ILT20 2023: MI Emirates beat Dubai Capitals to set their clash with Gulf Giants in 2nd Qualifier

MI Emirates will now lock horns with Gulf Giants in the 2nd Qualifier with the final's spot at stake.

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ILT20. (Photo Source: Twitter/ILT20)

The Keiron Pollard-led MI Emirates stormed into the the Qualifier 2 round after thumping the Dubai Capitals quite convincingly. Courtesy of  blazing half centuries from the Caribbean pair of Andre Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran, Emirates defeated Capitals by eight wickets.

During their run chase,  Emirates had lost their opener Muhammad Waseem and Lorcan Tucker cheaply and were struggling at 48/2 in 7 overs. However, the Carribbean calypso from Fletcher-Pooran duo stitched an unbeaten stand (104 runs in 61 balls) to take their side home with 20 balls to spare. Fletcher's inning comprised 4 fours and 4 sixes (68) while Pooran remained unbeaten where he smashed 3 fours and 5 maximums (66 off 36 balls).

Meanwhile, George Munsey's fifty (51 off 43) and handy contributions from Sikandar Raza (38 off 34) and Rovman Powell (30 off 22)  in the first innings, which piloted Dubai Capitals to 151/5 in 20 overs. Though it didn't proved enough for them in the end.

Speaking of bowling contributions, for MI Emirates, Rashid Khan and Trent Boult took 2 wickets each while DJ Bravo picked 1 wicket. Notably, skipper Kieron Pollard from Mumbai Emirates had won the toss and chose to take the field first in  the eliminator of the ILT20 against the Dubai Capitals in Sharjah.

After the match, in the post presser, the MI Emirates' bowling coach, Vinay Kumar shared his views on the side's performance, Rashid Khan's addition and much more.

Here are the excerpts from the interview-

Q. There are two parts to this question one, Rashid Khan's addition to the squad, especially in the latest stage in the knockouts, how important is he for the team? And we saw his performance. So obviously. And the second part to the question Is he was captaining a different Mumbai Indian side in an ongoing league in South Africa. He has come here to play for this team, do you think it is a conflict of interest?

Vinay: Actually, he came as a replacement for McKiney Clarke. Having him is a great asset for us because of the way he performs whenever he is given an opportunity and has always performed. And it's really great to have him by your side.

 Q. Just going into the match tomorrow, what is going to be the mindset? How difficult is it going to be to play these back-to-back matches and then win them as well to make it to the finals? What is going to be the talk amongst players in the dressing room?

Vinay: So, it's very simple. We're focusing on one game at a time. Definitely it's going to be a big game, and with the kind of squad we have, most of them are mature enough to understand the importance of the game, and we don't have much time, but it's all about how they want to take care of their bodies, and definitely we would love to win this tournament, for tomorrow's game is very crucial for us. As I said, with that experience, they know how to take care of it. Yeah, the talks in the dressing room are like, "Take it one game at a time." Just treat it as another game, and just go and do your best.

Q. I'm curious about Kieron Pollard. For a long time, he has struggled to get runs with his bat, so before this league began, what was the planning and approach that was put in place for him? He has left the IPL and is playing here, so what is the thought process behind his practice, him scoring fifties, hitting those big sixes, he has three fifties in this league as well; can you talk us through it? 

Vinay: For big players, one or two innings is enough for them to get back to their form. Like before this tournament, Pollard was practising here like what he normally used to do in a routine. Basically, like I said, one good inning is more than enough for them to get back to their form. For him, the hunger is the same, like when he comes to bat, any ball that comes into his zone, he is always ready to hit it, and that hunger is there. Also, as a captain, leading the team from the front is a benefit for the team; so many of the youngsters look forward to him because of the way he prepares for the game, and when the captain is taking the lead, other jobs are taken care of very easily.

Q. Dubai and Abu Dhabi pitches are really good, but the Sharjah pitch isn't really tailor-made for T20s. So, what's your take on that?

Vinay: So definitely, it's a different wicket; we have seen many high-scoring games here and many low-scoring games also. You must adapt yourself depending on how we get going to behave accordingly, and this wicket is definitely different from the other two. And yeah, after playing so much cricket, guys need to adjust for that.

 Q. Hello, I actually had the same question about the pitch. Because when you guys were batting, it seemed like you guys were playing on a different pitch altogether. While the other team they struggled. So, what do you have to say about that? Did the pitch get better as the game progressed? What do you have to say about that?

Vinay: Maybe the wicket got a little better, and the way we bowled as a team, it was really good. You can see in the first six overs how they are bowled and the areas in which we kept bowling. That is what is required in this type of wicket because we can't trust the bounce because the balls are staying low, so those areas are critical. It was like keeping low. It was coming naturally to the bat, but the bounce was very high.

 Q. Of course, it was Pooran and Fletcher who pulled the trigger, but if you look at the bowling, first and foremost, Boult and Rashid Khan combined to concede 39 runs and take four wickets out of five, so how do you interpret their performance in your victory? 

Vinay: They are the top performers because that’s what they do. Definitely getting those early wickets in the powerplay is crucial for any bowling attack, and once the powerplay is over, they will keep on hitting the areas with that length. As we discussed, in T20 cricket, it's all about getting wickets, and you can't do that as a bowler if you think, "Let me not get hit." Then it's a different kind of mindset. If you look for wickets, there's always a positive vibe, and even if you get one or two boundaries or six, they will be in the game. So, it worked, as we have such a great bowling line-up. It's all about sticking to their strengths, and whenever given the opportunity, they'll go for it.

The DP World ILT20 made its debut at the Dubai International Stadium on 13 January 2023. Some of the greatest cricketing superstars have made their way to the UAE to play in the inaugural edition of the league. The tournament is currently being played in a 34-match format across the UAE’s exemplary, world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Franchise teams, comprising over 100 International and 24 UAE-based players, include Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Knight Riders Group), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).   

 Cricket fans across the world can catch the LIVE telecast of this exciting cricket league on ZEE's linear channels, digital platform, Zee5 as well as Zee Cinema SD, Zee Cinema HD, Zee Anmol Cinema, &Pictures HD, &Flix SD, &Flix HD, Zee Zest SD, Zee Zest HD, Zee Bangla Cinema, Zee Thirai, and on CricLife across the UAE and MENA regions.

 Playoff Schedule:

10 February: Qualifier 2 – Gulf Giants vs MI Emirates- 7:30pm

12 February: Dessert Vipers v Winner Q2- 7:30pm

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