Abu Dhabi Knight Riders finally got a win in their final game of the DP World ILT20 campaign at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Even though it was too little and too late, their victory over Sharjah Warriors brought smiles back to the faces of the players and fans, and they will return for the 2024 edition better equipped.
Having restricted the Warriors to 130 for nine, Joe Clarke and Paul Stirling made batting look easy with a splendid 86-run stand in 50 balls for the opening wicket.
Clarke reached his half century off 23 deliveries and fell for a 32-ball 54 by top edging Marcus Stoinis down the throat of Lewis at deep backward square leg.
The Knight Riders lost four wickets for eight runs in 13 deliveries but the victory was never in doubt.
The result has left the Warriors and Dubai Capitals battling for the final spot in the play-offs on Monday against Gulf Giants and MI Emirates in Sharjah and Dubai.
In the early game, the Giants emerged winners by 25 runs against the Desert Vipers to secure a spot in the first qualifier.
The Giants posted 180 for six with Shimron Hetmyer top scoring with 54. His 35-ball knock contained four sixes and a couple of fours.
The Vipers were given a flying start by local Rohan Mustafa and Alex Hales, the pair adding 57 in 33 balls.
Mustafa departed to a catch behind by Tom Banton for a 20-ball 28 and Aayan Khan, 17, bagged the prized wicket of the tournament’s leading scorer Hale (15-ball 26) in the next over and the Vipers’ chase fell flat thereafter.
“It was a good performance on the whole and 180 was a good score on one of the slower pitches,” Giants captain James Vince said.
“Chased a game against the Vipers previously. The toss is less important in a day game. The bowlers did well to pull things back. Coming back from pressure has been a big plus for us. Hales' wicket was big, took the sting out of them."