Skipper Rovman Powell with brilliant all-round performance (29-ball 48 and 2 wickets) led Dubai Capitals to a thumping 73-run victory over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the opening match of the inaugural International League T20 at the Dubai International Stadium, here on Friday night.
Powell’s aim to win the campaigner opener was well supported by opener Robin Uthappa (43) and quick knocks of 26 runs each from opener Joe Root and all-rounder Sikandar Raza as Capitals posted an impressive total of 187 for 6 in 20 overs.
Thereafter, Powell (2 for 15) along with Akif Raja (2 for 20) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2 for 16) restricted Abu Dhabi Riders to 114 for 9 in 20 overs, for a massive win. Another highlight of Dubai Capitals’ splendid win was Root’s four catches.
Uthappa, opening the innings along with Root, put on 35 runs for the first wicket. Root was the first to go, falling to Ali Khan, the right-arm medium pacer from the United States of America. Khan forced Root to pull into the hands of UAE’s Zawar Farid at deep square leg for 26.
Sri Lanka’s star player Bhanuka Rajapaksa lasted only nine balls to score nine runs before giving an easy high catch to Sunil Narine off Russell. At the halfway mark, Dubai Capitals were 62 for 2 with skipper Powell joining Uthappa.
Skipper Narine, who bowled the 12th over, was pulled by Uthappa over mid-wicket for a six but Narine had him bowled with the last ball. Uthappa’s 43 came off 33 balls with three boundaries and two sixes.
Then began the Powell show. He hit Ali Khan, who was introduced again in the 13th over, for 21 runs which included two sixes. At the end of the 15th over, Dubai Capitals were 120 for 3.
Narine bowled a tight 16th over giving away just five runs. Powell slapped Rampaul’s first delivery to deep point for a six and also picked a boundary off the third. He fell to the fifth ball pulling into the hands of Colin Ingram at deep mid-wicket for 48 off 29 balls with three boundaries and three sixes. It was Sikandar Raza, who swelled the total through a quick 26.
Chasing a run rate of 9.35, Abu Dhabi lost an early wicket when Colin Ingram fell to the last ball of the first over from Isuru Udana, edging to Root at first slip for 1.
Ingram’s opening partner Paul Stirling too would have fallen to the first ball of the second over from UAE medium pacer Hazrat Luqman had Bopara at overs not dropped him. Stirling celebrated his luck pulling Luqman for a boundary. Udana then bowled a tight third over giving away just seven runs.
Luqman yielded a six and a boundary to Stirling in the fourth over but Akif Raja who bowled the fifth over had Brandon King caught behind by wicketkeeper Uthappa for 8. Stirling kept the scoreboard moving despite two wickets down for 31 by pulling Raja for a six.
Zawar Farid who joined Stirling picked a boundary off Mujeeb Ur Rehman. Abu Dhabi at the halfway mark were 71 for 3 when Farid got out to Powell for 9, with the team requiring to score 117 from the last ten overs.
Stirling reached his half century in 36 balls but Powell struck again to remove the danger man in the 12th over. Stirling caught by Root at long-on for 54 and his knock off 38 balls had five boundaries and two sixes. When Sikandar Raza struck to remove Sunil Narine caught by Root for 4, half the Abu Dhabi side was back in the dug-out for 84.
All eyes turned towards Andrew Russell but UAE’s Hazrat Luqman had him out caught by Root at long-off to end Abu Dhabi’s hopes.
Brief scores: Dubai Capitals 187-6 in 20 overs (Rovman Powell 48, Robin Uthappa 43; Ravi Rampaul 2-36) beat Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 114-9 in 20 overs (Paul Stirling 54; Rovman Powell 2-15) by 73 runs.