A spectacular knock by Muhammad Waseem consigned the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders to a crushing 8-wicket defeat despite setting up a formidable total of 188/5 in 20 overs in the 12th match of DP World ILT20 Season 2.
The UAE national team skipper entertained the Sunday spectators in Zayed Cricket Stadium with an unbeaten innings studded with eight boundaries and three sixes, helping the MI Emirates chase the target in 19 overs.
The 27-year-old Waseem along with opening batter Kusal Perera set the momentum for the mega run-chase with Perera scoring the fastest 50 of DP World ILT20 Season 2, taking only 22 balls to do so. Their effort in the middle built a solid partnership of 110 in 9.5 overs which was finally broken by David Willey whose short-length bouncer ended Perera's outing with wicketkeeper Michael Pepper taking a sound catch. He scored 54 off 26 balls.
Even though Perera's dismissal was a setback to their run-chase, Waseem continued to power through making his intentions clear in the next over scoring a boundary off Marchant De Lange and a six, adding 11 runs in that over. The run rate continued to surge at 10.00 per over with captain Nicholas Pooran and Waseem breaking no sweat in steering the innings.
Waseem built on his impressive outing with well-timed boundaries in the following overs. Though they lost Pooran (33 off 19 balls) to Ali Khan in the 17th over, Waseem along with Tim David (10 n.o) showcased composure to help their team sail through to their fourth win this season from five matches. Today's effort has put them on top of the points table.
A disappointed ADKR captain Sunil Narine said, "It was a good total, but the powerplay took it away from us. I still give credit to my team as the match could have finished in 17-18 overs. To sum it up, it was one of those days, tough on the field. Hope there are no more of such days, and we get back to our winning ways."
MI Emirates captain Nicholas Pooran said: "It was a good batting pitch. We had enough info on the pitch, and knew a total around 180 would be good to chase. It is tough to contain batters like Russell who added 9 more to what we had in mind. But I am happy that our bowlers put them under some pressure."
Muhammad Waseem, dedicating the player of the match award to his son said, "This is my second half century this season and I also hold the green belt; it feels quite special to be the leading run-getter of season 2. I am playing my natural game, and also getting to learn a lot from our coaches and senior players. The team is in good form, everyone is contributing and hope we will go on with the same momentum for the rest of the tournament."
Abu Dhabi Knight Riders 188/5 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 46 n.o, Sam Hain 40, Michael Pepper 38, Alishan Sharafu 37; Fazalhaq 3 for 35); MI Emirates 189/2 in 19 overs (Waseem Muhammad 89 n.o, Kusal Perera 54, Nicholas Pooran 33; David Willey 1 for 37, Ali Khan 1 for 25).