The Dubai Capitals - owned by the GMR Group - take on Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the opening fixture of the International League T20 (ILT20) 2023 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday, January 13.

The Capitals are captained by Rovman Powell, the West Indian all-rounder who has registered 2,668 runs and 23 wickets in 153 T20 matches. Sri Lanka’s limited overs skipper Dasun Shanaka has been appointed as his deputy.

The Dubai Capitals will undoubtedly be a team to watch, given they have recruited former Indian cricket team stalwarts, Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa. The Indian pair, who announced their retirements from all forms of cricket in India in 2022, collectively boast a mammoth 12,124 runs in T20 cricket.

Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, on the other hand, are led by Sunil Narine and will bank on their top-order batting trio of Andre Russell, Jonny Bairstow and Paul Stirling to register a strong batting score. In the bowling unit, Narine and Akeal Hussain will be the players to watch out.

Here are some talking points:

Dubai Capitals, the balanced All-Stars team

While boasting of raw hard-hitters in Joe Root, Sikandar Raza, Robin Uthappa, Hazratullah Zazai, Yusuf Pathan and Dasun Shanaka, Dubai Capitals have a confident bowling roster that Blessing Muzarabani, Isuru Udana and Mujeeb Ur Rahman spearhead.

The all-round balance factor in the team gives Dubai Capitals a slight but confident edge against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, whose strengths lie predominantly in batting.

The Russell-Narine factor in Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have shared plenty of T20 success at Kolkata Knight Riders and will look to carry the same form for the sister team in Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.

The all-rounders, with over 3000 runs and 300 wickets in T20 cricket, will shoulder the responsibility of providing the Knight Riders with the winning formula, especially with confident displays in the middle order or while chasing.