DP World ILT20: Powell powers Dubai Capitals to historic win

It was an all-round and clinical performance by the cohesive Dubai Capitals


James Jose

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Sikandar Raza of Dubai Capitals plays a shot at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. — Photo by Rahul Gajjar
Sikandar Raza of Dubai Capitals plays a shot at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. — Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Published: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 11:01 PM

It was a night of many firsts, firsts that one would remember fondly. It was a historic occasion as it was the first match of the new T20 league, UAE’s very own league — the DP World ILT20. And the Dubai Capitals inscribed their names in history, winning the opening match of this T20 gig.

The Dubai Capitals eked out a comprehensive 73-run verdict against the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday night.

It was an all-round and clinical performance by the cohesive Dubai Capitals unit but the man who did the star turn was their captain himself — Rovman Powell.

After top scoring 48 from 29 deliveries that was embellished with three sixes and an equal number of boundaries, the West Indian snapped up two wickets for 15 runs in the two overs that he bowled.

And the faith that Powell showed in his bowlers — especially the UAE medium pacers Akif Raja and Hazrat Luqman — reaped dividends.

Raja, who debuted for the UAE against USA last year, picked up two wickets, while Luqman, who was thrust into the big stage from virtually out of nowhere, took a wicket. Afghanistan off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman too returned with two wickets.

That meant that the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders chase of a 188 target was snuffed out despite Paul Stirling cracking the first half-century of the tournament. The burly Irishman conjured 54 from 38 deliveries that was studded with five boundaries and two sixes.

But it was an abject failure from the rest of the batting line-up as they finished up at 114-9.

Earlier, Indian batsman Robin Uthappa and West Indian Ravi Rampaul made a slice of history. Uthappa, the former international, faced the first ball of the league from Rampaul, five minutes before the clock turned seven.

And Uthappa, who announced his retirement from all forms of Indian cricket last September, came up with the second highest score of the Dubai Capitals innings, a well-paced 43 from 33 deliveries during which he knocked three boundaries and two sixes.

The 37-year-old gloveman anchored the innings after the Capitals had encountered a bit of a blip. Thereafter, Powell and Sikandar Raza provided the acceleration in the mid-part after which Ravi Bopara and Isuru Udana came up with late fireworks as the Dubai Capitals served up a strong 187 on the plate.

Following a brief hold up due to a distraction behind the sight screen, the umpire announced play and it was Abu Dhabi Knight Riders who started well with Rampaul keeping things tight in the opening over.

Rampaul beat Uthappa off the fifth ball but it just missed the outside edge as just two came off the first over.

Uthappa’s partner, former England skipper Joe Root, kept things ticking as the former tried to play himself in.

Root, who opted to play in the league to best prepare for the ODI World Cup to be staged in India in October-November this year, hit a couple of boundaries off Akeal Hosein, either side of Rampaul’s over before pulling the left-arm spinner for the first six of the tournament.

The pair came up with an almost a run-a-ball partnership of 35 before Root’s enterprising knock came to an end when he was caught by UAE’s Zawar Farid off Ali Khan for a 21-ball 26 that had two boundaries and an equal number of sixes.

Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa fell for nine which left the Capitals on 58-2. Uthappa and Powell put on 26 from 22 deliveries and although Uthappa missed out on becoming the first half-centurion of the league, Powell stepped on the gas.

After Uthappa had made 43 from 33 deliveries studded with three boundaries and two sixes, Powell gave Dubai Capitals the impetus. And giving his skipper equal support was Sikandar Raza.

As Powell powered through with a ruthless assault, Zimbabwean Raza clubbed a 17-ball 26 that had two sixes and a boundary.

Powell and Raza alliance for the fourth wicket was worth 51 and it came from just 28 deliveries. And in the context of things, it was a crucial partnership that eventually turned out to be a match-winning one.

Bopara and Udana threw their bat around with a 4-ball 12 and 3-ball 11 respectively as they ended up with a total that was more than enough in the end.

Rampaul and Ali Khan finished up with two wickets apiece.

Brief scores:

Dubai Capitals beat Abu Dhabi Knight Riders by 73 runs

Dubai Capitals: 181-6 (Rovman Powell 48, Robin Uthappa 43, Sikandar Raza 26, Joe Root 26, Ravi Bopara 12 not out, Isuru Udana 11 not out; Ravi Rampaul 2-36, Ali Khan 2-45)

Abu Dhabi Knight Riders: 114-9 (Paul Stirling 54, Andre Russell 12; Rovman Powell 2-15, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2-16, Akif Raja 2-20).

Today's match

MI Emirates vs Sharjah Warriors

Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

6 pm UAE Time

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