UAE bowlers Junaid, Akif take ILT20 by storm

UAE pace bowlers Junaid Siddique and Akif Raja have put up fantastic performances at the DP World International League T20

By Team KT

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Junaid Siddique of Sharjah Warriors celebrates the wicket of Bhanuka Rajapaksa of Dubai Capitals. — Supplied photo
Junaid Siddique of Sharjah Warriors celebrates the wicket of Bhanuka Rajapaksa of Dubai Capitals. — Supplied photo

Published: Fri 27 Jan 2023, 8:37 PM

The UAE fast bowlers Junaid Siddique and Akif Raja have impressed with their skills and wicket-taking ability at the inaugural edition of the DP World International League T20.

Sharjah Warriors’ Siddique, who is currently the second highest wicket-taker in the competition with nine scalps, expressed that he has looked to make batting difficult for MI Emirates captain Kieron Pollard.


“There are so many superstars in this tournament. The DP World ILT20 is a big opportunity to learn something different. Pollard is a T20 legend and I have got him out a few times. I have always looked to make batting difficult for him whenever I bowled against him,” Siddique said.

The fast bowler, who produced his best bowling figures of two for four in the tournament against Dubai Capitals in Sharjah on Thursday, added, “Naveen-ul-Haq and Chris Woakes have shared their experience with me. They have also shared tips with me and have spoken to me about how to bowl in difficult situations. The captain and the coaching staff have shown trust in my abilities and given me the big opportunity of being a frontline bowler for the Warriors.”


Meanwhile, pacer Akif Raja, who has picked up six wickets in six matches in the DP World ILT20, is enjoying every moment in the spotlight.

Akif Raja of Dubai Capitals bowls during the match against the Gulf Giants. — Supplied photo
Akif Raja of Dubai Capitals bowls during the match against the Gulf Giants. — Supplied photo

“The tournament is going great for me. I am enjoying it a lot. It feels really great to dismiss good batters. I always try to get good batters out. I can help my team win if I can get the good batters out.”

Raja, who produced his best performance of two for 20 against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, spoke about bowling during the winter in the UAE.

“The ball swings a lot during the winter months in the UAE. And you'll get wickets if you bowl stump to stump. I try to bring the batter forward and try to get him out caught behind or LBW. I consider myself a wicket-taking bowler. And our coach has given me the freedom to go for wickets,” he said.

Today's matches

Sharjah Warriors vs Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

Sharjah Cricket Stadium

2 pm UAE Time

Dubai Capitals vs Desert Vipers

Dubai International Stadium

6 pm UAE Time

Match abandoned

The game between Gulf Giants and MI Emirates at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday was abandoned due to rain.


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