Chris Lynn’s stubborn unbeaten 72 backed by Gerhard Erasmus’s elegant 30 runs and Shimron Hetmyer’s timely and aggressive unbeaten 25 runs helped Adani Gulf Giants emerge as the champions of the inaugural DP World ILT20 beating Desert Vipers by seven wickets in the final at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday night. In front of a packed stadium, Gulf Giants restricted Desert Vipers to 146 for 8 in 20 overs through Carlos Brathwaite’s fine three-wicket spell and then produced an electrifying finish to the first edition of the DP World ILT20.
It was a pulsating chase to the target cheered by a large Sunday crowd, who created an electrifying atmosphere in the stadium. Lynn sparkled under the Ring of Fire through his unconquered 72 runs, which came off 50 balls with nine boundaries and one six. He added 73 runs in 62 balls along with Erasmus, who hit 30 off 33 balls for the third wicket. He then added an unbeaten 50-run partnership off 25 balls with Hetmyer for the fourth wicket. Hetmyer eased Gulf Giants’ pressure of chasing through his unbeaten 25 off 13 balls with five boundaries.
Desert Vipers failed to post a big total despite Wanindu Hasaranga’s 55 off 27 balls with six boundaries and two sixes. Sam Billings too had chipped in with 31 off 29 balls with three boundaries. The pair had put on 72 runs in 37 balls for the fifth wicket. The chief destroyers of Desert Vipers’ innings were Carlos Brathwaite (3 for 19) and Qais Ahmad (2 for 29).
Gulf Giants won the toss and promptly elected to bowl. Desert Vipers’ opener Rohan Mustafa bravely stepped out and smashed Colin de Grandhomme through extra cover for a boundary. His opening partner Alex Hales fell to the first ball of the second over from Carlos Brathwaite, caught by James Vince at mid-off for 1. In the same over Mustafa too got run out in the fifth ball. As an appeal for leg before was being turned down, Mustafa tried to steal a single but an alert Qais Ahmad at point passed the ball to bowler Brathwaite, who ran him out for 6.
Adam Lyth pulled Grandhomme to Brathwaite after a run-a-ball 13. Skipper Colin Munro walked in with his team struggling at 25 for 3 in 4.3 overs. Grandhomme produced a wicket maiden and the powerplay yielded just 30 runs. Sam Billings then reverse swept Qais Ahmed for a boundary in the eighth over while Munro departed in the ninth over falling to Chris Jordan’s slower delivery resulting in a brilliant one-handed caught and bowled for 6.
Wanindu Hasaranga picked two boundaries off Qais Ahmad, and by the halfway mark, the score read 62 for 4. Billings hit David Wiese for two consecutive boundaries. In the 12th over Hasaranga also hit consecutive boundaries off Sanchit Sharma. He hit the last ball of that over for a boundary as well. In the 14th over, Hasaranga hit Wiese’s first delivery for a huge six over cow corner into the packed stands and pulled the third delivery for another six over mid-wicket to reach his half-century in 21 balls.
Brathwaite provided the breakthrough in the 15th over, having Billings caught at mid-off by Wiese who had to run back for the catch. It was a one-handed blinder of a catch and despite tumbling, he ensured the ball did not drop off. The pair had put on 72 runs in 37 balls. Hasaranga then followed at his score on 55 falling to the first ball of the 16th over with Wiese at long-off pulling off another catch. This sank Desert Vipers’ hopes of a big score. Qais Ahmed then removed Luke Wood for 3 and Tom Curran was not allowed to play his big shots with Brathwaite clean bowling him for 13. In the end, Desert Vipers could not even cross the 150-run mark.
The tale of the chase
Gulf Giants began their chase with opener and skipper James Vince, fresh from his match-winning unbeaten knock of 83 against MI Emirates, going for his shots. He hit Gus Atkinson’s fourth ball off the second over for a superb six over fine leg. Opener Chris Lynn too picked a boundary off Sheldon Cottrell. Vince also lifted Luke Wood for a straight boundary. When it looked like Vince had settled down for a big knock, Wood forced him to edge to wicket-keeper Sam Billing while attempting to steer the ball down to third man for 14. Curran, who replaced Cottrell, had Grandhomme clean bowled for 1. At the end of the powerplay, Gulf Giants were 34 for 2, four runs more than Desert Vipers at this stage who had lost three wickets.
Gerhard Erasmus and Lynn then began the repair work. They prevented Hasaranga and Curran from making inroads. Lynn even swept Hasaranga over backward square leg for a six and took 13 runs of the ninth over. Erasmus too hit Atkinson for a six over backward point to take 12 runs off the tenth over. By the halfway mark, Gulf Giants needed another 73 runs. Hasaranga fought back giving away only four runs from the 11th over. Cottrell was re-introduced for the 12th over and although he yielded only five runs, he gained no success. Atkinson, who replaced Hasaranga, was pulled for a boundary by Lynn and ten runs scored off it.
The match inched towards an exciting finish when at the score on 99, Erasmus stepped out and lifted Hasaranga into the hands of Curran at long-on for 30 when 48 runs were needed off 33 balls. All eyes now turned towards the aggressive Shimron Hetmyer. Lynn reached his half-century in 39 balls. Hetmyer hit Wood for two consecutive boundaries while Lynn too hit two consecutive boundaries off the fourth and fifth deliveries to take 18 runs off that over and reduce the margin to a gettable 24 off 18 balls.
Hetmyer took the game totally away from Desert Vipers smashing Curran for three consecutive boundaries. Lynn ultimately hit the winning boundary of the tournament.
Speaking about their victory, Gulf Giants’ captain James Vince said, “We set the tone brilliantly with the ball when we reduced them to 25 for three. The pressure was well and truly on them. We couldn’t have got off to a better start. Hasaranga fought back in the middle, but we managed to dismiss him. Chris Lynn showed his class and maturity to see the game through for us along with Hetmyer in the end.”
Meanwhile, Desert Vipers’ captain Colin Munro said, “I thought we were 20 runs short. We didn’t adapt to the conditions well at the start of the game. Full credit to the Giants. They assessed the conditions better than us. We were beaten by a better team tonight. It was a good game of cricket, but unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of the result.”
Gulf Giants bt Desert Vipers by 7 wkts. Desert Vipers 146 for 8 in 20 overs (Sam Billings 31, Wanindu Hasaranga 55, Carlos Brathwaite 3 for 19, Qais Ahmad 2 for 29) Gulf Giants 149 for 3 in 18.4 overs (Chris Lynn 72, Gerhard Erasmus 30, Shimron Hetmyer 25n.o)
Player of the Match ($1500): Carlos Brathwaite
DP World smart delivery of the match ($1500): Tom Curran to Colin de Grandhomme
Fairplay News biggest hit of the match ($1500): Wanindu Hasaranga’s six of 90 mts.
Skyexch.Net Super 4s of the match ($1500): Chris Lynn (9 boundaries)
Sportsbuzz 11 Buzzmaker of the match ($1500): Wanindu Hasaranga
DP World Smart Bowler ($15,000): Tom Curran
Fairplay News biggest hit ($15,000): Colin Munro’s six of 106mts
Skyexch.Net Super 4s ($15,000: Alex Hales for hitting 43 boundaries
Sportsbuzz 11 Buzzmaker ($15,000): Alex Hales
Green Belt winner: ($15,000): Alex Hales (469 runs)
White Belt winner: ($15,000): Chris Jordan (20 wickets)
Red Belt winner: ($15,000): – Most Valuable Player – Chris Jordan
Blue Belt winner: ($15,000): – Most Valuable UAE Player – Muhammad Waseem
Black (Championship) Belt: – Adani family (award collected by Satyam Trivedi – Head – Adani Sportsline)
The DP World ILT20 received an excellent reception on television as well as on digital during the month-long competition. Over 200 million fans tuned in to the DP World ILT20 live broadcast on ZEE’s linear channels, digital platform, Zee5 as well as Zee Cinema SD, Zee Cinema HD, Zee Anmol Cinema, &Pictures HD, &Flix SD, &Flix HD, Zee Zest SD, Zee Zest HD, Zee Bangla Cinema, Zee Thirai. The tournament was also seen on CricLife across the UAE and MENA regions.
Along with the fantastic cricket on display, the fans also enjoyed several games, food trucks and live performances at the Playoffs festival. The exciting carnival was held at the Dubai International Stadium on 8 February, 10 February and at the final on 12 February 2023.
The DP World ILT20 came to an end after 34 matches where Gulf Giants defeated Desert Vipers in the final. The tournament was played across the UAE at the exemplary, world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Franchise teams, comprising over 100 International and 24 UAE-based players, included Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Knight Riders Group), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).