Saudi cricket team return to happy hunting ground for ACC Men’s Challenger Cup in Bangkok

Shaheen Shah Afridi secures dramatic last-ball win for Dessert Vipers against MI Emirates

DUBAI: The Desert Vipers pulled off a sensational last-ball victory over top-of-the-table side MI Emirates in the team’s fifth match of the DP World ILT20 on Tuesday.

In the most dramatic match of the season so far, it was down to Shaheen Shah Afridi, who with Luke Wood, raced to complete the three runs required off the final delivery, giving the Vipers a two-wicket win. Mohammad Amir was declared Player of the Match for his three wickets for 26 runs.

“I am happy with my performance, having taken three wickets, but what is most important to me is that the team won the match,” said Amir. “Winning the Player of the Match award is a good boost for my confidence, and I hope that I can continue this form.”

“I believe that bowling is successful in partnerships, and I am really enjoying bowling with Shaheen Shah Afridi, and I think he is enjoying this experience too,” he said. “What is most important is communication, and after an over gets completed, we give each other key pieces of information, about whether the ball is gripping, and so on, and this is very helpful.

“Shaheen played a very sensible innings, and he has been working hard on his batting. I think this was the best match of the tournament so far, even though we have not been playing very good cricket overall, this was an interesting game.”

Meanwhile, the Desert Vipers’ coach James Foster told the Vipers Voices podcast: “It was an interesting day’s play, but ultimately, we got a win, and it is exactly what we needed at this moment in time. Delighted to get a victory, against a very good side in Mumbai. It was a scrappy win at the end, but we got there.

“My heart was in the balance (with 10 runs needed off the last over). It was a tough batting innings to watch if I am being honest. I had a few mixed emotions in there, but ultimately Shaheen did the job there on the last ball.”

“I guess a win is a win, and the knock-on effect is going to be huge with that confidence (for the team). It was a scrappy win in the end,” the coach added. “At half time the thinking was you just need to play relatively well, and we should cruise home. But cricket is a funny thing, and it can be a different beast at different times.”

The Desert Vipers are back in action on Thursday, Feb. 1, when they take on the Dubai Capitals at the Dubai International Stadium.

Match details:

Toss: Desert Warriors won the toss and elected to field first.

MI Emirates: 149-9 (20 overs)

Top scorer: Tim David 28 (14)

Desert Vipers: 150-8 (20 overs)

Top scorer: Sherfane Rutherford 35 (22)

Top wicket-takers: Mohammad Amir 3-26, Matheesha Pathirana 2-32, Luke Wood 2-32

Match Result: Vipers won by two wickets

Player of the Match: Mohammad Amir 3-26

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