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Muhammad Waseem of MI Emirates plays a shot during the final of the DP World ILT20 against Dubai Capitals last month. Image Credit: CREIMAS/ILT20

Dubai: UAE skipper Muhammad Waseem’s explosive batting has been instrumental in propelling his team to victories. The opener, known for his brisk scoring rate, continued his impressive DP World ILT20 form into the international cricket, scoring an unbeaten 68 in the first Twenty20 against Scotland.

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Apart from his individual exploits, Waseem has a big role of guiding the budding UAE stars and turning them into match winners. That process is aided by ILT20, which has some of the best players in the world.

The 30-year-old expressed his delight on the MI Emirates’ success and the overall impressive performance from UAE’s young cricketers, such as Ali Naseer, Zuhaib Zubair and Muhammad Jawadullah.

Much-needed experience and exposure

“The DP World ILT20 is one of the best leagues in the world, so it is amazing to see them perform to their potential. They are a proof that we have the talent and all we need is the exposure and experience and the DP World ILT20 is helping us bridge that gap.”

Accumulating 321 runs in 12 innings with a strike rate of 148, Waseem finished fourth on the batting chart for the ILT20 second season. Waseem also clinched the prestigious Blue Belt — Best UAE Player — for the second consecutive season. One of his finest knocks was against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders when he scored a resilient 89 off 62 balls setting up an eight-wicket win for his team, ensuring MI Emirates remained in contention right from the start.

Reflecting on his performances in yet another impactful season the right-handed opener said: “It is a source of great pride for me. As the captain of the country’s cricket team, it feels good to do well, especially when it is our own league.”

Skipper Waseem celebrates a wicket with fellow UAE players during the Twenty20 International against Scotland at Dubai International Stadium. Image Credit: Source: EBC Twitter

Overall performance

Speaking on the MI Emirates’s spectacular season, Waseem said: “Last year we did well too but we made some mistakes, which cost us the title. I’m pleased that we won the tournament this year with our overall performance. We excelled in all key areas and that was the difference for us.”

He further added, “We were fortunate to have some very experienced players including the likes of Trent Boult, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard. It’s special to play with these big players. They never make you feel like they are bigger than the game or anyone in the team and they help the whole team move forward.”

On his favourite knock of the tournament, the hard-hitting batter could not look past the final match of the tournament where he imposed his presence at the top of the order with a quickfire 43 runs off just 24 balls, Waseem opined: “I had a few good knocks this season, but the final was definitely my favourite innings. I’m glad I could contribute to the team in a crucial situation.”