Dubai: Resurgent Sharjah Warriors will be eager to continue their winning run as take on table-toppers Desert Vipers to keep their play-off hopes alive at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
With the league entering the business end of the first stage, Warriors will be guarded against any slip-up at their home, where the conditions could work in their favour. But the Vipers have a well-rounded team and skipper Colin Munro has been stewarding the ship quite comfortably to 10, which should be enough to secure the Dubai team a place in the play-offs.
But in Twenty20 leagues, nothing could be taken for granted. The turn of events could be so fast that the odds could change in no time. The Vipers will also be eager to swell their tally and secure the place to the next stage and forget a disastrous outing the last time around at the same venue against MI Emirates, losing by 157 runs.
A clinical win against a strong Dubai Capitals in their previous match, defending a low score should give the Vipers the confidence against the Warriors, who have found some consistency required in such high-profile leagues after losing their first three matches. Warriors secured a four-wicket win against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, after a brief wobble in the middle overs, which they must avoid in a the key clash. Sharjah will be banking on Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis to find his rhythm sooner as they are level on points with Dubai Capitals, however with a game on hand.
Battle of wits
Sharjah wickets generally assist the bowlers and it’s going to be a battle of wits between Vipers and Warriors.
MI Emirates, who have moved to the third spot in the table after the big win against Vipers, is happy to take their convincing win to their next match against Gulf Giants in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
“It was a great performance yesterday, and especially from the start of the tournament I have been mentioning that the team is capable of winning the tournament. We just need to turn up the heat, and win the big moments, make some good decisions and execute them. We played the top team yesterday, put in our best performance, and we are playing the team second on the competition list next, and then if we win that game, we are decently in for a top-2 finish,” said Shane Bond, MI Emirates head coach, in a statement released by the team.
Style of coaching
Elaborating on his philosophy of coaching, the 47-year-old Kiwi said he always tries to bring the best out of his players besides trying to get an honest feedback from the players regarding his style of coaching.
“My job is always to bring the best out of the players, to be consistent and get better in each game. Those things never change, and has remained the same from Day 1. In terms of the players, the hardest thing for them is to get an honest feedback. It can be tough for a coach, so, the only way to get better as a coach is to go to the players during any competition and get the conversation started on what I can do to get better,” he said.
Heaping praises on MI Emirates skipper Kieron Pollard, who has been in red-hot form with the bat throughout the tournament, Bond said the best part about having someone like Pollard as the leader of the side is he also understands the role of a coach as the Trinidadian is on a transition phase.
“Playing and coaching is very different. The playing career behind you gives you a level of respect from the younger players of the kind of player you have been, but as a coach my job is to make my player better.
“It’s no more about me but about how you get the best out of your player. You have Dwayne (Bravo) and (Kieron) Pollard, who are in the phase of transition and they understand their roles clearly. Polly has played a massive part in the team’s success,” he reckoned.