Shaheen Afridi's deadly spell of three wickets for 22 runs and breezy knocks from Wanindu Hasaranga and Azam Khan guided Desert Vipers to a six-wicket win over defending champions Gulf Giants at DP World ILT20 Season 2 in Dubai.
The clash of the finalists of the first edition saw Afridi’s spell restrict Giants to 160 for 6 in 20 overs.
Vipers won the match with eight balls to spare through Hasaranga’s 42 off just 19 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. He had put on 57 runs in 33 deliveries for the third wicket with Adam Hose. Khan then hit an unbeaten 26 off 14 balls with three boundaries and a six. He too added 41 runs in 19 balls for the fourth wicket with Hose, who hit a sedate 39 runs off 35 balls with four boundaries.
The win moves Vipers from the bottom of the table to the fourth place.
Vipers skipper Colin Munro hailed Hasaranga and Afridi; “It was a team effort, winning the toss was a big favour. Hasaranga was just brilliant, what a player. When you come up against Gulf Giants, we need to have our plans in place. We have all the analysts in T20 cricket, but what's most important is adapt to what is in front of you. Afridi was outstanding and has so much experience, he knows his skill and executes them really well.”
Giants skipper Vince lauded Hasaranga’s knock. “We started well with the ball, put the pressure on them, but the way Hasaranga came out and batted took the game away from us. We need to tidy up in all facets on the game. We can't afford to have lull periods because quality opposition will make you pay.”
Player of the match Hasaranga said: “I bat at number 7 generally, but today I had a chance up the order so I tried to go on the attack. I like to have that all-rounder tag in front of my name, so happy to perform with the bat as well.”
Gulf Giants 160 for 6 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 63, Jordan Cox 32, Shaheen Afridi 3 for 22)
Desert Vipers 162 for 4 in 18.4 overs (Alex Hales 21, Adam Hose 39, Wanindu Hasaranga 42, Azam Khan 26n.o, Sherfane Rutherford 20n.o)