MI Emirates prove a cut above the Giants to reach ILT20 final

MI Emirates prove a cut above the Giants to reach ILT20 final
MI Emirates prove a cut above the Giants to reach ILT20 final

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - : MI Emirates, the most impressive team in the International League T20 this season, went head-to-head with the Gulf Giants in the Qualifier 1 knockout match on Wednesday and served up a masterclass at short-form cricket.

The Emirates won by 44 runs and secured their route directly to the ILT20 final, while the Giants will get another shot at glory in the Qualifier 2 against the winner of Tuesday’s Eliminator round, the Dubai Capitals.

Although MI Emirates lost their first match in the group stage, they won their next four, placing them in a leading position. A loss in their sixth match to the Desert Vipers was followed by another win to secure a top-four position. Losses in the final two matches displeased the captain, who was concerned about developing a losing habit. Nevertheless, MI Emirates topped the table, but only on run rate from the Giants.

After six matches, the Giants had won only two out of six matches and were struggling to reach the top four. However, victory in each of their remaining three matches was sufficient to not only secure a top-four slot, but place them second to MI Emirates on run rate.

A strong wind blew around the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday, but it seemed to have little effect inside as MI Emirates flew to 34 for no loss after four overs, aided by three misfields.

Dan Worrall then found swing, Muhammad Waseem being bowled as the ball bounced back from his body into the stumps. The next ball took the inside edge of Andre Fletcher’s bat and cut back onto the stumps and the score was 35 for two after five overs.

In the seventh over, Worrall persuaded Kusal Perera to slash at and edge a ball moving wide of the off stump to the keeper. Nicholas Pooran and Dwayne Bravo eased the score to 94 before Pooran was caught deep on the legside in the 13th over. Bravo followed in the 15th, with the score at 115 for five. This brought two hard hitters together, Kieron Pollard and Tim David.

The pair played in controlled fashion, aided by more misfields, taking 10 per over up to the final over, from which 13 was scored, despite the loss of David. They posted a total of 162.

Giants’ response got off to the worst possible start. Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein’s first ball turned sharply inwards, comprehensively penetrating James Vince’s defense, to hit the stumps.

In the fourth over, Muhammad Rohid bowled Jordan Cox and, in the fifth over, Chris Lynn spooned a ball from Hosein to cover to leave the Giants in trouble on 23 for three.

More trouble followed when Jamie Smith arrowed the ball straight into the hands of the long-on fielder in the ninth over, a situation made worse when Shimron Hetmyer was caught behind off Bravo in the 10th over.

Hetmyer’s dismissal looked to be the final straw for the Giants, a view reinforced by the dismissals in successive balls of Jamie Overton and Usman Khan at the beginning of the 13th over.

At 69 for seven, some resistance from Chris Jordan and Liam Dawson prolonged the innings, but Dawson was out LBW, with the score on 86. Jordan continued his defiance until he was caught on the boundary at long-off for 31, having moved the score onto 111.

The innings was closed on 118, when Worrall was caught at midwicket, MI Emirates easing home by a comfortable margin of 44 runs.

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