Dubai: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders will be eager to get into the winning column after a meek surrender in the International League Twenty20 opener against Dubai Capitals in Dubai on Friday.
In the first of the double-header on Sunday, Knight Riders will be more at home in Abu Dhabi against Gulf Giants, who have a very balanced squad and a few notable UAE players. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch is likely to give more assistance to pacers and the extra bounce also will give the batters the freedom to play their shots. However, in the three matches so far, batting first seems to be an advantage in the final outcome, could be due to the mild dew. But this day game should not encounter such predicament.
Execution is the key
While ADKR had a chance to assess their team’s strength and released some of the rust on the back of their first outing, Gulf Giants skipper James Vince said that he wants to see his experienced franchise professionals to execute their roles to perfection.
James Vince, the skipper of the Gulf Giants, has giant hopes about his team’s chances, but accepts that all other teams are strong too. “We are excited to see the tournament get under way.
Brathwaite replaces Overton
“Every team has good talent and I’m looking forward to seeing the teams play against each other. Most of my players travel from tournament to tournament and they know what to do in the coming days. It is important that they play their roles well,” said James Vince, skipper of the Adani Sportsline-owned Gulf Giants, who have replaced England pacer Jamie Overton with West Indian Carlos Braithwaite. The West Indian's big-hitting capabilities is well known after hitting four sixes off Ben Stokes in the final over to give the Caribbeans' the second title at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
The cold conditions could allow the ball to swing more and that brings the pacers into the fore, which both teams have a number of quality bowlers.
Desert Vipers are ready for the challenge and skipper Colin Munro despite have a balanced team has a word of caution as they face Sharjah Warriors, who will be playing for the second straight day in the second contest of the day in Dubai on Sunday.
“We have class players all the way down and tough to leave some of them out. We could call upon different variations in bowling and batting. It’s a great team on paper, but cricket is won on the field, so we have to start the tournament well and get the right momentum and, hopefully, go all the way,” Monro said during the official jersey launch.
Just like ADKR, Sharjah will be searching their first win after losing their opener against MI Emirates. Skipper Moeen Ali, however, should not be overtly concerned by the reversal as he knows how to come back stronger.