Knight Riders upset Gulf Giants with six-wicket win

ILT20 Media

England’s Michael Pepper’s 59 off 40 balls steered bottom of the table Abu Dhabi Knight Riders to a six-wicket victory against defending champions and third placed Gulf Giants in the 16th match of the DP World ILT20 season 2.

Batting first, Gulf Giants were restricted to 161 for 6 despite Chris Lynn’s 67 off 48 balls with six boundaries and three sixes. He had put on 72 runs in 58 balls for the third wicket with Jordan Cox who hit 21 off 27 balls with one boundary and a six. Lynn also added 39 runs for the fourth wicket with Usman Khan (23). 

Chasing the target, openers Joe Clarke and Pepper gave the Knight Riders the start they needed, recording their 50 run partnership in just 4.1 overs. Mujeeb Ur Rahman stuck in his second over to remove Joe Clarke caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Jamie Smith for 14 to end the 62 runs partnership in 6.1 overs.

Pepper raced to his half century in 33 balls with five boundaries and three sixes. By the 10th over, Knight Riders were at a commanding 100 for 1 needing another 62 runs to win. Six runs later, Mujeeb picked his second wicket to remove Alishan Sharafu caught by Brathwaite at mid-wicket for 11. Richard Gleeson forced Pepper, who went for a pull, to edge the delivery on to his wicket for 59.  

With Knight Riders closing in on victory, needing just 31 runs to win in 24 balls, play was interrupted by rain.

When the match resumed, Russell hit a quick unbeaten 30 off just 13 balls with three sixes, and along with Sam Hain (17 n.o.), propelled their team to victory with 10 balls to spare.

Winning captain Sunil Narine said, “We ticked a lot of boxes. Started with picking up wickets in the powerplay, it sets the tone. We’re getting a bit of momentum, still a bit too close for comfort, we need to win by bigger margins. But a win is a win and we’ll take it.”

Player of the Match, Pepper, said that not losing wickets in the powerplay helped his team. “It’s important to always have to take the aggressive option while batting in the powerplay. It’s the best time to bat, pace on the ball and you have to just go for it. Not losing wickets in the powerplay is crucial.”

A disappointed Gulf Giants captain Vince said: "I thought we actually had a par score. But obviously the start wasn't ideal, with them being 60 for none inside the powerplay. It put us behind the game, and even though we pulled it back a bit at the end it was always going to be difficult. They bowled pretty well at the end.”

The victory lifted Knight Riders to third, while Giants slipped to fourth.

Final scores:

Gulf Giants 161 for 6 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 67, Jordan Cox 21, Usman Khan 23, Andre Russell 2 for 39, Imad Wasim 2 for 31)
Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 164 for 4 in 20 overs (Michael Pepper 59, Andre Russell 30n.o, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2 for 31)

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