Zadran and Bravo power MI Emirates to dramatic ILT20 win over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

Pair smash Russell for 25 in final over to maintain their team’s perfect record

Dhananjaya de Silva smashed a 40-ball 65 for Abu Dhabi Knight Riders but couldn’t prevent MI Emirates winning the game by five wickets in the ILT20 at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday, January 21, 2023. – ILT20

Photo by Deepak Malik/CREIMAS

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MI Emirates secured a dramatic last over victory against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the ILT20 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Dwayne Bravo (15 off 6) and Najibullah Zadran (35 off 17) were their heroes on the night after they smashed Andre Russell for 25 in the final over to maintain their perfect record in the competition.

Chasing 170, MI Emirates lost two early wickets. UAE opener Muhammad Waseem (2) was first to depart, caught by Sunil Narine off Lahiru Kumara in the second over.

Will Smeed followed soon at 27 before Andre Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran (20) came together with a 55-run stand for the third wicket before the latter pulled one straight to Charith Asalanka at deep square leg off Russell.

Kumara trapped Fletcher in front for 53 to leave MI Emirates at 98 for four in the 14th over.

Kieron Pollard and Zadran then came together to bring the target down to 29 from two overs.

But in the very first ball of that penultimate over, Pollard (31 off 23) hoisted Narine straight to the cow corner for Raymon Reifer to take a well-judged catch at deep square leg.

MI Emirates needed 20 from Russell’s final over. Bravo began with a thumping six over midwicket and took two off the next. The third was hammered down the long on fence, bringing down the target to eight off three.

Bravo scrambled for a single in the next and that brought Zadran on strike, and the Afghan international hoisted the first ball he faced over the deep square leg for the maximum that left them needing one from one.

The final delivery was sent over third man for six for MI Emirates to clinch a five-wicket victory, their third in three games, and leave Knight Riders winless in five matches.

Earlier, Dhananjaya de Silva struck a 40-ball 65, and with useful contributions from his Sri Lankan teammate Asalanka (23 from 17) and captain Narine (28 not out from 18), the Knight Riders posted 170 for seven.

Dhananjaya’s knock contained eight boundaries and a couple for the maximum, and he was sixth out at 130, caught Andre Fletcher off UAE international Zahoor Khan, for his second wicket.

Sent into bat first, the Knight Riders lost Kenner Lewis (0) for a catch behind by Pooran off Trent Boult in the third delivery of the inning before Brandon King and Dhananjaya steading them with a 33-run stand from 22 balls.

King (6) fell to UAE international Zahoor Khan at 34 and Reifer (3) was run out at 48.

Asalanka cut loose by slamming Imran Tahir for two sixes in the same over but fell to a full toss from Pollard, lofting down Bravo’s through at deep square leg.

Narine finished the innings in style, hammering a full toss from Zahoor over the cow corner for the maximum.

Updated: January 21, 2023, 6:36 PM