Desert Vipers produced an impressive all-round performance to defeat Sharjah Warriors by six wickets in their final league match of the ILT20 2024 at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday, February 11.

The Vipers rode on a brilliant bowling performance to restrict the Warriors to 121/9 after the match was reduced to 18 overs a side due to rain. Later, Philip Salt’s 30 off 12 balls, Colin Munro’s 20-ball 27 and Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten 24 helped the Vipers chase down the target with 31 balls to spare. 

Earlier, captain Munro won the toss and opted to field in Sharjah.

Star all-rounder Sam Curran provided an early breakthrough as he got the massive wicket of opposition captain Tom Kohler-Cadmore (4) in the fourth over of the game.

In the very next ball, Daniel Lawrence joined the party as he cleaned up opener Niroshan Dickwella (20) to reduce the Warriors to 25/2.

The Vipers continued to pick wickets in the middle overs as right-arm off-spinner Nathan Sowter removed Martin Guptill (11) and Joe Denly (2) in his back-to-back overs.

Struggling at 65/4, Sean Williams joined Luke Wells at the crease. The pair added 25 runs for the fifth wicket before Sowter dismissed Wells (31).

Williams’ short stay also came to an end as he fell to Matheesha Pathirana for 23 in the 16th over.

Curran later bagged his second wicket of the match as he got rid of Daniel Sams (15). 

Meanwhile, Pathirana bowled brilliantly in the death overs to claim the wickets of Mark Watt (2) and Adil Rashid (0) to restrict the Warriors to a below-par total.

Ahead of the chase, the Vipers drafted in Alex Hales as their super sub in place of Mohammad Amir.

Chasing 122, the Vipers got off to a flying start courtesy of their openers Salt and Hales.

The swashbuckling duo slammed the Warriors’ bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Salt and Hales brought the Vipers’ fifty in just 3.4 overs before the former departed for a blitzkrieg 12-ball 30.

Despite Salt’s dismissal, Hales and Lawrence continued their attacking approach to put the pressure on the bowlers.

However, the Vipers then suffered double blows as Lawrence (7) and Hales (21) perished in quick succession.

The Vipers’ debutant Chandimal joined skipper Munro at the crease. The pair later stitched a crucial partnership to notch up the Vipers’ hundred in 10.1 overs. 

Munro (27) and Chandimal (24) added a scintillating 50-run partnership before the Vipers’ captain departed after an unfortunate run-out.

Batting at number six, Curran later clobbered a match-winning six in the 13th over to help the Vipers finish the T20 tournament on a high.

Despite a difficult season, the Vipers will take plenty of positives and aim to bounce back stronger in the upcoming edition of the ILT20.

Brief Scores

Sharjah Warriors 121/9 in 18 overs (Luke Wells 31, Sean Williams 23; Nathan Sowter 3/21) lost to Desert Vipers 123/4 in 12.5 overs (Philip Salt 30, Colin Munro 27; Junaid Siddique 2/16) by 6 wickets