UAE fast bowler Sanchit Sharma lit up the Zayed Cricket Stadium with a brilliant performance (3-9) as the Gulf Giants defeated Abu Dhabi Knight Riders by six wickets in the third match of the International League T20, here on Sunday.
Sharma’s excellent outing helped the Giants restrict the Knight Riders to 114 for nine. Thereafter, the Gulf Giants captain James Vince led from the front with 65 runs from 44 balls as his team chased their target in 14.1 overs.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders couldn’t get their innings going right from the onset. Sanchit Sharma bowled out Colin Ingram for 7 runs off 10 balls in the fourth over and he picked up two wickets in successive deliveries dismissing Brandon King and Connor Esterhuizen.
Liam Dawson also joined the party in the eighth over as he sent Paul Stirling packing for a run-a-ball 20, which left the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders reeling at 34 for 4.
Andre Russell tried to take centre stage with a couple of boundaries and sixes, however, his innings was short-lived as he was bowled out by Chris Jordan for 26 runs from 12 balls leaving the Knight Riders at 66 for 6 in the 12th over.
Captain Sunil Narine smashed Rehan Ahmed for a maximum on the first delivery of the 13th over, but he was on his way back to the pavilion in the very next over when David Wiese got him out caught for 11 runs off 11 deliveries.
The Knight Riders found the fence only on two occasions following Narine’s departure. Zawar Farid struck Jordan for a six in the 18th over and he followed that up with a boundary off Richard Gleeson in the next over.
Jordan bowled an excellent final over, dismissing Zawar Farid for 19 runs off 24 balls as the Knight Riders managed just 114 for 9 in their stipulated 20 overs.
Even though the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders had a relatively low total on the board, Ravi Rampaul kept his team’s hopes alive by getting an early wicket. He dismissed Rehan Ahmed for 7 runs from 9 balls in the third over. But all those hopes were shattered when captain James Vince smashed Rampaul for two fours and a six in the fifth over, taking the Giants to 40 for 1.
Thereafter, Ollie Pope also upped the ante as he struck Matiullah Khan for two boundaries in the sixth over. Vince continued to showcase top and brought up his half-century following consecutive sixes off Akeal Hosein in the ninth over.
However, the Knight Riders captain Narine ended Vince and Pope’s 75-run stand when he bowled out Vince for 65 runs from 44 balls and Pope for 18 runs from 18 balls in the 12th over.
Gerhard Erasmus also fell on the first delivery of the 13th over, but the wickets came a little too late as the Giants were just 20 runs away from their target at 95 for four. Shimron Hetmyer smashed a maximum off Akeal Hosein as the Giants wrapped up their chase in just 14.1 overs.
“I am very happy with my performance. This is a dream start for me. I took three big wickets — opener, number three and number four batters. Those wickets set the game up for us. I bowled with the new ball in the practice games, so I was sure that I would take the new ball in today’s game,” said Sanchit after the win.
Brief scores: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 114/9 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 26, Paul Stirling 20, Sanchit Sharma 3-9, Chris Jordan 3-28) lost to Gulf Giants 115/4 in 14.1 overs (James Vince 65, Sunil Narine 2-21) by six wickets.