MI Emirates outclass Dubai Capitals to clinch maiden ILT20 title

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The Dubai International Stadium shimmered for one final showdown as the Dubai Capitals won the toss and opted to field. Yet, their plans quickly unraveled against the MI Emirates as openers Kusal Perera and Muhammed Waseem unleashed a brutal assault, accumulating 72 runs without loss by the end of the powerplay.

Both Perera and Waseem showed no mercy to the Capitals’ bowlers, particularly targeting Olly Stone and Jason Holder, who conceded 14 runs each in their initial overs. However, Zahir Khan intervened, breaking the 77-run opening partnership by dismissing Waseem in the seventh over.

Despite the setback, the Emirates’ onslaught persisted with Perera and Andre Fletcher steering their team to 98/1 by the 10th over. Nevertheless, Sikandar Raza, a key asset for Dubai, provided the Capitals with their second breakthrough by removing the dangerous Perera at 112/2 in the 13th over.

Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran then propelled the MI batting to 158/3 in 16.4 overs, with Fletcher completing a splendid half-century off just 33 deliveries before departing in the 17th over. Pooran’s explosive innings of 57 runs off 27 balls further bolstered the Emirates’ total to an imposing 208/2 in 20 overs.

In pursuit of a daunting 209-run target on a challenging Dubai pitch, the Capitals suffered an early setback with the loss of Leus du Plooy in the first over. Tom Abell and Tom Banton provided some stability with a 37-run partnership, guiding the Capitals to 37/2 in 4.5 overs.

However, Muhammad Rohid Khan struck, dismissing Abell with a simple catch by Kieron Pollard, leaving the Capitals in a precarious position. At the conclusion of the powerplay, the Capitals stood at 47/2, with skipper Sam Billings and Banton endeavoring to rebuild.

Following Banton’s departure in the ninth over, Billings assumed an aggressive stance alongside Sikandar Raza, propelling the Capitals to 91/3 in 11 overs. Nevertheless, a significant setback occurred as Raza fell to Vijaykanth Viyaskanth. Despite Billings maintaining a brisk strike rate of 143, the Capitals’ hopes dwindled as he departed in the 14th over, with the score at 113/5.

Unfortunately, the Capitals continued to lose wickets, ultimately managing to reach 163/7 in 20 overs. In a commanding performance, the MI Emirates clinched a resounding 45-run victory, securing the prestigious title of the new International League T20 champions.

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