Spin magic coupled with top-order dominance manhandle Warriors as MI retains top spot 

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MI Emirates chased down a paltry target of 130 runs with dominating batting from their top four as they sealed the deal with 53 deliveries in the bank. Waqar Salemkheil, Akeal Hosein, and Trent Boult broke the spine of the Sharjah Warriors to restrict them to a below-par total in the first innings.

Going by the norms of rubbing shoulders in Abi Dhabi, the MI Emirates chose to field first but was countered by Niroshan Dickwella. The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batter forged a 34 runs opening stand along with a scratchy-looking Johnson Charles before Trent Boult drew the first blood in the fifth over. The Sharjah Warriors chalked up 47 runs inside the powerplay and soon after, the spinners of Emirates came into the foray. Akeal Hosein struck two-in-two in the eighth over after Waqar Salamkheil outwitted Mark Deyal on his debut ILT20 game to push the Warriors 57/4 after 7.5 overs. Subsequently, Sean Williams and Lewis Gregory could add just 26 runs from 32 deliveries before Salamkheil snapped two wickets in as many deliveries to reduce the batting side to 83/6 after 13.2 overs. Williams failed to last long with his 25-ball 35 as wickets fell spontaneously from the other end. Eventually, Maheesh Theekshana and Mark Watt ticked around for a while before a run-out in the final ball bundled the Warriors for 129.

Unlike their counterparts, the Emirates got a rollicking start as Muhammad Waseem and Kusal Perera teed off the Warriors’ bowlers from the start. The former clobbered three sixes and a couple of fours against impact substitute Watt in the second over to pile up 37 runs within the first two overs. Soon, Perera joined the party and the pair smacked Daniel Sams for 17 runs in the fifth over, paving the way for 81 runs powerplay before losing Waseem (13-ball 37) at the cusp of the field restrictions. Perera followed suit in the ninth over after getting cleaned up by James Fuller, thereby falling short of a half-century by a mere three runs. The stage was already set and the Caribbean duo of Andre Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran carried the baton forward to build a 43-run third-wicket partnership to ease the chase in a haste after capitalizing on the dew factor. 

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