Raza’s last-ball six seals colossal win for Dubai Capitals over Desert Vipers

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Sikandar Raza hit a priceless last-ball six to give Dubai Capital a resounding five-wicket victory over Desert Vipers in a DP World ILT20 pot-boiler at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday evening.

Needing 13 to win over the last over bowled by 19-year-old rising UAE star Ali Nasser, Raza swept a boundary off the first ball and then belted a huge six over long-off off the final ball of the innings to prize out an improbably win.

Chasing a target of 171 in 20 overs Capitals got home in a style that has become a hallmark of T20 cricket.

Speaking about what was going through his mind going into the final over Sikandar Raza said: “I said to myself, I don’t think he (Ali Nasser) will go short. I’ll hold my ground, and if he goes slow into the wicket I’ll take it on.

“He bowled fantastically well, the lessons and confidence and character for a 19-year-old to bowl the 20th over. I’m sorry for him but we needed this win more.

“Faith keeps me strong, I bowl hard in the nets, power-hitting,” said the Pakistani-born Zimbabwean international. “I do the hard work because results are not in my control.”

Earlier English batter Alex Hales struck six 6s and four 4s in a blistering 66 that saw the Desert Vipers amass 100 runs in just eight overs.

The first Englishman to score a T20I century Hales dominated the Capitals bowlers together with Phil Salt (26) and Michael Jones (20). Olly Stone (2 for 31) and Roelof van der Merwe (2 for 19) were the pick of the Capitals bowlers.

Capitals are back in action on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, where another win against already-qualified MI Emirates will secure their play-off berth.

Vipers need MI Emirates to do them a favour and then hope to beat bottom-feeders Sharjah Warriors.

Winning captain Sam Billings praised Raza and sportingly hailed Hales’ blitzkrieg while revealing that he was ‘not very nervous.’

“There’s nothing you can do once you’ve got out,” said the English wicket-keeper-batter. “Raza showed his skill, one shot can get you back in form and after that six into the top tier, no stopping him.

“Incredible effort by the bowlers. Hales and Salt, when they get going, they are hard to stop. Incredible hitting, but we hung in there and the spinners changed the game,” he added.

“We were focussed on tonight, got the win. We can focus on tomorrow now.”

Desert Vipers skipper Colin Munro took the defeat in his stride and said that a lot will depend on Saturday’s games.

“A lot of people struggled on the wicket tonight,” he said. “If MI do us a favour tomorrow that will be nice. But we’ve just got to get on with it and play as best as we can.

Munro also handed out support to Nasser and said: “Ali held himself together well, he’s shown what a class allrounder he is. I told him to bowl his best ball, unfortunately, one slipped out of his arm. He’s a good prospect for the future.”

Brief scores

Desert Vipers: 171 for 7 in 20 overs (Phil Salt 26, Alex Hales 66, Michael Jones 20; Olly Stone 2 for 31, Roelof van der Merwe 2 for 9)

Dubai Capitals: 172 for 5 from 20 overs (Sam Billings 57, Sikandar Raza 60 not out; Sam Curran 2 for 39)

Player of the Match: Sikandar Raza

Playing on Saturday

Match 28 of 34: Gulf Giants vs Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (2.30 pm Dubai International Cricket Stadium)

Match 29 of 34: MI Emirates vs Dubai Capitals (6.30 pm Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium)

 

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