Abu Dhabi: Sharjah Warriors crashed before the might of table toppers MI Emirates and succumbed to an eight-wicket defeat in the 18th match of the DP World ILT20 season 2 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday. Emirates displayed their bowling skills to restrict Warriors to 129 through left-arm spinners Waqar Salamkheil (3 for 18) and Akeal Hoesin (2 for 20). They spun a web around Warriors’ batters to strangle their run flow, while experienced pacer Trent Boult chipped in with two wickets for 29.
Except for Johnson Charles who hit 29 off 31 balls with three boundaries and a six, and Williams’ 35 off 25 balls with three boundaries and a six, none of the Warriors’ batters could rise to the challenge.
MI Emirates then exhibited their batting might too and breezed to the target in 11.1 overs. UAE skipper and MI Emirates opener Muhammad Waseem played an exquisite knock filled with audacious strokes. He hit Chris Woakes for two consecutive boundaries in the first over and then went on to thrash Mark Watt for three sixes and two boundaries and take 27 runs off his over. When Kusal Perera too hit two boundaries off Woakes, MI Emirates reached the 50-run mark in just three overs. The way the pair smashed the attack it looked like they were racing as to who would be the first to reach their half century.
Left-arm pacer Muhammad Jawadullah got Waseem out caught at mid-wicket by Williams for 37. His knock off 13 balls had four boundaries and three sixes. He put on 80 runs in 5.3 overs. Perera too followed clean-bowled by James Fuller for 47 off 27 balls with five boundaries and two sixes. Skipper Nicholas Pooran (24n.o) and Andre Fletcher (22n.o) steered their team smoothly to the target with 53 balls to spare.
Earlier, MI Emirates, who had bowled out Warriors for 74 and won by 106 runs in their previous match, won the toss and elected to bowl. Warriors opener Charles hit the first aggressive shot by smashing Boult for a six over deep mid-wicket and a boundary to mid-on in the second over. Opener Niroshan Dickwella then hit two successive boundaries off Hosein in the third over. Boult stopped Dickwella, whose flick took a top edge and got caught by Hosein at mid-on for 17. Charles, on 18, would have followed, but Hosein dropped an easy catch at mid-on off Fazalhaq Faooqi.
One-drop Mark Deyal lasted only seven balls to score nine runs before falling to Salamkheil. In the eighth over, Hosein struck twice to trap Charles (29), and Basil Hameed leg before with successive deliveries. This put a break on the run flow and at the half way mark, Warriors were struggling at 62 for 4. For 31 balls, Warriors could not score any boundaries until Sean Williams scored one off Muhammad Rohid in the 12th over. In the 14th over, Salamkheil struck off successive deliveries trapping Lewis Greogory leg before for 11 and clean bowled Daniel Sams.
Williams and James Fuller pushed the score to 106 by the 15th over, but Farooqi clean bowled Fuller for 4. Boult took his second wicket clean bowling Williams, who scored a fighting 35 runs, and Warriors were thus bowled out for a slender total of 74.
MI Emirates skipper Nicholas Pooran hailed his team stating: “It was just about picking ourselves up after our last game. The guys have been fantastic. Every bowler has been excellent. We played here last year and gained a lot of knowledge. Tonight, we thought spin would play a part. We thought Akeal's natural variation would help. Same for Salamkheil as well. I mean whether we experiment or not, the goal is to win.”
Lewis Gregory, who captained Warriors, said: “It was a tough night for us. Although we got off to a decent start, we lost wickets in clumps. We did not quite get going in the middle overs. But Sean played brilliantly for us. No one else got going.”
MI Emirates bt Sharjah Warriors by 8 wkts. Sharjah Warriors 129 in 20 overs (Johnson Charles 29, Sean Williams 35, Akeal Hosein 2 for 20, Trent Boult 2 for 29, Waqar Salamkheil 3 for 18) MI Emirates 133 for 2 in 11.1 overs (Muhammad Waseem 37, Kusal Perera 47, Andre Fletcher 22n.o, Nicholas Pooran 24n.o)
Player of the Match: Waqar Salamkheil