Twitter Reactions: James Vince's masterclass helps Gulf Giants end MI Emirates' ILT20 campaign
Captain Kieron Pollard's 57* off 35 helped MI Emirates score 167/5 while batting first.
Gulf Giants beat MI Emirates by four wickets in Qualifier 2 of the International League T20 2023 (ILT20) to enter the final on Friday (February 10). The veteran West Indies star Kieron Pollard played a captain's knock of 57* off 35 to help MI Emirates score a challenging total of 167/5. But Gulf Giants' captain James Vince played a match-winning knock of 83* off 56 to guide his team to the final.
Vince won the toss for the Giants and elected to field first at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium with two forced changes to his playing XI that suffered a narrow loss against Desert Vipers in Qualifier 1. Qais Ahmad and Gerhard Erasmus came in for Dominic Drakes and Tom Banton, while MI placed faith in the same XI that beat Dubai Capitals in the Eliminator clash.
Carlos Brathwaite gave Giants early success with Andre Fletcher's big wicket in the second over but in-form Muhammad Waseem and Locran Tucker kept the MI Emirates in the hunt for a big total with crucial knocks. Chris Jordan struck twice with wickets of Tucker and Waseem, and in-from David Wiese dismissed Dan Mousley on seven runs to put pressure on MI Emirates.
But the star wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Poorana and Pollard stood strong in last last ten overs and ensured a challenging total on the scorecard. Pooran scored 29 off 25 before getting out on Wiese's delivery in the 18th over but Pollard smashed an unbeaten 57 off 35 to help MI Emirates score 167 runs. Wiese and Jordan took two wickets each while Brathwaite picked one wicket for the Giants.
Openers James Vince and Chris Lynn pulled off a flying start with a 64-run stand for the opening wicket in just 30 balls to put the Giants in the drivers' seat. Lynn smashed a quick 24 before getting caught by Dwayne Bravo's delivery in the sixth over.
Afghan bowlers Rashid Khan and Fazalhaq Farooqi dominated the middle overs with wickets of Colin de Grandhomme, Erasmus, and Shimron Hetmyer but Vince kept the runs fooling from one end. He smashed a crucial fifty as the Giants never seemed troubled in the chase.
Vince ended a chase with a boundary as he scored 83* off 56 with ten fours and one six to guide his team to a big win with 11 balls to spare. Rashid and Farooqi took two wickets each but Pollard and Bravo struggled with costly spells for the MI Emirates.
The Giants will clash against Desert Vipers in the final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, February 12. Vipers beat the Giants in Qualifier 1 clash by 19 runs while defending a total of 178 runs and are favourites to lift the inaugural ILT20 2023 title.
Here is how Twitter is reacting to Gulf Giants' win over MI Emirates in the ILT20 Qualifier 2 match: