The stage is set for an exhilarating and intense battle in the ILT20 playoffs between the teams that clinched the top four slots.
The league stage matches were so fiercely fought that the final four could not be ascertained until the last league match held in Sharjah on Sunday.
All 30 league-stage matches produced fantastic cricket with many last-over and last-ball finishes including a last ball-six smashed by Sikandar Raza that put Dubai Capitals in a commanding position to make the final four ahead of Sharjah Warriors and Desert Vipers who finished at the bottom of the points table.
Cricket buffs in UAE can gear up for an exciting week of action as the top four teams look to produce some nail-biting contest starting with the Eliminator on Tuesday
The first match of the playoff will be contested between Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Dubai Capitals at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Then the Qualifier 1 between MI Emirates and Gulf Giants will be played at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.
Qualifier 2 between the winner of the Eliminator and the loser of Qualifier 1 will be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
The final of the tournament will be held at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.
The intensity of the upcoming clashes can be gauged by the fact that except for MI Emirates, which recorded 12 points, all the other teams had hit the rock bottom of the table and then fought back to qualify for the playoffs.
Defending champions Gulf Giants finished second on the points table with 12 points while Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Dubai Capitals finished third and fourth respectively with 10 points each.
The tournament has also seen big turnout for almost all the matches, reflecting the growing the popularity of the league.
Now cricket lovers are in for a treat as they look forward to a fascinating contest between Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and Dubai Capitals in the Eliminator.
It will also be interesting to see if defending champions Gulf Giants can produce their best in Qualifier 1 against MI Emirates, the best team in the league phase.
“Winning is a habit and so is losing. Going forward we need to try and plan well. It is a matter of planning and execution,” said MI Emirates skipper Kieron Pollard.
Meanwhile, Gulf Giants skipper James Vince is happy with the way his players have risen to the challenge.
“Our last four games have been magnificent. The last two games, we were in the game and when our opponents were ahead in the game, we showed a lot of character to fight back,” he said.
Sam Billings, skipper of the Dubai Capitals, enters the playoffs, fully aware of his team’s drawbacks and strengths.
After his team’s last match, Billings said: “If you look at this tournament, it is about trends. The key area where we have struggled is the powerplay. As for our bowling, everyone wants the ball and that is always a positive.”
ADKR vs DC
Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
MIE vs GG
Dubai International Stadium
Winner of Eliminator vs Loser of Qualifier 1
Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Winner of Qualifier 1 vs Winner of Qualifier 2
Dubai International Stadium
All matches start at 6:30 pm UAE Time
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