Dubai: Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka and all-rounder Sikandar Raza chose a perfect moment to strike form and their maiden half-centuries in the DP World ILT20 guided Dubai Capitals to a vital seven-wicket win over MI Emirates at Dubai International Stadium.
The victory has kept the Capitals’ hopes alive after Shanaka (58 not out) and Raza (56 not out), despite a shaky start, joined hands at a crucial time when their team lost three quick wickets in two overs. The duo put on a match-winning unbroken 122-run partnership for the fourth wicket to give captain Yousaf Pathan a winning start.
Speaking about their performance, Dubai Capitals’ Jake Ball, who claimed three wickets, said: “We knew that we needed to put all the pressure on our opposition after Sharjah lost last night. It's good to have the points on the board. We are currently at the fourth spot and, hopefully, we'll be there at the end of tomorrow's game.”
Chasing a target of 167, openers Robin Uthappa and George Munsey gave Dubai a brisk start and were literally taking the match away from MI Emirates. The former Indian opener was playing some effortless shots on a true wicket that gave the freedom to play through their shots. But Uthappa became overzealous, to improve the run rate and give themselves a better chance to qualify for the play-offs, and gave MI Emirates the much-deserved toe hold, which they utilized to open the door wider.
Afghanistan chinaman spinner Zahir Khan made the most of Capitals batters’ urgency to dismiss Munsey and also induced West Indian Rovman Powell to play a slog-sweep into the hands of deep mid-wicket. Things could have been worse had Pooran held on to a sharp chance in the first slip off Raza’s first strike. The MI Emirates had another chance when Zimbabwe all-rounder played a reverse sweep off the second ball, when he was yet to score. Replays suggested that the ball would have hit the stumps and got the decision in their favour had they gone for a referral. Capitalising on the gifts, Shanaka and Raza kept playing their shots to take their team home with 11 balls to spare.
Put in to bat, an under-strength MI Emirates, who rested skipper Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Trent Boult for the play-offs, kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Individual brilliances of UAE opener Muhammad Waseem, skipper Nicholas Pooran and Dan Mousley took them to 164 for seven, a below-par score on a pitch that was perfect for batting. England pacer Ball struck twin blows early while Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa continued to reap rich harvest in the ILT20, claiming the two big wickets of Waseem and Pooran.
MI Emirates’ UAE opener Waseem said: “If Pooran and I batted for a few more overs then we could've put more runs on the board. We lost wickets at the wrong time. That's why we were 25-30 runs short in the end.”
England pacer Craig Overton made the most of his height and the bonce on this wicket to trouble the batters, finishing with one for 14 in four overs. But the rest of the bowlers didn’t bowl at the right areas to make easier for Capitals, who have moved to fourth spot on the table, two points ahead of Sharjah Warriors. Now Capitals will be eagerly watching the final match between Warriors and Gulf Giants at Sharjah Stadium on Monday.