Muhammad Waseem's fifty in vain as Dubai Capitals overpower MI Emirates in ILT20

David Warner's team ease to seven-wicket win in Dubai on Saturday

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Star Australian batsman David Warner enjoyed the perfect start as captain in the DP World International League T20 as Dubai Capitals eased past MI Emirates in Dubai on Saturday.

The Capitals were set a target of 160 at the Dubai International Stadium and did not look in trouble at any moment. Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashed a belligerent 81 from just 39 balls with eight boundaries and four sixes to help chase down the target with four overs and seven wickets in hand.

Jake Fraser-McGurk also played his part with a 25-ball 54 to extinguish any MI Emirates hopes after new captain Warner was dismissed early by Trent Boult (2-23).

All eyes were on Warner as he has turned his full attention to franchise cricket, having retired from Tests and ODIs. But it was Afghanistan dasher Gurbaz who set the stage alight, which is no surprise as he is one of the most impactful white-ball players in the world.

MI Emirates must have had high hopes batting first after their opener and UAE captain Muhammad Waseem continued the great form he showed in 2023 by smashing 51 from just 26 balls.

Waseem was the fourth-highest run getter in the inaugural season and also the only batsman to hit 100 maximums in international cricket last year. And he looked good for more than the four sixes he hit on Saturday.

But he fell to the wily spin of Sikandar Raza. The Zimbabwe all-rounder has become hot property in franchise cricket, with his top-class batting ability and mystery spin proving an attractive option; he recently bagged his first T20 Blast contract.

Once Waseem was dismissed, the wheels began to come off. Raza (3-21) was the pick of the bowlers as he got the dangerous Nicolas Pooran out bowled. Windies all-rounder Jason Holder was the other key contributor for the Capitals, picking up 3-36.

The match attracted a decent number of fans, most probably because of the activation at the grassroots level by the league, and also because of the presence of Bollywood star and Knight Riders franchise owner Shah Rukh Khan at the Dubai International Stadium.

Updated: January 20, 2024, 6:44 PM