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Dubai Capitals advance after commanding 85-run victory over Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders’ joust with the Dubai Capitals at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi pitted the third and fourth placed teams against each other in a sudden death DP World International League T20 contest. 

Both teams finished on 10 points, but Abu Dhabi Knight Riders achieved a superior run rate. ADKR had a stutter at the end of their campaign, losing their last two matches, most notably to the Gulf Giants by three runs, a loss which slipped the Giants into second place at the expense of ADKR.

The Dubai Capitals made a late run into fourth place, winning their final two matches. First, they beat the Desert Vipers, courtesy of a last ball six and then MI Emirates by 19 runs. The star in the defeat of the Vipers was Sikandar Raza, with 1 for 16 and 60 not out, including that last ball six. The outcome was close to call, but the Capitals entered the match in winning mode. 

And so to the action: Abu Dhabi Knight Riders won the toss and fielded. There was early movement for David Willey and the openers found it difficult to get bat on ball. Edges and snicks kept the score moving before Holden skied to mid-off to become the first wicket to fall at 21. After two fours, Du Plooy was the second wicket to fall at 32. This brought together Tom Abeel and Tom Banton, county teammates. They showed this with sharp running and well-placed shots, taking the score to 92 at the halfway stage, before Banton essayed a rash switch hit and was bowled for forty-four, the third wicket to fall. 

Narine and Allen tried to stem the runs, but Billings took them on. Abell tried to force Sabir Ali through the offside but missed and was bowled for 41. At 145 for four after seventeen overs, the innings looked in the balance. However, over 18 delivered by David Willey proved to be expensive, Billings and Raz scoring thirteen runs. This was followed by sixteen in the next over and eighteen in the final over, Billings undefeated on 46, Raza adding 40 in another cameo innings. The total of 188 for five was the equal third highest in this year’s competition.

ADKR’s response got off to the worse possible start. Jason Roy missed a full toss and was lbw. Michael Pepper soon followed and after two overs the score was 6 for two. Joe Clarke and Sam Hain sought to restore the innings, until Clarke, in backing to leg, steered the ball to cover, 29 for three. In the same over Sharafu also steered his shot to cover, 29 for four after four overs, leaving the Knight Riders with an uphill task.

Hain and Laurie Evans looked to address this, but Evans was bowled by Zahir Khan for seven, being the fifth wicket to fall on 46 after 7.2 overs. After ten overs, the score was 60, compared with 88 by the Capitals. Sikandar Raza bowled tightly to keep the scoring under control, before Willey hit a six over long on. This was by no means enough, the situation made worse when Hain advanced down the wicket to Raza, missed and was bowled, the sixth wicket to fall on 76.

Allen soon followed, slicing Zahir Khan to cover for two, 79 for seven. Some aggression from Willey in the fifteenth over ended on the last ball when he was bowled, rendering the score 97 for eight. The remainder of the innings petered out to 103 all out after 17 overs.

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