ILT20: Desert Vipers skipper Colin Munro reflects on journey to summit clash

Sherfane Rutherford, Tom Curran, and Wanindu Hasaranga played key roles in the Vipers' win.

By Press Release

Updated - Feb 09, 2023, 16:59 IST

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8 Min Read

Not many times one would hear a cross sports ownership saga. This truly portrays in Avram Glazers, co-chairman of the iconic Manchester United football club, could now on his way up to winning his first piece of silverware as an owner of a cricket team. The Glazer-owned Desert Vipers trumped the Gulf Giants in the qualifier 1 to cruise through to the final of the inaugural season of the ILT20, at the Dubai International stadium on Wednesday.

Notably, the key architect of their victory were Sherfane Rutherford, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Tom Curran. The Gulf Giants after having won the toss elected to bowl first. Though they were unable to stop Desert Vipers to post a big total (178/7) on the board. the West Indian, Sherfane Rutherford scored a brisk knock (37 runs off 19 balls), which consisted of four blazing sixes and a four. It is worthy to mention that Rutherford defied his hamstring injury for the winning contribution in a do-or-die situation.

Apart from him, Wanindu Hasaranga showed his all-round abilities as he played a handy knock (31 runs off 20 balls) along with 3-wicket haul (3/36) to set up the tone for his team. Moreover, English bowler, Tom Curran, also chipped in with vital contributions with both bat and the ball. Curran produced a vital cameo (29 runs off 17 balls) along with with a 4-wicket spell which denied the Giants a sniff of a victory.

Sherfane Rutherford (37, 19 balls, 1 four, 4 sixes) defied a hamstring injury, conjuring a stirring knock that propelled the Vipers to a big total of 178 for seven.

Wanindu Hasaranga, who had chipped in with a knock of 31 off 20 balls, then delivered a spin masterclass (3-36) to set up the Vipers 19-run win as the Giants were bundled out for 159.

Tom Curran (4/31 and 29 off 17 balls) also struck crucial blows with the bat and ball to deny the Giants a whiff of a chance. Consequently, Vipers edged out the Giants by 19 runs.

In the same vein, Colin Munro, the Desert Vipers skipper reflected on his team's win in the post-match conference. Here are the excerpts from his interview:

Q. Firstly, how is Sherfane Rutherford right now? Second, how significant was that knock, and some words on his tenacity and dedication if you can say? 

Colin: Rutherford is very happy at the moment. Yes, he is in some discomfort. I'm not exactly sure how long he'll be out with his injury. I didn't expect him to come back like he did. I didn't even expect him to get back on the field, to be honest. But he showed great bravery, and it's because of the environment we've created within the Vipers' camp that people want to go out there and perform for the team, and that's probably the proudest thing I know, as well as him coming to the show and batting on one leg, which, as I said, was a turning point in the game. Yeah, he hit the ball beautifully and changed the whole momentum of the game, then put us in the driver's seat with a great knock from him.

 Q. Two other players who were really brilliant for you today were Tom Curran and Hasaranga. Apart from Rutherford, do you rate these two performances as highly as you would rate Rutherford's performance today?

Colin: Just look at match-winning performances, and not only match-winning performances, but just contributions as well. Remember, Rohan Mustafa is also on one over what he's done on the border. I think Tom Curran is a genuine all-rounder now; he used to be a bowler that could bat down at lucky number eight. He's been given the opportunity to go in at six and seven since joining the Vipers, and he's really shown what he's capable of. And Hasaranga is obviously world class; he's up on the RCC rankings; T20 was Team of the Year; it was outstanding; and to get those three wickets really put in place, they got off to a good start, thanks to the power played by Vince and Lynn and the way Hasaranga came out, got a look at his first over, and put them under real pressure and got the right going up. It just allowed our bowlers to sort of settle in and just hit the pitch and use what the wicket had to offer.

Q. Wanindu Hasaranga is surely among the best all-rounders in the world right now. Do you think he's the best? Do you think the team has peaked at the right time?

Colin: Yes, and no. I think it's hard; Hasaranga is a spinning all-rounder, and I'm not going to throw anybody up there. There's Shakib al-Hasan, who is a world-class player, and Jadeja. With Hasaranga, this is my first tournament playing with Hasaranga. I've only seen him bowl on TV, so it's great to see him live and have him on my team. He offers so much with bat and ball and in the field. He's definitely up there. and I'll probably say is the best right now because he's on my team. And I want him to be full of confidence and have my backing because I am 100% behind him.

 Q. You've earned the luxury to sit through the finals; we can see the drama unfold in the qualifier to an eliminator. Do the Desert Vipers have a preferred choice of opponents for the final?

Colin: I don't think so. We haven't thought that far. It was all about getting past the team today, knowing that it would be prelim and twice. So, for us, we've earned the right to have a couple of days off, put our feet up, relax, and enjoy what Dubai has to offer. And we'll enjoy it tonight for what it is. But we came here to qualify number one, and then once we get into the finals, it’s always about putting our best foot forward to make the final, and now the next thing is to lift that trophy.

Q. Given the injury to Rutherford, do you think there's a case for actually allowing runners in cricket? Was it, once again, halted in 2011? I mean, he could have given himself a really long-term injury, and no part of that problem could have been solved by allowing a runner.

Colin: Yeah, exactly. There's been a lot said in the past about slightly bigger players getting injured towards the end of an innings and getting runners on, but when we see a guy like Rutherford today running hard between the wickets, a genuine athlete, and really going down in a world of hurt, that he hasn't just pulled up, you know? So yeah, I'm a big one. If somebody got injured against us and said, "Listen, can we use a runner?" I know it's in the rules of the tournament not to use a runner, and it's in the rules there, but when someone comes and asks, I think it's fair. You try and play the game in the right way, even though it's a big game and there's a lot at stake. You try and play the game in the right way and in the right spirit too.

 Q. Rutherford’s innings and performance, and Hasaranga’s quick wickets, obviously galvanised the team. And then you guys showed a lot of character today; does that say something you guys have had a big focus on through the entire month of the tournament?

Colin: Well, obviously, my first speech to them as captain was about trying to create an environment in which everyone wanted to put themselves into the team. Whether you were playing the games or not, just make sure that you were positive around the group. It's not easy to look at them; life hasn't been fair. There are a few guys who haven't gotten the chance, but the attitude of those boys in and around the group of trainings and even games has been incredible. And I think that the word "family" gets thrown around a lot when you talk about franchise cricket. But in the space of a month, this team has come together really nicely. And the thing is that we haven't just relied on one or two players. Obviously, Alex Hales is up there with the runs, but there have been special performances, and, like, that's the big thing for me. It's not just the match-winning performances. It's about those little contributions along the way that really help us get to 178 and win games. Cheeky over today, Rohan Mustafa, who can easily skip his bowling to one of Hetmyer's better spin bowlers. But he comes in and closes them out and goes for seven or something, and it's over. So, those little things sometimes get overlooked. Look at the guys who have runs or what gets in the names. But you know, guys who contribute on the field and have a positive attitude. That's what our team is about.


The DP World ILT20 made its debut at the Dubai International Stadium on 13 January 2023. Some of the greatest cricketing superstars have made their way to the UAE to play in the inaugural edition of the league. The tournament is currently being played in a 34-match format across the UAE’s exemplary, world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Franchise teams, comprising over 100 International and 24 UAE-based players, include Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Knight Riders Group), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).   

 Cricket fans across the world can catch the LIVE telecast of this exciting cricket league on ZEE's linear channels, digital platform, Zee5 as well as Zee Cinema SD, Zee Cinema HD, Zee Anmol Cinema, &Pictures HD, &Flix SD, &Flix HD, Zee Zest SD, Zee Zest HD, Zee Bangla Cinema, Zee Thirai, and on CricLife across the UAE and MENA regions.

 Playoff Schedule:

10 February: Qualifier 2 – Gulf Giants vs Winner of Eliminator- 7:30pm

12 February: Dessert Vipers v Winner Q2- 7:30pm

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