MI Emirates team during a practice match. The Kieron Pollard-led team are aiming to treat the knockout clash like any other game. Image Credit: Source: MI Emirates

Dubai: Brand Mumbai Indians is synonymous with success in franchise leagues and MI Emirates has been continuing the success story on the UAE grounds in the inaugural DP World ILT20 on Wednesday.

After finishing third in the league phase, Kieron Pollard-led team have the disadvantage of playing in the Eliminator against the fourth-placed Dubai Capitals at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, where there is no room for errors. The losers of this contest will end their campaign while he winners will proceed to playing the Qualifier 2 against Gulf Giants.

In that backdrop both teams will target a win and the veteran West Indian, who has been part of the five title-winning winning Mumbai Indians team in the Indian Premier League, must be having a few tricks up his sleeve, after being in similar situations in the past.

A game to relish

“We have adjusted well (in all conditions). As players we understand well, what is needed, shots that we need to play, and from a bowling perspective knowing the right lines and lengths, so we have adapted pretty well,” Pollard said in a press release after the team’s training session at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

“But as I always say, all these things count for nothing when it’s the Eliminator because before the start of the game there is pressure as you know if you lose you get knocked out. But for me, it’s not only another game of cricket but one that you should relish as a cricketer in these scenarios to bring out your best after what you have done to get to this stage,” he added.

Pollard has been one of the main forces in the team after being the second highest run-getter in the tournament so far, while UAE opener Muhammad Waseem, Dwayne Bravo, Trent Boult and leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who could be the trump card for MI Emirates at the spin-friendly Sharjah pitch.

“We have been tested, at times we have played very good cricket, also made some elementary mistakes and these things do happen, but overall the first target in any tournament is to get to the play-offs, and to get there with one or two games to go before the end of the league phase was a good job by the team,” said the Trinidadian.

Adam Zampa (right) has been spinning a web around his rivals and the Australian leg-spinner should play a big role in the Eliminator on Thursday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai Capitals, on the other hand, hoping that the change in leadership brings a change in luck, which happened as Yousuf Pathan guided them to a crucial win in Dubai in their final league encounter against MI Emirates should give them the psychological edge in the knockout game.

Capitals' spin duo

The middle order was a concern for the Capitals until Dasun Shanka and Sikandar Raza forged an unbroken 122-run partnership to give Dubai team the crucial two points that took them into the play-offs.

For Capitals the spin duo of Raza and Adam Zampa, who has been providing the turning points for his team since his arrival midway through the tournament. The Australian leg-spinner so far claimed nine wickets in the four matches he has played so far.

“We played well against MI Emirates in our two league encounters. We are going to face them again, but this game will be in a different phase of the tournament. We’ll look to keep playing good cricket,” said skipper Yousuf Pathan in a team statement.

“We watched the match between Sharjah Warriors and Gulf Giants. We were following everything that was happening in the game. The result was unfortunate for the Warriors, but it was a positive for us and we qualified for the play-offs. From here on, we are looking to replicate the performance we put up in our last game against MI Emirates.”

The spinners could deliver the knockout blow to their rivals.