ABU DHABI – Ex-West Indies white-ball captains Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran smashed half-centuries and but Sherfane Rutherford responded in similar vein, as Desert Vipers made light work of their target to beat MI Emirates by seven wickets in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Asked to chase 170 at Zayed Cricket Stadium after Pollard set the innings alight with a top score of 67 from 39 deliveries and Pooran belted 57 from 49 balls, Vipers chased down the total with 21 balls to spare with the left-handed Rutherford lashing a Man-of-the-Match unbeaten 56 from 29 deliveries.
Vipers were stuttering on two for one in the first over before Alex Hales punched an unbeaten 62 from 44 balls and captain Colin Munro chipped in with 41 from 22 deliveries, to join Rutherford in turning the chase around.
The victory put Vipers top of the standings on eight points, only ahead of Gulf Giants on net run rate, while Emirates lie third on six points after their second defeat.
Sent in, Emirates were 10 for two in the third over before Andre Fletcher (21), and then Pollard and Pooran, transformed the innings and catapulted it to 169 for five from 20 overs.
The left-handed Pooran, dominating with four fours and a couple of sixes, put on 43 for the third wicket with Fletcher who counted two fours in an 18-ball knock, and then added a further 116 for the third wicket with Pollard who blasted a four and half-dozen sixes.
In reply, Rohan Mustafa (1) perished to the third ball of the chase with two runs on the board but Englishman Hales, with half-dozen fours and two sixes, posted 72 for the second wicket with Munro who lashed four fours and three sixes.
When left-arm spinner Samit Patel claimed Munro and Sam Billings (1) in the eighth over, Emirates were back in the contest, with Vipers stuttering on 76 for three.
However, Rutherford changed the trajectory of the game in a scintillating knock which included four fours and three sixes, and which inspired a 94-run, unbroken fourth wicket stand with Hales.
The 24-year-old Guyanese, who played the last of his six T20 Internationals for West Indies three years ago, put the finishing touches on the chase with a boundary behind square on the off side to level the scores before ambling a single to backward point.