Desert Vipers rode on an impressive bowling performance followed by Sherfane Rutherford’s blitzkrieg knock to beat MI Emirates by two wickets in a thrilling International League T20 (ILT20) 2024 encounter at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, January 30.

Star pacer Mohammad Amir bagged three wickets while Luke Wood and Matheesha Pathirana scalped two wickets each to restrict MI Emirates to 149/9 in their 20 overs. In reply, Sherfane Rutherford’s quick-fire 35 along with contributions from Wanindu Hasaranga (26), Azam Khan (20), Rohan Mustafa (18) and Shaheen Afridi (17 not out) guided the Vipers to a dramatic win in Dubai. 

Earlier, Desert Vipers captain Colin Munro won the toss and opted to field first. 

The Vipers got off to a brilliant start as star left-arm pacer Amir dismissed opener Kusal Perera in the second ball of the game.

Andre Fletcher joined Muhammad Waseem at the crease. The MI Emirates duo added 33 runs for the second wicket before Luke Wood removed Waseem for 19.

Wood continued his impressive form as he cleaned up Fletcher (18) in the sixth over.

Young Matheesha Pathirana then inflicted more misery on MI Emirates as he bagged the crucial wicket of opposition skipper Nicholas Pooran (17) courtesy of a sensational catch by Ali Naseer.

Reeling at 58/4, Ambati Rayadu and Akeal Hosein later forged a crucial partnership for MI Emirates.

In the 15th over, Pathirana deceived Hosein (24) with a slower delivery to end their 49-run stand.

The Vipers continued to pick wickets at regular intervals as Shaheen Afridi removed Rayadu (23) in the very next over.

Batting at number seven, Tim David showed some resistance as he slammed two fours and two sixes.

Amir then produced an impactful final over as he dismissed David (28), and Trent Boult (0) followed by a run-out to restrict MI Emirates to 149/9 in their 20 overs. 

In reply, Rohan Mustafa was promoted up the order to open the innings with Alex Hales.

Mustafa took the attack to the opposition as he clobbered Boult for two fours and one six.

Despite a decent start, the Vipers suffered massive blows as Mustafa (18), Hales (3), Adam Hose (0) and Munro (4) departed in quick succession inside the powerplay. 

Flamboyant wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan walked into bat and quickly hammered Fazalhaq Farooqi for back-to-back fours to provide some momentum. Hasaranga also joined the party as he played some scintillating shots.

Hasaranga and Azam added 34 runs before the latter fell to Rohid Khan for a 12-ball 20.

In the 12th over, the Vipers lost their sixth wicket as Hasaranga departed for 26.

Sherfane Rutherford joined Ali Naseer at the crease. The two southpaws added 18 runs before Naseer perished for 14.

Meanwhile, Rutherford played an incredible knock as he slammed a few exquisite shots to keep the Vipers in the game.

The Caribbean batter’s blitzkrieg 35 off 22 balls came to an end as he fell to Dwayne Bravo. 

In the final few overs, Afridi and Wood played some smart cricket as they stitched a match-winning 21-run stand to guide the Vipers to their second win of the tournament.

With the win, the Vipers jumped to fifth in the standings with four points from five matches.

Last season’s finalists will now aim to continue their winning momentum against Dubai Capitals in their upcoming fixture at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Brief Scores

MI Emirates 149/9 in 20 overs (Tim David 28, Akeal Hosein 24, Mohammad Amir 3/26) lost to Desert Vipers 150/8 in 20 overs (Sherfane Rutherford 35, Wanindu Hasaranga 26, Muhammad Rohid Khan 3/21) by two wickets