The UAE fast bowlers Junaid Siddique and Akif Raja have mesmerised the cricket fans with their fantastic performances at the inaugural edition of the DP World International League T20, being held across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
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Sharjah Warriors’ Siddique, who is currently the second highest wicket-taker in the competition with nine scalps, expressed that he has looked to make batting difficult for MI Emirates captain Kieron Pollard. “There are so many superstars in this tournament. The DP World ILT20 is a big opportunity to learn something different. Pollard is a T20 legend and I have got him out a few times. I have always looked to make batting difficult for him whenever I bowled against him,” said Siddique.
The fast bowler, who produced his best bowling figures of two for four in the tournament against Dubai Capitals in Sharjah on Thursday, added, “Naveen-ul-Haq and Chris Woakes have shared their experience with me. They have also shared tips with me and have spoken to me about how to bowl in difficult situations. The captain and the coaching staff have shown trust in my abilities and given me the big opportunity of being a frontline bowler for the Warriors.”
Have freedom to go for wickets: Raja
Much like Siddique, Raja too has put up a solid show. Pacer Akif Raja, who has picked up six wickets in six matches in the DP World ILT20 expressed that he is enjoying the tournament. “The tournament is going great for me. I am enjoying it a lot. It feels really great to dismiss good batters. I always try to get good batters out. I can help my team win if I can get the good batters out,” said Raja.
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Raja, who produced his best performance of two for 20 against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in Dubai on 13 January 2023, spoke about bowling during the winter in the UAE. “The ball swings a lot during the winter months in the UAE. And you’ll get wickets if you bowl stump to stump. I try to bring the batter forward and try to get him out caught behind or LBW. I consider myself a wicket-taking bowler. And our coach has given me the freedom to go for wickets,” he signed off.
The ILT20 has thrown up some spectacular performances, and both Siddique and Raja will look to finish the tournament with impressive figures.