DP World ILT20: UAE’s Waseem lifts MI Emirates past Sharjah Warriors

He produced a spectacular knock of 71, while Imran Tahir took 3 for 26

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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Muhammad Waseem of MI Emirates plays a shot against the Sharjah Warriors in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. — DP World ILT20
Muhammad Waseem of MI Emirates plays a shot against the Sharjah Warriors in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. — DP World ILT20

Published: Sat 14 Jan 2023, 10:40 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 Jan 2023, 2:30 AM

To bat first or to bowl has been the perennial problem that captains have had to grapple with upon winning the toss, but MI Emirates skipper Kieren Pollard had no doubt what his decision would be after taking one look at the Zayed Stadium pitch on Saturday.

The veteran of over 500 T20 matches had no hesitation in giving his experienced batting line-up first use of the green top, a decision that went a long way in helping his team secure a comfortable 49-run victory over the Sharjah Warriors in the second match of the inaugural DP World International League T20 (ILT20).


With UAE national team player Muhammad Waseem seizing the opportunity to display his skills with an attacking knock of 71 off just 39 deliveries, Emirates cruised to a compelling total of 205 for the loss of five wickets in their quota of 20 overs.

It was always going to be a big ask for the Moeen Ali-led Sharjah Warriors, who could only muster 155 for nine before running out of overs.


Even a late-innings flourish by the irrepressible England star Chris Woakes (62 runs off 29 balls) failed to ward off a defeat that will leave them licking their wounds and wondering what went wrong.

Was it the toss or the way that they applied themselves to the match will be debated in the hours before they return to action on Sunday where they will hope to make amends when they play?

Pollard, the retired Windies captain, who is currently the batting coach for top IPL outfit Mumbai Indians, summed it up perfectly when he said in his post-match comments that the toss would always make the difference between winning and losing.

“It was a good wicket to bat on and with the start that we got we only had to keep the moment going and to finish the innings well,” he said but had a word of caution that it was only the start of the tournament and that nothing could be taken for granted.

“You just can't come up and play one good game, you have to be consistent,” said the 37-year-old West Indian. “This is cricket and we know how things go in a tournament that has just started.

“You can win some and lose some, but as a team, for us, we need to be consistent and continue to play well.”

With so many stars, both past and present, decorating both the emirates and Sharjah squads it was always going to be an entertaining match right from Waseem’s Player of the Match winning knock to Woakes' prize-winning all-round performance (62 runs and 2 for 23).

However, the cameo of the evening came from former South African star Imran Tahir, who picked up three wickets for just 26 runs in a magical spell that tore through the Sharjah middle-order.

Currently enjoying retirement following a colourful career, where he became South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs and T20s, Tahir rolled back the years much to the delight of his teammates and fans around the world.

Now 43 years old, an age when most sportsmen take to the sitting room couch, Tahir still boats tons of enthusiasm and spirit as was evident when he celebrated each of his wickets with his trademark running celebration that earned him the nickname ‘Marathon Man.

Supporting roles came courtesy of former Windies wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran (49 off 40 balls), Big Bash star Andre Fletcher (22 off 20 balls), and Pollard himself (22 not out of 13 balls).

Barring Woakes, only Sharjah Warriors Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz (43 of 31 balls) offered some resistance to dominant MI Emirates.

With over 350 runs coming off the bat, thanks to a flurry of mighty sixes, including a 94-metre hit by DJ Bravo that won him a $1,500 award.

Less than 24 hours after entertaining fans during the opening ceremony of the tournament where he sang and danced with his band, the former West Indian star helped add spark to an electrifying match that has set the tone for the inaugural ILT20.

Brief scores:

MI Emirates beat Sharjah Warriors by 49 runs.

MI Emirates: 204-5 (Muhammad Waseem 71, Andre Fletcher 22, Nicholas Pooran 49, Kieron Pollard 22 not out, Dwyane Bravo 21 not out, Chris Woakes 2-23; Junaid Siddiqui 2-41)

Sharjah Warriors: 155-8 (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 43, Chris Woakes 62; Fazalhaq Farooqi 2-27, Imran Tahir 3-26, Dwayne Bravo 2-13)

Player of Match ($1500): Muhammad Waseem

DP World Smart delivery of the day ($1500): Fazalhaq Farooqi

Fairplay News biggest hit of the match: Dwayne Bravo

Skytech.Net Super 4s of the match: Chris Woakes

TODAY'S MATCHES

> Abu Dhabi Knight Riders vs Gulf Giants, 2 pm, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

> Desert Vipers vs Sharjah Warriors, 6 pm, Dubai International Stadium, Dubai


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