ILT20 Season 2: Azam Khan’s fastest fifty of event helps Desert Vipers sink Gulf Giants

February 3, 2024
Azam Khan hit the fastest half-century in the history of ILT20 off just 18 balls to lift Desert Vipers to a six-wicket win over Gulf Giants

Dubai, Feb 3 (IANS) Azam Khan hit the fastest half-century in the history of ILT20 off just 18 balls to lift Desert Vipers to a six-wicket win over Gulf Giants in the 19th match of the season 2 at the Dubai International Stadium.

Azam Khan remained unconquered on 50 off 20 balls with five boundaries and four sixes, and along with his skipper Colin Munro, who scored 51 off 36 balls with six boundaries and two sixes, they won the match with 19 balls to spare. This victory helped the Vipers to move to the third slot in the points table while defending champions Giants slipped to the bottom of the table.

The ease with which Khan hit sixes and scored boundaries off unorthodox shots helped the Vipers chase the target of 161 to win in 16.5 overs.

The Gulf Giants had posted 160 for 7 in 20 overs through Chris Lynn’s 31, Jordan Cox’s 26, and Shimron Hetmyer’s breezy unbeaten 40 off 23 balls with five boundaries and one six after the Vipers won the toss and elected to bowl.

Mohammad Amir bowled brilliantly to check the run flow with a spell of 3 for 34, backed by Wanindu Hasaranga (2 for 15) and Matheesha Pathirana (2 for 38).

The chase towards the target began with openers Rohan Mustafa and Alex Hales scoring 23 runs in 3.3 overs before Mustafa got out brilliantly caught and bowled in his follow-through by Carlos Brathwaite for 10. Munro and Hales refused to go for any risky shots and took the score to 77, but at the halfway mark, when 84 more runs were needed, Hales fell. He hit Zuhaib Zubair straight to Vince at cover for 44. In the same over, Hasaranga too got out caught by Hetmyer at mid-wicket for 1.

Khan hit the first ball he faced from Zubair for a straight six. He helped Munro accelerate the run flow and overtook Munro’s score in no time. With 50 runs needed off 36 balls, he hit Brathwaite for two consecutive sixes and fours to take 22 runs off the 15th over.

Munro too hit Zubair for two consecutive sixes and three boundaries to take 26 runs off the 16th over. Together they put on 80 runs off 34 balls for the fourth wicket before Munro got caught by Gerhard Erasmus at mid-wicket off Blessing Muzarabani.

Gulf Giants opener and captain James Vince fell to the fifth ball of the first over and the first delivery he faced from Mohammad Amir, edging to wicketkeeper Azam Khan. The consistent Lynn and opener Jamie Smith took the score to 46 by the seventh over when Matheesha Pathirana, through a bouncer, got Smith to top edge his pull to Hasaranga at midwicket for 15. Hasaranga then struck with the ball to have Lynn sweep into the hands of Pathirana for 31. At the halfway mark, the scoreboard read only 58 for 3.

The fourth wicket fell at the score of 65 when the dangerous Usman Khan, who went for a slog sweep, top-edged Rohan Mustafa at mid-wicket off Hasaranga for just 10. Cox kept the score moving through a knock of 26 but Amir had him caught behind. Half the side was back in the dugout with their score still not past the 100-run mark. Erasmus hit Pathirana for 13 runs in the 16th over but fell to the last ball of that over clean bowled by an accurate yorker for 18. Hetmyer, through some giant hits, took the score to ten runs more than the 150 mark.


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