Abu Dhabi Knight Riders seal commanding 29-run victory over Dubai Capitals

David WilleyAbu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Knight Riders emerged triumphant with a 29-run victory against the Dubai Capitals in the 20th match of the DP World ILT20 season 2 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Powered by belligerent knocks by Michael Pepper who gave the run rate a big boost early in the innings and Andre Russel’s display of power-hitting in the death overs, the Knight Riders posted an impressive total of 183/10. In response the Dubai Capitals fell short of their target, ending their outing at 154/8.

Steering the Dubai Capitals run chase, David Warner and Jason Holder scored 42 runs each, but the lack of support around them and a shrewd display by the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders’ bowling unit saw the Capitals’ run chase fizzle out. Abu Dhabi’s David Willey, Sunil Narine and Imad Wasim were exceptional with the ball picking up two wickets each.

David Willey delivered a comprehensive Player of the Match performance with an impactful knock of 26 runs in 18 balls while denting the Capitals’ top order with the crucial wickets of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Sam Billings.

Invited to bat first, the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders had an explosive start, led by Michael Pepper who hit two sixes and a four off medium pacer Scott Kuggeleijn in the third over. However, Pepper was dismissed LBW by Roelof van der Merwe in the fifth over with the score at 40/1. The Knight Riders struggled to maintain momentum as Kuggeleijn took the wickets of Alishan Sharifu and Sagar Kalyan, while Akif Raja dismissed Joe Clarke after a stunning catch by Sam Billings.

Sam Hain and Laurie Evans came together with the scoreline at 63/4 in the eighth over. Laurie Evans looked to be in fine form as he cracked four boundaries for his score of 23 before he became Akif Raja’s second wicket of the night in the 12th over. Meanwhile, Sam Hain failed to convert his start of 15 runs, perishing to a hard length delivery by Dushmantha Chameera in the 14th over leaving the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at 111/7

The hard-hitting Andre Russell gave the innings a much-needed impetus when he smashed Jason Holder for 31 runs in the 17th over including three sixes and two fours. However, Russell’s quick-fire knock of 41 runs in 16 balls crashed when he was deceived by a wide slower ball from Dushmantha Chameera. In the dying embers of the innings, Willey played a critical cameo to remain unbeaten on 26 runs and help steer the Knight Riders to an impressive total of 183 runs in 20 overs.

In response the Dubai Capital found themselves in hot water, early in the innings. Within the first five overs they only managed 25 runs for the loss of three wickets. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Sam Billings were dismissed by David Willey while Ben Dunk fell to Joshua Little. However, David Warner looked menacing as he struck 18 runs of Joshua Little in the final over of the powerplay to bring the Capitals to 39/3.

Soon after, the experienced Imad Wasim scalped Sikandar Raza for a meagre score of 11 in the eighth over, while Rovman Powell scored only one run before he was flumoxed by Sunil Narine in the very next over. While the wickets tumbled around him David Warner soldiered on to find boundaries frequently, but his efforts were derailed when Imad Wasim picked up his wicket in the twelfth over.

With the Dubai Capitals needing 107 runs in 48 balls with only three wickets remaining, the equation seemed to be insurmountable. Jason Holder found his form to provide the Capitals with a glimmer of hope. He blazed his way to score 41 runs in only 21 balls, including three sixes, but his knock was solely consolatory as he fell to Andre Russel in the 17th over.

Scott Kuggeleijn displayed his ability with the bat to strike 22 runs in just 10 balls, while Roelof van der Merwe chipped in with 19 runs, but the Dubai Capitals’ innings came to a close at 154/8 in 20 overs.

Speaking on the victory, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders skipper, Sunil Narine said, “The way we started with the bat in the powerplay, could have been better. Thanks to Russell, we got to that score. The bowlers started off briliiantly, and we would like to have a perfect game (without drop catches), but we will take the win”

Echoing these sentiments, Player of the Match, Davil Willey said, “We have got a great group of guys and everybody is chipping in. It is nice to get the win. I am happy that there is a little bit out there with the new ball for me. I would like to think I am peaking at the right time and hopefully we start to gel well and get results in our favour.”

Brief scores:
Abu Dhabi Knight Rider bt Dubai Capitals by 29 runs. Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 183 for 10 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 41, Michael Kyle Pepper 32, David Willey 26, Dushantha Chameera 2 for 20, Akif Raja 2 for 25, Scott Kuggeleijn 2 for 44) Dubai Capitals 154 for 8 in 20 overs (David Warner 42, Jason Holder 42, Scott Kuggeleijn 22, Sunil Narine 2 for 22, David Willey 2 for 24, Imad Wasim 2 for 26)

Player of the Match: David Willey

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