The fact MI Emirates hit the ground running in their first outing in the DP World International League T20 was no surprise.
After all, they are bringing with them all the expertise of the Indian Premier League’s most successful franchise.
They are owned by Reliance Industries, who are more famously the proprietors of Mumbai Indians.
Their captain, Kieron Pollard, is one of the main factors behind that franchise’s greatness.
They have brought with them to the UAE the nous of fellow short form masters like Nicholas Pooran, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir, and Trent Boult.
So the sight of them steamrollering Sharjah Warriors on Abu Dhabi’s opening night of ILT20 action, to the tune of a 49-run win, was no shock.
Less predictable to fans of the game from beyond cricket’s mainstream, though, might have been the identity of the player on whom their success was founded.
Maybe not everybody already knew about Muhammad Waseem before, given that he earns in living in UAE cricket.
But he has done his best to be noticed in the few opportunities he has had on bigger stages. He has two T20I centuries to his name, two winners’ medals in the Abu Dhabi T10, and one in the Pakistan Super League.
His blitz on ILT20 debut was more or less standard practice. The UAE opener laced 71 in 39 balls to set MI Emirates on the path to victory.
He hit five sixes. Some were so savage, they left his celebrated colleagues Pooran and Pollard awed.
His effort was the platform for MI’s total of 204 for five, which was a mammoth score given the vast dimensions of Zayed Cricket Stadium’s playing area.
Sharjah never got anywhere near in reply, with Bravo and Tahir bringing their experience to bear. They added three and two respectively to their enviable career tallies.
And yet, even with the ball, the pick of the MI Emirates players was one of the mandated two home-based players.
Zahoor Khan was immaculate as he went for just 15 from his four overs, as the competition's powerhouse side closed out a comfortable win.