MI Emirates made a power move ahead of the season finale of the DP World International League T20 as they unveiled Rashid Khan as a new recruit on Thursday.
The Afghan leg-spinner had been playing for MI Cape Town, the sister team of the Abu Dhabi-based outfit, until Tuesday.
However, after they failed to make the playoffs of the new SA20 competition, Khan jetted to the UAE to help out MI’s ILT20 title push.
He was immediately installed in their XI to face Dubai Capitals in the eliminator playoff at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
They promptly coasted to an eight-wicket win to set up a Friday night clash with Gulf Giants in Dubai, the winners of which will advance to Sunday’s final against Desert Vipers.
By his usual spectacular standards, Khan’s influence on proceedings was little more than moderate. His two for 20 from four overs is about standard for a T20 great who is fully au fait with conditions in the UAE, even if he was so recently arrived from abroad.
MI had only muddled through to the playoffs in third place in the points table, but they sent out a message to both the Giants and the Vipers in the manner of their win over the Capitals.
All of their stars stood up. Khan, who will face the UAE in a three-game T20I series for Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi next week, did as he always does, as he accounted for George Munsey and Yusuf Pathan.
Trent Boult’s figures were even more impressive, as he took two for 19. Dwayne Bravo accounted for Rovman Powell, the danger-man of the Capitals batting line up.
Then, having been set 152 to win, MI’s batting powerhouses clicked into gear, too. Nicholas Pooran and Andre Fletcher shared an unbroken century partnership in a little over 10 overs as MI raced to their target.
Fletcher made an unbeaten 68 in 45 balls at the top of the order. At the other end his West Indian batting partner was not out after 66 in 36 balls as victory was sealed.