Desert Vipers went down by seven runs against Sharjah Warriors in their International League T20 (ILT20) 2024 encounter at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday, January 28.

Luke Wood and Wanindu Hasaranga bagged three-wicket hauls to restrict Sharjah Warriors to 174/7 in their 20 overs. In reply, Alex Hales’ impressive fifty went in vain as the Vipers fell short by just a few runs.

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

The Vipers got off to a brilliant start as left-arm fast bowler Luke Wood dismissed both of Warriors’ opening batters, Niroshan Dickwella (5) and Johnson Charles (6), in the second over of the game.

The Warriors’ skipper Tom Kohler-Cadmore joined Martin Guptill at the crease. The duo stitched a crucial partnership for the third wicket to put the pressure back on the Vipers’ bowlers as Kohler-Cadmore brought up his fifty off just 26 balls.

In the 11th over, Wood later provided the much-needed breakthrough for the Vipers as he removed Kohler-Cadmore (68) to end a 101-run stand.

Following Kohler-Cadmore’s dismissal, Joe Denly and Guptill (39) added 26 runs together before Shaheen Afridi got the massive wicket of the Kiwi batter in the 15th over.

Wanindu Hasaranga then bamboozled the Warriors’ batters as he got three wickets in the very next over. The star leg-spinner banished Daniel Sams (1), Lewis Gregory (0) and Basil Hameed (0) to bring the Vipers back into the game.

In the final few overs, Chris Woakes and Denly added crucial runs to help the Warriors post 174/7 in their 20 overs.

Ahead of the chase, the Vipers brought in Alex Hales as their impact sub. 

However, last season’s finalists got off to a challenging start as Munro departed in the first over.

Adam Hose later walked into bat and forged a decent 26-run stand with Hales before he fell to Muhammad Jawadullah.

Despite losing Hose, Hales played some counter-attacking cricket as he slammed Mark Watt for 14 runs in the next over.

Meanwhile, the Vipers suffered huge blows as Hasaranga (6) and Rohan Mustafa (14) were dismissed in quick succession.

Struggling at 68/4, wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan joined Hales at the crease.

Hales and Azam took the attack to the opposition as they played some scintillating shots to bring up the Vipers’ hundred in the 12th over. The English hard-hitting batter notched up his brilliant half-century in 37 balls. 

Looking to up the ante, Hales later departed for 61. His knock included three fours and five sixes.

While Azam continued his attacking approach, the Vipers lost Sherfane Rutherford in the 16th over. Azam’s 22-ball 35 also soon came to an end after an unfortunate run-out.

Shaheen Afridi (14 not out) and Shadab Khan (11 not out) later fought hard in the final few overs, but the Vipers lost the game by seven runs.

The Vipers will now look to quickly turn things around when they lock horns with MI Emirates at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, January 30.

Brief Scores

Sharjah Warriors 174/7 in 20 overs (Tom Kohler-Cadmore 68, Martin Guptill 39, Wanindu Hasaranga 3/30) beat Desert Vipers 167/7 in 20 overs (Alex Hales 61, Azam Khan 35, Chris Woakes 2/26) by 7 runs