LONDON: Gulf Giants pulled off an important victory over the in-form MI Emirates in the International League T20 in Dubai on Friday night.
The Giants were led from the front by captain James Vince, who showed the way with 59 runs off 41 balls, and wicketkeeper Jamie Smith’s quick unbeaten 43 off 26 deliveries.
Together they helped Giants post a fighting total of 158 for the loss of seven wickets. The bowling attack, led by Chris Jordan, then fired on all cylinders to restrict MI Emirates to 153 for seven for a thrilling five-run win.
MI Emirates’ skipper Kieron Pollard sparked hopes of yet another ILT20 victory with a 40-run innings from 31 balls after opener Kusal Perera had hit 34 runs off 25 balls.
But Jordan and Jamie Overton had other ideas in the death overs and both bowled to perfection to seal the victory and two points, which helped defending champions Giants move up to the second in the league table.
The win gives a huge boost to the Giants as they chase a spot in the Qualifier 1 knockout stages and attempt to avoid a Eliminator shootout. MI Emirates, who top the league table, have already qualified for the knockout stages.
Vince hailed his players and said: “Jamie Smith played a very good innings to get to a score which we felt we were in it. The bowlers bowled well, and CJ (Jordan), with those yorkers was exceptional. Three games ago we were under a bit of pressure to make the top four, but if we win on Saturday, we can finish in the top two.”
Jordan, who was also named as player of the match, said he would be focusing on Saturday’s match against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.
“It was a good win for the boys, in that crunch moment at the death, it’s ‘execute and win or don’t and lose,’” he said.
“They have amazing players and we got over the line tonight. I have been working on a couple of things with the bowling coach to operate at the top end of my speed, it’s working, we have to finish it on Saturday,” he added.
MI Emirates’Pollard was keen to focus on the positives, despite the defeat.
“At the end, it was just one hit away with a couple of hits at the back end. (Chris) Jordan especially bowled well, but Waqar (Salamkheil) has been fantastic again. The positives are that our guys getting a hit and it’s good for us going forward,” he said.