ILT20: Six-hitting Rutherford stars in Vipers’ win over Capitals

SUMMARY: Desert Vipers 182-7 in 20 overs (Sam Billings 54, Sherfane Rutherford 50; Fred Klaassen 3-34) beat Dubai Capitals 160-7 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 41, Rovman Powell 33; Luke Wood 2-36) by 22 runs.

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Dubai Capitals’ qualification hopes took a beating as they went down by 22 runs against Desert Vipers in the ILT20 clash in Dubai on Thursday. The Vipers posted a sizeable 182-7, riding on fifties from Sherfane Rutherford and Sam Billings, and then restricted the Capitals to 160-7 as they climbed to the top of the table.

The Vipers had already sealed a spot in the playoffs and this win confirmed a top two finish, giving them two attempts at making the final.

The Capitals suffered an early setback in the chase as George Munsey was bowled by Sheldon Cottrell in the second over. Robin Uthappa gave the chase direction as he dealt in regular boundaries while he used a review to reverse a leg-before decision. He was also put down by Gus Atkinson off Luke Wood but fell the very next ball, dismissed for a 21-ball 30 which included five fours. Sikandar Raza hit a few to the fence, interspersed with some quiet overs. The Capitals, however, managed only 77 at the halfway stage of their innings, with the required rate creeping close to 11.

Dasun Shanaka, on the other hand, struggled to get going and fell to Atkinson for a 15-ball 11 thanks to an excellent diving catch by Rutherford at third man. Skipper Rovman Powell survived an appeal for obstructing the field when he came in the way of Cottrell’s shy at the stumps in the 13th over. But a wicket did fall in the over as Raza, who had slowed down, was dismissed for 41 off 32. Yusuf Pathan followed shortly after, leaving Powell and Chamika Karunaratne with a lot of work to do as the Capitals needed 71 off 30 balls.

Karunaratne fell to Tom Curran but Powell kept the fight going as he hit two fours and a six off Atkinson in the 18th over, followed by a maximum off Wood. But he was bowled for a 25-ball 33, which effectively shut the door on the chase as the Capitals ended up well short of the target to slip to their fifth loss in nine games.

Earlier, contrasting half-centuries from Billings and Rutherford powered the Vipers to a strong total on a pitch that was on the slower side. Billings arrived at the crease in the third over after the Vipers lost Alex Hales and Colin Munro in quick succession. He had scored only 9 off 10 when Rohan Mustafa (31) became Fred Klaassen’s second scalp. The Vipers were 45-3 at the end of the Powerplay and moved to 74-3, with Billings scoring at less than a run a ball.

Shortly after the arrival of Rutherford, Billings struck his only six as he sent a Raza delivery over the deep midwicket fence. Rutherford then hit a six off Pathan in the 14th over, followed by a four for Billings off Karunaratne who was unlucky not to dismiss the England batter as Akif Raja put down a simple chance. It was only in the 16th over when the innings truly gained momentum as Rutherford struck five successive sixes off Pathan who gave away 31.

Billings then got to his fifty off 43 balls while Rutherford reached his off 23, as they took their partnership to 80 before the West Indian was run out. Billings eventually fell to Karunaratne in the 19th over but the tempo of the innings did not dip as Curran and Wood struck three sixes between them in the last two overs. (cricbuzz)

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