Former West Indies white-ball captain, Nicholas Pooran, played a key role as MI Emirates began their ILT20 campaign with a bang, comfortably overpowering Evin Lewis’s Sharjah Warriors to win by 49 runs in the second game of the International League T20 in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
Batting first, MI Emirates posted 204/5. Waseem Muhammad was the star with 39-ball 71.
The first five overs produced 39 runs. Fletcher accelerated the run flow in the sixth over hitting Siddiqui for three successive boundaries.
Nicholas Pooran, one of three former West Indies white-ball captains in MI’s middle order, was a useful foil, making 49 before holing out to Denly at deep midwicket, with Najibullah Zadran beaten for pace first ball, top-edging Junaid Siddique to Gurbaz for his third catch.
Dwayne Bravo (21 not out off 10 balls) and Kieron Pollard (22 not out off 13 balls) ensured no earlier momentum was lost, though, continuing the onslaught through to the end of their 20 overs.
Bravo then took 2 for 13 and Fletcher 1 for 20 as MI Emirates restricted Sharjah Warriors to 155 for 9.
Imran Tahir had 3 for 26, while Evin Lewis was out for a four-ball duck for the Warriors.
In bowling, Chris Woakes had taken the early wicket of Will Smeed (2) and then returned to have Andre Fletcher well caught behind by Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Sharjah stuttered in the chase as they lost wickets at regular intervals. In the end, they could only manage 155/9 with Imran Tahir bagging three wickets.
Chasing a run rate of 10.20, Sharjah opener Evin Lewis got out for a duck playing Fazalhaq Farooqi on to his wicket.
One-drop Dawid Malan too fell trapped leg before to the first ball from Farooqi forcing skipper Moeen Ali to face the fifth ball of the second over and avoid a hat trick.
Then opener Gurbaz and Ali began the damage repair. Gurbaz did majority of the scoring hitting Trent Boult for two successive boundaries and a six in the sixth over.
Ali, after adding 49 runs for the third wicket, fell to Bravo hitting into the hands of Fletcher at long-on.
Gurbaz too followed, bowled by Bravo for 43 off 31 balls with seven boundaries.
At the halfway mark, Sharjah were 69 for 4 needing another 136 from the last ten overs, The required run rate too rose to 13.60.
Imran Tahir clean bowled Tom Kohler-Cadmore for 10, had Joe Denly caught by Pollard at long on for 9, and had Nabi caught behind by Pooran for 3 to ensure MI Emirates a comfortable win.
Chris Woakes hit a fighting 62 off 29 balls with nine boundaries and two sixes to delay MI Emirates’ victory.