MI Emirates eliminate Dubai Capitals to keep dreams of ILT20 glory alive

MI Emirates eliminate Dubai Capitals to keep dreams of ILT20 glory alive
Andre Fletcher of MI Emirates bats during the eliminator of the DP World International League T20 against Dubai Capitals. (Deepak Malik/CREIMAS)
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Updated 10 February 2023

MI Emirates eliminate Dubai Capitals to keep dreams of ILT20 glory alive

MI Emirates eliminate Dubai Capitals to keep dreams of ILT20 glory alive
  • Today was second match in 5 days between teams that finished third, fourth in round-robin stages
  • In last match, Dubai Capitals beat MI Emirates by seven wickets

DUBAI: The third and fourth-placed teams after the round-robin stage of the DP World ILT20 League faced each other in Sharjah on Thursday, with the MI Emirates ultimately keeping dreams of glory alive.

This was an eliminating match for the right to play in the second qualifying match of the playoffs. In the previous match between the two sides, five days earlier, the Dubai Capitals beat the MI Emirates by seven wickets, due in large part due to a partnership of 122 between the Sri Lankan Dasun Shanakar and Sikanda Raza, a Pakistan-born Zimbabwean.

MI Emirates won the toss and asked the Dubai Capitals to bat. Before the match, there had been a discussion about how the pitch would perform. From a distance, it had a shiny, mirror-like appearance, as if covered in plastic. Whatever its properties, 11 runs were scored off the first over, bowled by Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi. In the fourth over, Trent Boult’s second, Robin Uthappa was caught at slip.

Raza joined Scotsman George Munsey. Neither showed much attacking intent, seemingly content to pace the innings. A score of 65 for the loss of one wicket after 11 overs was below par. Munsey set about improving this, taking on Farooqi for 21 runs in the next over but was out in the 12th over at 93 for two.

Rovman Powell tried to accelerate the scoring, but it was a mystery why, when Raza was out with the total at 120 in the 17th over, Shanakar did not join Powell. When he did, with only two overs remaining, he witnessed the curious dismissal of Powell. Dwyane Bravo delivered a slow, looping full toss, which Powell somehow missed. In his frustration and chagrin, he left for the pavilion with bat thrust behind his head and back.

The innings closed on 151 for the loss of five wickets. This looked to be nowhere sufficient. A start that was too cautious placed too much pressure on the middle order. It looked as if the batting order should have been different against a well-drilled attack.

Although Jake Ball claimed Mohammed Waseem’s wicket with his third delivery, further success did not arrive until Lorcan Tucker was leg before wicket with the total on 48. Andre Fletcher used his feet to good effect, advancing down the wicket to attack Reece Topley with straight drives. He continued in this vein when joined by Nicholas Pooran, who was soon hoisting the ball over the legside boundary into the stands.

This set the scene for a barrage of hitting, Pooran twice hitting the ball over the stands, MI Emirates galloping to victory on 152 for the loss of only two wickets after 16.4 overs. Poorna finished on 66 from 36 deliveries and Fletcher, 68 from 45. 

Their much more aggressive approach may have benefitted from knowledge as to how the wicket was playing, but it also seemed to reflect a much more positive and confident attitude.

They will need this on Friday evening when they face the wounded Gulf Giants in the match to determine who will face the Desert Vipers in Sunday’s final.