Abu Dhabi [UAE], February 2 (ANI): Chris Jordan's three-wicket spell backed by Dominic Drakes, David Wiese and Rehan Ahmed with two wickets each bowled out the MI Emirates for 139 runs in 19.5 overs. Chasing the modest total, Gulf Giants opener Tom Banton hit 45 off 39 balls with five boundaries and six carrying the team closer to the target but with 11 runs needed off the last over, Shimron Hetmyer hit the last ball of the match for a six to ensure a nail-biting five-wicket win in the 24th match of the ILT20 held here at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. This exciting victory ensured Gulf Giants a place in the playoffs.
Jordan with figures of 3 for 12 and Dominic Drakes (2 for 21), David Wiese (2 for 14) and Rehan Ahmed (2 for 27) set the stage for victory. Gulf Giants batsmen batted with caution and MI Emirates bowled tightly giving nothing away till the exciting last over. MI Emirates is in the third slot two points ahead of Dubai Capital and Sharjah Warriors but it will be an exciting three-way shoot-out between these teams for the last two slots in the knockout.
Gulf Giants won the toss and elected to bowl. MI Emirates' opener Andre Fletcher fell to the second ball of the first over the trapped leg before Dominic Drakes. UAE's Basil Hameed joined his national team and prolific scorer Muhammad Waseem. They took the score to 27 in 3.4 overs when Hameed going for a pull shot off David Wiese edged to his helmet and got caught by Chris Lynn at short fine leg for 9. Only 36 runs came off the powerplay.
Nicholas Pooran, well known for his six hits, cracked the first six off the match off Rehan Ahmed over long-on. The ninth over from Ahmed turned costly when Waseem hit one six and Pooran hit him for two sixes and take 21 runs off that over. In the 10th over, Waseem hit Wiese for a huge six-over long-on. At the halfway mark, MI Emirates were 76 for 2. In the 12th over Chris Jordan struck to clean bowl Waseem for 29. Pooran and Waseem had put on 61 runs in 46 balls for the third wicket.
Rehan Ahmed took the prize wicket of Pooran in the 13th over forcing him to pull into the hands of Shimron Hetmyer at deep mid-wicket for 42. The task of accelerating the run flow fell on skipper Kieron Pollard and Najibullah Zadran but Pollard departed pulling Rehan Ahmed to Drakes at mid-wicket for 19.
With half the side back in the dug-out for 112 by the 15th over, MI Emirates continued to lose a wicket in every over that followed. In the 16th over, Zadran went for a pull top-edged to wicketkeeper Tom Banton off Jordan for 1. This was followed by Jordan Thompson falling to Drakes in the next over caught by Chris Lynn at gully for 1. In the 18th over, Trent Boult got caught by James Vince at mid-off for 1 off Wise. In the last over, Jordan picked his third wicket having Dwayne Bravo caught at covers by Drakes for 3 while Fazalhaq Farooqi got run out for a duck. In the last 52 deliveries MI Emirates lost eight wickets for 51 runs and could score only 18 runs and lost five wickets in the last five overs
Chasing the gettable target, opener and skipper James Vince with Tom Banton batted at a very slow pace and with caution. In the powerplay, they scored just 35 runs and went on to register a half-century partnership in 7.4 overs. At the score on 61, Vince fell to the last ball of the ninth over to Jordan Thompson caught by Bravo at long off for 26.
Chris Lynn joined Banton with 79 runs needed in 66 balls. Banton went on to score freely and hit 45 before Bravo got him out caught by Waseem at deep mid-wicket. Gerhard Erasmus with Lynn kept the scoreboard moving. Lynn hit Thompson for three consecutive boundaries in the 14th over to take 17 runs off that over.
In the last five overs, Gulf Giants needed 38 runs only. Lynn and Erasmus put on 42 runs in 4.5 overs to pull their team closer to victory before Erasmus got caught by Bravo off Fazalhaq Farooqi for 20. Lynn fell for 28 caught by Waseem at deep extra cover when Gulf Giants needed 17 runs in the last 11 deliveries. David Wiese slashed at Bravo to get a boundary. Bravo got Jordan run out while trying to steal a single to make it 11 runs needed off the last over.
Jordan Thompson bowling the last over bowled a wide, gave two runs to the second delivery, a single to the third and made it seven runs off the last four balls, then six runs off the last three through a single. Another wide made it four runs off two balls and a single off the next to make it three off the last ball. Hetmyer hit the last ball for a mighty six over long-on to pull off a thrilling win.
Speaking about their performance, Gulf Giants' Chris Jordan said, "We definitely want to be a lot more clinical in these kinds of games. But the most important thing is that we crossed the line. We always look at areas that we can get better. We'll definitely focus on the fact that we qualified and that we had a good game against a good team."
Meanwhile, MI Emirates' Trent Boult said, "The batting group would've hoped for 15-20 more runs. It's a high-scoring ground. Credit to the Giants. All their seamers bowled nicely. They made us take tough options and the wickets kept falling." (ANI)