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DUBAI: The second edition of the DP World ILT20 final on Saturday featured two teams that did not feature in the final of the inaugural edition, and in MI Emirates one of the strongest teams of the year.

The Blues proved too strong for the Dubai Capitals, as they powered to a 45-run victory to claim their maiden ILT20 title.

In the pre-final press conference, Sam Billings, who took over as the Capitals’ captain when David Warner returned to join the Australian national team, referred to the picking of a consistent team and the different pitch conditions at the three grounds in the UAE.

Nicholas Pooran, captain of the Emirates, also mentioned the need to adapt to the different conditions and said his team had lost both of their matches at the Dubai International Stadium while winning five out of six at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Rivalry between the Delhi and Mumbai franchises resumed under intriguing circumstances in Dubai.

First blood was drawn by the Capitals who elected to bowl after winning the toss. This conferred no advantage as the Emirates raced to 54 without loss at the end of the fourth over, helped by some misfielding.

It was not until the seventh over that the first wicket fell, Waseem skying to Powell at long off for an aggressive 43 out of 77. The next five overs yielded only 24 runs, with Haider Ali, Sikandar Raza and Z Khan all bowling tightly.

The shackles then came off, as Andre Fletcher and Pooran powered ahead, plundering 50 runs in the next five overs from the quick bowlers. Despite the loss of Fletcher to a superb catch by Du Plooy for 58, the onslaught was continued by Pooran, whose 57 from 27 deliveries was largely responsible for a total of 208.

This was first time that 200 had been breached in ILT20 2024. It looked to be a tough challenge for the Capitals.

It was made tougher in the first over when Du Plooy, attempting to reverse sweep, was given out lbw, confirmed after review.

Attempts to keep up with the required scoring rate were thwarted by the Emirates’ slow bowlers, who restricted the Capitals to 47 for two after six overs. At the equivalent stage, the Emirates were 72 for no wicket.

The tactic of reverse sweeping was adopted by the Capitals’ batters and it worked for a while. The Emirates’ bowlers responded by adopting a leg side line.

This accounted for Banton, stumped for 35. When Billings advanced down the wicket, only to miss the ball and be stumped, the chase looked as good as over at 14 for five off 14 overs.

Despite some late order hitting by Holder and Kuggeleijn, this proved to be the case, the innings closing on 163 for seven, well short of the Emirates’ total.

A crucial difference between the two teams had been the ability of the Emirates’ slow bowlers to close the game and their batters to take advantage of the Capitals’ quicker bowlers, especially in the first six overs.

The team regarded by many as the best in the tournament proved that assessment to be accurate and deserved.

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