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10 best moments from the league stage of DP World ILT20 Season 2

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As DP World ILT20 enters its final week, we take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from the 30-match league stage which offered some nail-biting action for global cricket fans. 

1.Sikander Raza’s dramatic last ball six to win the match

Not many can boast of winning a match for their team with six runs required off the final ball. Dubai Capitals’ Sikander Raza missed the penultimate ball from Desert Vipers’ Ali Naseer when six was required off two balls for the Capitals in Match 27 to continue to have a chance of making it to the play-offs. With six runs needed on the final delivery and the fate of the team’s qualification chances on the line, there was immense pressure on Raza to come through for the Capitals and that is exactly what he did. Ali Naseer bowled a slower ball wide outside off stump, Raza deposited it over long-off and into the stands and celebrated ecstatically as he managed to keep the Capitals’ hopes alive.

2.Azam Khan’s fastest fifty of the tournament

Chasing a target of 161 against the Gulf Giants, the Desert Vipers lost two quick wickets and were placed at 79-3 when in walked Azam Khan. A six off his first ball was a sign of what was to come. Cheered on by a packed stadium in Dubai, Azam Khan tore into the Gulf Giants’ bowling striking five fours and four sixes on his way to reach his half-century in just 18 balls. He took a particular liking towards Carlos Brathwaite as he hit him for two fours and sixes each in the fifteenth over to do dent any hopes the Giants had of winning the game. The Vipers eventually won the game by six wickets

with 19 balls to spare.

3.Shah Rukh Khan’s presence adds to the glamour

Match 3 of the DP World ILT20 was not short of stardom with Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Alex Hales and Wanindu Hasaranga taking the field. However, the fans blew the roof off the stadium when they saw the presence of Shah Rukh Khan, co-owner of the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, in the stands. The Abu Dhabi Knight Riders produced a clinical performance in front of their co-owner to win the match comfortably, much to his delight.

4.Oliver Stone’s dream debut

Match 24 saw Oliver Stone making his ILT20 debut for the Dubai Capitals and it was one to remember. Finishing with figures of 4 for 14 in his quota of four overs, Stone had the batters guessing throughout his spell. His first over in particular was fast bowling at its best as it had pace, swing and immaculate accuracy- the trifecta of fast bowling. Not only was it a maiden over but he also accounted for the wickets of Gulf Giants’ in-form batter Chris Lynn and Jordan Cox who was bowled by an absolute peach. He further went on to pick the wickets of Shimron Hetmyer and Jamie Overton to restrict them to 126-9.

5.Shaheen Afridi’s last ball finish with the bat

Reduced to 28-4 at one point while chasing 150 against a high-quality MI Emirates bowling attack, the Desert Vipers had a mountain to climb if they were to pull off a victory. Sherfane Rutherford (35), Wanindu Hasaranga (26) and Azam Khan (20) provided vital contributions to bring the equation down to 21 runs from 16 balls. But with just two wickets in hand, the MI Emirates looked like they would win the game. Shaheen Afridi, however, played a crucial unbeaten cameo of 17 runs from 12 balls that saw the Vipers over the line. Trent Boult had 10 runs to defend in the final over and three off the final ball. Shaheen Afridi struck the final ball over point and ran like his life depended on it. A dive in the end to complete the third run helped seal the victory for the Desert Vipers.

6.Ali Naseer’s blinder to get rid of Nicholas Pooran

In match 15, just as MI Emirates skipper Nicholas Pooran started to get going having struck a four and a six, Desert Vipers’ Ali Naseer took a blinder at short third man to send him back to the pavilion. Vipers’ fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana bowled a wide yorker to Pooran, who sliced it hoping to get four runs past Naseer. But Naseer flew to his left with both arms outstretched and plucked the ball out of thin air to take one of the best catches of the tournament and break the momentum Pooran was starting to generate for MI Emirates in the process. 

7.Andre Russell smashes Jason Holder

In match 20, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders’ Andre Russell reminded everyone of why he is so feared especially in the death overs. Having Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at 112-7 at one point, the Dubai Capitals would have hoped to bowl them out for a low score but Andre Russell took matters into his own hands when he smashed 31 runs off Jason Holder in the 17th over to take the Knight Riders to 183 by the end of their 20th over in the company of player of the match David Willey. After a no ball on the first ball of the over, Russell left no part of the ground untouched as he struck Holder for two sixes, two fours and two doubles to completely shift the momentum of the game towards his team as they went on to win by 29 runs.

8.Adil Rashid announces arrival at ILT20

Sharjah Warriors’ Adil Rashid spun a web around the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in Match 25 to have them all out for a paltry score of 94. Just his second game in the season, Rashid didn’t show any signs of rustiness as he ran through the Knight Riders’ top and middle order with his bag of tricks to register figures of 4 for 12 in his four overs including a maiden. He mixed his variations well with the batters unable to pick his leg spinners, googlies and sliders apart as he went on to bowl 14 dot balls in his destructive spell.

9.All-girls soft ball cricket 

While large turnout for all the matches of this edition reflected the increasing following for this tournament, DP World ILT20 ensured the stage is used as a platform to get young kids attention towards cricket by hosting soft-ball matches for them ahead of the day’s play in each venue. In Dubai, an all-girls match too was held ahead of the day’s play at the ‘Ring of Fire’ Stadium, giving the budding cricketers a feel of the international stadium and an opportunity to play and meet their favourite stars.

10. Carnivals for a fun family outing

With the perfect weather setting the right ambience for outdoor activities, the league stage matches attracted fans, giving them and their families a wholesome experience with fan carnivals adding to the fun and fervour at all venues. Intricately planned with engaging activities on the side-lines of the matches with RJs and music bands getting the groove on – it was a memorable experience. 

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UAE fuel prices announced for March 2024

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The Fuel Prices Monitoring Committee has given the green light for an increase in gasoline and diesel prices for March 2024. The approved hike ranges between 15 and 16 fils per liter for gasoline and 17 fils for diesel, compared to February 2024 prices.

Fuel distribution companies have promptly announced the new prices, effective from Friday, March 1, 2024. The updated pricing includes a 5% value-added tax.

Specifically, the price per liter of super gasoline “98” is set to rise by 15 fils, reaching 3.03 dirhams in March, up from 2.88 dirhams in February. Special gasoline “95” will see an increase of 16 fils, from 2.76 dirhams to 2.92 dirhams, while E-Plus 91 gasoline will climb by 16 fils, reaching 2.85 dirhams from 2.69 dirhams. Additionally, the price of diesel will experience a 17 fils per liter hike, escalating from 2.99 dirhams in February to 3.16 dirhams in March.

This decision follows three consecutive monthly reductions in gasoline and diesel prices approved by the committee for January 2024. The reduction ranged between 13 and 14 fils for gasoline and 19 fils for diesel per liter compared to December 2023 prices.

Notably, the Ministry of Energy’s approved fuel price standards are subject to monthly adjustments based on the global average oil price, incorporating distribution companies’ operating costs.

New fuel prices are:

-Super 98 petrol will cost Dh3.03 a litre, compared to Dh2.88 in February.

-Special 95 petrol will cost Dh2.92 per litre, compared to Dh2.76 last month.

-E-Plus 91 petrol will cost Dh2.85 a litre, compared to Dh2.69 a litre in February.

-Diesel will be charged at Dh3.16 a litre compared to Dh2.99 last month.

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DP World ILT20 Season 2: UAE’s top five performers

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The recently concluded DP World ILT20 Season 2 captured the attention of fans worldwide with its enthralling displays of athleticism and competitive cricket. However, beyond the fierce battles between international giants, this tournament provided a mega platform to unearth the burgeoning talent of UAE’s own cricketers.

Here are the top five performers from UAE for the season:

1.Muhammad Waseem

The opening batter from the United Arab Emirates was the fourth highest run-getter this edition, with 321 runs in 12 matches at an impressive strike rate of 148. Providing an impetus at the top with his aggressive stroke play, Waseem’s exploits were crucial to the MI Emirates stellar campaign. The MI Emirates were the first team to secure their place in the play offs and subsequently went on to win the championship.

Waseem’s stand out knock of the season came against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, where he struck an unbeaten 89 to ensure the MI Emirates would coast home with eight wickets in hand.

Waseem’s tournament exploits earned him the Blue Belt which came with a cash purse of $15,000 for being the most outstanding UAE player, second time in a row.

2.Alishan Sharafu

The top order batter for Abu Dhabi Knight Riders had a good season compiling 220 runs in the 11 innings he batted in, at a strike rate of 120. While his contributions played a significant role in his team’s qualification to the play-offs, his match winning knock of 82 not out from 47 deliveries against the Desert Vipers while chasing 155 was the fourth highest individual score in the tournament and also his best performance.

3.Muhammad Jawadullah

Returning to his second season with the Sharjah Warriors, the left arm pacer was one of the leading wicket takers for the Sharjah Warriors this season with 10 wickets in 8 matches. Although the team had a forgettable season finishing in last place, the 24-year-old was consistent with his lines and lengths. His best performance of the tournament was against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders where he picked up 3 wickets for only 5 runs with an economy rate of 2.5 runs per over.

4.Zuhaib Zubair

The Gulf Giants’ Zuhaib Zubair was one of the best bowlers from the UAE this season.  In eight matches, the leg-spinner picked up 11 wickets with his leg breaks at an average of 16. He also logged some of the best figures of the tournament when he finished with 4/22 to power the Giants to a mammoth 79 run victory against the Sharjah Warriors.

5.Muhammad Rohid

The 21-year-old left arm quick from the MI Emirates impressed one and all with his bowling, picking up nine wickets in the 16 overs he’s bowled in the tournament. While he may not have been among the top wicket takers of the tournament, his bowling showed a lot of promise. His best performance came against the Desert Vipers where he picked three for 21 in three overs, accounting for the wickets of Alex Hales, Adam Hose and Azam Khan.

Special mention

Though UAE’s U19 captain Aayan Afzal Khan does not figure in the top 5 list, thanks to Muhammad Rohid pipping Aayan for the fifth spot, the 18-year-old left-arm spinner from the Gulf Giants is worthy of a mention for his fantastic bowling spells. He picked up six wickets in the seven innings he bowled including a spell of two wickets for eight runs in his three overs against the Dubai Capitals that helped his team defend a score of 126, winning the game by 19 runs.

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MI Emirates’ batting brilliance overpowers Dubai Capitals by 45 runs to emerge as DP World ILT20’s new champions

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MI Emirates’s run riot crafted by their skipper Nicholas Pooran and Andre Fletcher’s half centuries, which produced the highest total this season, blew away Dubai Capitals by 45 runs to emerge as the new champions of the DP World ILT20 Season 2.

In front of a packed Dubai International Stadium, Pooran scored a breezy unbeaten captain’s knock of 57 runs off 27 balls studded with six sixes and two boundaries. He was backed by Fletcher’s 53 off 37 balls, featuring four sixes and three boundaries. Openers Muhammad Waseem and his partner Kusal Perera contributed aggressively, with Waseem scoring 43 off 24 balls, including three boundaries and three sixes, and Perera adding 38 off 26 balls, with six boundaries, leading to a 77-run opening partnership and helping MI Emirates set a record score of 208 for 3 in 20 overs.

In reply, Capitals could muster only 163 for 7 in 20 overs with Trent Boult and Vijayakanth Viyaskanth bagging two wicket each. MI Emirates received the winners’ prize of a whopping $700,000 (USD) while the runners-up received $300,000 (USD).

Chasing the mammoth total, Capitals had it tough from the start with Emirates’ Akeal Hosein, who has been regularly striking in the first over, trapping Leus du Plooy leg before, resulting in a duck. Tom Abell, when on 7, was dropped by Dwayne Bravo at mid-off by Trent Boult, but was later caught by Pollard off Rohid Khan for 14. Banton and his skipper Sam Billing pushed the score to 63 when Banton got foxed by leg spinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth to be stumped by Pooran for 35.

Sikandar Raza, who has played many match-winning knocks for Capitals, scored just 10 runs before hitting Viyaskanth to Waseem at deep mid-wicket. Capitals, faced with the challenge of scoring 100 runs in 41 balls, saw Waqar Salamkheil remove Billings stumped by Pooran for a fighting 40. Trent Boult then struck twice to remove Rovman Powell caught by Waseem at deep midwicket and clean bowl Jason Holder for 24 to ensure his team’s victory.

Earlier, Capitals won the toss and elected to bowl. MI Emirates’ opener Waseem started with a six over long-on off Scott Kuggeleijn, while his partner Kusal Perera played some flowing drives. The pair reached their half-century partnership in 3.3 overs, with Waseem hitting two boundaries and a six off Kuggeleijn in that over. By the end of the powerplay, MI Emirates had posted 72 runs. Waseem fell to Zahir Khan when he was seven short of his half-century, lifting Zahir Khan to Rovman Powell at mid-off.

Andre Fletcher maintained the run flow with Perera and steered the total to the 100-run mark in 10.5 overs. At the score of 102, Leus du Plooy pulled off a diving catch at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Perera, who attempted a slog sweep off Sikandar Raza, for 38.

Spinners Raza and Zahir Khan tried to strangle the run flow, but skipper Nicholas Pooran and Fletcher hit sixes off them. They put on a 50-run partnership in 28 balls and took the score past the 150-run mark in 15.5 overs. Another spectacular diving catch by Du Plooy at backward square leg to Fletcher’s top-edged pull ended the 56-run partnership.

Kieron Pollard joined Pooran, who smashed Jason Holder for 19 runs in the 18th over with two towering sixes and a boundary. With the score reading 177 for 3 and two more overs to go, the crowd got ready to cheer for the 200-run mark. Emirates achieved it off the fifth ball of the last over through a six from Pooran. This six also helped him reach his half-century in 26 balls. In the last five overs, Emirates hit 74 runs.

James Vince of Gulf Giants with 356 runs from 12 innings emerged the highest run-getter to win the Green Belt, while Waqar Salamkheil with 17 wickets was the highest wicket-taker and bagged the White Belt on better economy rate pipping Fazalhaq Farooqi, who too had 17 wickets. Muhammad Waseem won the Blue Belt for the best UAE player for the second year is succession. Sikandar Raza bagged the Red Belt for the Most Value Player. All of them pocketed USD 15,000 each. DP World Biggest six was awarded to Andre Fletcher while DP World Most 6s of the season was won by Nicholas Pooran. The Cycle Hub Catch of the season went to Sam Billings for his one-handed effort at the slip to dismiss Will Smeed in Match No2.

MI Emirates’ skipper Nicholas Pooran, after receiving the Player of the Match, hailed his openers for setting the stage for the victory. “Truly special to be the man of the match in the final. We spoke about having the right energy and attitude. I couldn’t have asked for a better start, they (openers) did the hard work, we just finished it off. It’s about understanding the situation and batting accordingly.”

Losing captain Sam Billings was sporting in his defeat and said: “Always regret when you lose. As captain, I’m go to bed thinking where it went wrong. But they were brilliant, Nicholas Pooran in that mood is very difficult to play against. Maybe they scored 20-25 runs too many. One of the best things about playing cricket in different places is experiencing different cultures. The UAE players have all been impressive. Really happy to see them improve.”

Sikandar Raza who won the most valuable player award said: “Quite a proud and humbling moment for me. It has been a journey, it is the reward for a lot of sacrifice, hard work, and pain. I just want to say thank you to all those who have prayed for me in these last two years, especially during my illness. I like to be in the position where the skipper can bank on me to bowl four overs every time. Thirteen wickets in the tournament feels like the hard work is coming through; we can only get better.”

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