Desert Vipers suffered an early setback as they lost to Abu Dhabi Knight Riders by six wickets in their opening match of ILT20 2024 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, January 21.

Adam Hose’s 45 off 30 balls and Wanindu Hasaranga’s 20-ball 24 powered the Vipers to 164/8 in their 20 overs. In reply, wicketkeeper-batter Andries Gous’ unbeaten 95 guided the Knight Riders to their first ILT20 2024 win in Dubai.

Earlier, the Knight Riders captain Sunil Narine won the toss and put the Vipers into bat. 

Skipper Colin Munro and his opening partner Alex Hales got the Vipers off to a blitzkrieg start. Munro slammed ADKR pacer David Willey for back-to-back boundaries in the first over. He continued his quick-fire start as he clobbered left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for a huge six and later smashed another four in the same over.

At the other end, Alex Hales hit consecutive boundaries before he was dismissed by Willey for 11.

Dan Lawrence soon joined Munro at the crease. Despite losing his opening partner, Munro looked in great touch as he hammered Willey for his third boundary.  

In the fifth over, the Viper suffered a massive blow as Munro perished to fast bowler Joshua Little for a 12-ball 22.

Following Munro’s dismissal, flamboyant top-order batter Adam Hose came into bat. 

Hose quickly got off the mark with an eye-catching boundary off Little. Lawrence also joined the party as he slog sweeped Wasim for a massive six. 

Lawrence and Hose added 25 runs for the third wicket before the former fell to Wasim for 19. 

With the score reading 69/3 in 7.2 overs, Sri Lanka all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga walked into bat. 

Hasaranga and Hose later steadied the ship for the Vipers as they forged a brilliant partnership.

Having faced just his seventh delivery, Hasaranga took the early initiative as he slog sweeped Wasim for a maximum over cow corner. 

Meanwhile, Hose took Irish pacer Little to cleaners in the 12th over. The right-handed batter pulled Litte for a 86 meter six and later followed it up with two boundaries to accumulate 16 runs off the over.

Hose and Hasaranga stitched a 57-run stand before the England cricketer fell to Ali Khan. He scored 45 off 30 balls, laced with four fours and one six.

In the 15th over, Narine brought the Knight Riders back into the game as he dismissed Hasaranga (24) and Sherfane Rutherford (0).

In desperate need of a partnership, Rohan Mustafa joined Bas de Leede at the crease. The duo played sensibly as they added 24 runs for the seventh wicket.

While de Leede (14) and Mohammad Amir (4) departed in the final over, Mustafa (13) and wicketkeeper-batter Tanish Suri (5 not out) powered the Vipers to 164/8 in their 20 overs.

Defending 164, star pacer Sheldon Cottrell provided the early breakthrough as he sent Alishan Sharafu (1) back to the pavilion in the second over. 

However, ADKR wicketkeeper-batter Andries Gous and Michael-Kyle Pepper later played counter-attacking cricket as the duo produced some great shots to put the pressure back on the bowlers.

Despite their best efforts, the Vipers bowlers failed to break the partnership as Gous and Pepper forged a 50-run stand.

In the 10th over, DV left-arm pacer Tymal Mills got the much-needed breakthrough as he deceived Pepper with a slower delivery. Pepper departed for 36.

Later, Lawrence cleaned up Sam Hain to bring the Vipers back into the game.

With 73 runs needed off 59 balls, Laurie Evans walked into bat. Gous, at the other end, continued his scintillating knock.

Gous and Evans forged a match-winning 71-run partnership for the fourth wicket to take the Knight Riders closer to victory.

While Evan perished for 21, Andries Gous’ unbeaten 95 guided the Knight Riders to a six-wicket victory.

With a hard-fought defeat in their opening fixture, the Vipers will aim to bounce back when they square off against defending champions Gulf Giants in a rematch of last season’s final in their upcoming fixture at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, January 24.   

Brief Scores

Desert Vipers 164/8 in 20 overs (Adam Hose 45, Wanindu Hasaranga 24, Ali Khan 3/29) lost to Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 166/4 in 17.4 overs (Andries Gous 95*, Michael-Kyle Pepper 36, Tymal Mills 2/21) by six wickets