Sherfane Rutherford praised as Desert Vipers get to first-ever ILT20 final

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023
Sherfane Rutherford praised as Desert Vipers get to first-ever ILT20 final Desert Vipers

The Desert Vipers are through to the first-ever final of the DP World ILT20 after a sensational 19-run win over the Gulf Giants at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday. This was the Vipers’ first victory over the Giants in the tournament, having lost their two previous contests. 

Batting first Desert Vipers made 178-7 from their 20 overs before restricting the Gulf Giants to 159 all out off 19.4 overs.

Put into bat, the Vipers had a shaky start, losing their first three wickets for just 33 runs but they recovered to post a winning score in large part due to the heroics of Sherfane Rutherford, who returned to the field despite a painful hamstring injury to score 37 off 19 deliveries including three consecutive sixes off David Wiese.

Tom Curran shared a 52-run partnership with Rutherford, contributing a valuable 29 runs, and he took four wickets as well, earning him the Player of the Match award.

“Rutherford is in a bit of pain with his injury. Not sure how long he will be out for with his injury. I didn’t expect him to come back on the field like he did to be honest. But he showed great courage, and I think it is the environment we have created within the Desert Vipers, that (makes) people want to go out and perform for the team,” said team captain Colin Munro.

“The courage he showed to come out and bat on one leg was the turning point of the game. He hit the ball beautifully and changed the whole momentum of the game and put us in the driver’s seat. That was a great knock from him.”

 Munro also praised Curran and Wanindu Hasaranga for the impact they had on the match.

 “I think Tom Curran is a genuine all-rounder now. He used to be a bowler who could also bat at around number eight, but since coming into the Vipers he has been given the chance to go in at six and seven and show what he can do,” Munro said.

 “Hasaranga is a world class player, and he is up (the top) in the ICC T20 rankings, and he was in the (ICC T20 Men’s) Team of the Year. He was outstanding and to get those three wickets, (they) really put inroads in (the Gulf Giants batting line-up).

“They (Gulf Giants) got off to a really good start in the power play through James Vince and Chris Lynn.  I think the way Hasaranga came out and got a wicket in his first over put them under pressure, while also getting the run rate going up. This allowed our bowlers to settle in and use what the pitch had to offer.

 “We came here to qualify, number one, and once we got into the finals, it was about putting our best foot forward to make it to the final. Now we are there, and our next goal is to lift that trophy.”

Naturally, Head Coach James Foster was delighted with the performance and the outcome.

 “I am really chuffed for the whole team. I think they fought really hard throughout this campaign. I thought we had to show a lot of fight today, and a lot of character,” he said while speaking on the Vipers Voices podcast.

“After a positive start, we were three down for not too many (runs), and I thought Ronnie (Rohan Mustafa) got us off to a flyer but the brakes were put on us, and then we had to absorb a lot of pressure.

 “The partnership between Sam Billings and Wanindu Hasaranga was huge in the context of the game. They had to rebuild, but also had to show intent and keep that scoreboard ticking.”

He, too, was full of praise for Rutherford.

 “When Rutherford came out and then pulled up with that hamstring injury, you thought the worst. But the fact that he was happy to go back out there (was great for the team). It was his idea and his thought, and he was really keen,” he said.

“So at the drop of the next wicket he went out there and that was some unbelievable ball-striking, bearing in mind he was on one leg. To hit the ball in the areas that he did, with the power that he possesses, which we have seen throughout this campaign, came to fruition tonight.

 “What a platform the ILT20 is to showcase what Rutherford can do. I am really pleased for him, he is such a top man, such a nice guy and so humble. In the same breath (I am) devastated for him, about picking up an injury.”

 

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