Carlos Brathwaite’s 3/19 followed by Chris Lynn’s unbeaten 72 off 50 balls set up the title victory of Gulf Giants in the inaugural edition of the International League T20 (ILT20). Chasing 147 against Desert Vipers, they crossed the finish line with seven wickets in hand and eight balls to spare.
The Giants won the toss and opted to bowl first. Brathwaite, sharing the new ball with Colin de Grandhomme, vindicated the decision with his first delivery by pouching Alex Hales, the highest run-scorer in the tournament. The Vipers’ innings struggled to get back on track from thereon. They 44/4 in 8.3 overs when the skipper Colin Munro presented a catch back to Chris Jordan.
Wanindu Hasaranga stepped up with the bat in these grim times. He added 72 of 37 balls for the fifth wicket with Sam Billings. Hasaranga was the senior partner in the partnership, contributing 55 off only 27 balls. However, both Hasaranga and Billings (31 off 29 balls) were dismissed in quick succession which derailed the Vipers again. In the end, they were restricted to a modest total of 146/8.
“The first seven-eight overs with the bat [where they lost the game]. They bowled really well. Credit to the Giants and they have been the form team. They beat us twice in the group stage and they were a bit better team tonight,” Munro said after the defeat.
For the Giants, alongside Brathwaite’s 3/19, Qais Ahmed picked 2/29 while de Grandhomme and Jordan grabbed a wicket each (1/18 and 1/30 respectively).
3️⃣0️⃣ 𝗗𝗮𝘆𝘀, 3️⃣4️⃣ 𝗠𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀, 6️⃣ 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺𝘀, 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀...— Gulf Giants 🦅 (@GulfGiants) February 12, 2023
𝗧𝗵𝗲 #𝗚𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗖.𝗛.𝗔.𝗠.𝗣.𝗜.𝗢.𝗡.𝗦. 🧡🏆#ILT20Final #DVvGG #ALeagueApart #DPWorldILT20 #Cricket #Adani #BringItOn @ILT20Official pic.twitter.com/XIoAPZm1rH
The Vipers had a promising start in their pursuit of defending 146. In the fifth over, they had the Giants 26/2, including the prized scalp of James Vince, the second highest run-scorer in the tournament and the one who played a clinical knock of 83* in the previous game. That is when Gerhard Erasmus and Chris Lynn dug in.
The duo forged a crucial stand, adding 73 runs for the third wicket. It came at a slow pace - 63 balls - but was perfect for the target. Lynn, especially, curbed his natural instinct but kept finding crucial boundaries to end up with a strike-rate of 144 despite remaining unbeaten throughout the innings. After Erasmus went back for 30 off 33 balls, Lynn and Shimron Hetmyer (25* off 13 balls).
Luke Wood, Tom Curran and Hasaranga picked a wicket each but the Vipers needed quick wickets and none of their bowlers were penetrative enough.
Brahwaite won the Player of the Match award. Chris Jordan, meanwhile, was the Most Valuable Player alongside being the highest wicket-taker (20 wickets, 13.8 average, 7.4 economy). MI Emirates’ Muhammad Waseem was adjudged the best UAE Player of the Tournament.
(Cover images credits: @ILT20Official/Twitter)