Abu Dhabi T10 Day 5 Round Up – Wins for Deccan Gladiators, Northern Warriors & Bangla Tigers
On the 5th day of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10, matches opened with a minute of silence to commemorate the passing of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brother of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and the President’s representative, along with all players of today’s matches wearing black arm bands as a mark of respect. Fans as well as players remained silent during the ceremony, and flags at the ground flew at half-mast in tribute.
The day has seen the Deccan Gladiators defend off Team Qalandars attempt to chase 129, the Northern Warriors pound the Delhi Bulls, and the Bangla Tigers bowlers’ decimate Team Abu Dhabi, winning by 27 runs.
Match Report 1: Deccan Gladiators vs. Team Qalandars
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad struck early and hard for the Deccan Gladiators after Team Qalandars placed them into bat. He and Captain Shane Watson started an innings focused on posting a score big enough to defend and the partnership delivered with Shazad hitting a six off the very first ball. Watson was disappointed with his dismissal for 30, but the Gladiators had already made their half century in four overs by that moment.
Gladiators’ fans welcomed the sight of Kieron Pollard strolling to the crease, hoping for the magic of the previous night, yet his departure for two, only two deliveries later, left a ripple of concern amongst the crowd. However, Shahzad kept the ship steady, ripping balls to and over the deep midwicket boundary time and time again. Shahzad stormed to his half century off just 18 balls, but lost his wicket at the opening of the seventh over, caught at long on by Phil Salt, ending his innings on 57 off 21 balls comprising 6 sixes and 3 fours. Shahzad’s momentum was picked up by Aussie Ben Cutting and Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaska, who drove the Gladiators to post a target of 129 to beat.
Team Qalandars’ Luke Ronchi and Tom Banton revved themselves for a steep run chase, being placed under pressure from the Gladiators’ pace and power of Pollard and Stephen Cottrell. Banton was blown away by the power of Pollard’s bowling when he lofted a dolly to mid-off for nine, before Ronchi was caught behind by Mohammad Shahzad for 17.
Phil Salt and Dawid Malan attempted to chase and hit the Gladiators’ total, but the odds became increasingly perilous for the pair as they faced 92 runs off 32 deliveries halfway through the match. Nevertheless, they kept delivering big shots, confounding the Gladiators’ bowling line up with batting that defied the power and speed that was coming down the wicket. The two men kept up a good humour as they played, accepting their defeat gracefully following masterly batting from Shahzad. In spite of Malan’s final sixes in the last over, Team Qalandars closed on 104 for two, leaving the Deccan Gladiators to win by 24 runs.
Man of the Match, Mohammad Shahzad, commented following his performance: “T10 is a very fast format, and it is very ideal for batsmen like me to enjoy their cricket and play with freedom.”
Dawid Malan, Captain of Team Qalandars, said: “Unfortunately we are disappointed with the loss, but I stand by the decision to chase. That’s something that comes easier for us a team, but as the tournament progresses and the wicket gets quicker, we are seeing much higher totals that are becoming easier to defend.”
Match Report 2 – Northern Warriors vs. Delhi Bulls
The clash between Northern Warriors and Delhi Bulls started in an emphatic fashion with a dramatic first over in which Australian spinner Chris Green found himself on a hat trick on the third ball of the first over following the brilliant dismissals of Kusal Perera and Sherfane Rutherford. Green continued to bamboozle the hapless Delhi Bulls’ batsmen with yet another ripper, this time through the defences of Muhammad Usman, to register impressive figures of 3-6 in only eight balls. The Bulls once again found themselves reliant on the partnership of Eoin Morgan and Angelo Matthews, as they found themselves at 23-3 after three overs.
Boundaries dried up as the Warriors’ impressive spinners suffocated their opponents from runs. The pair however dug deep, with Morgan smashing three magnificent sixes in an over, a much-needed turning point in the innings. Despite Matthews’ fall, Captain Eoin charged on, reaching a tenacious half-century with a glorious six midway through the seventh over, but he departed shortly after, leaving his team 15 runs shy of a hundred. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and England’s David Willey carried Delhi Bulls over the hundred mark, ensuring a strong end to their innings in the face of aggressive warriors’ bowling, giving them a lead of 107 to defend.
As night descended over the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Northern Warriors’ rearranged top batting order looked to provide a blistering start for their team in order to improve their performance in the tournament. West Indian pair Nicholas Pooran and Lendl Simmons duly delivered, devastating the Bulls’ pace attack, posting 48 runs in 22 balls before the latter fell, failing to make ground before he was run out by wicket keeper Kusal Perera. Fans watched in delight as Andre Russell brought his trademark maverick batting style to the crease, putting his team in the driving seat with a rapid 22 runs from 7 deliveries before succumbing to a bouncer from Sri Lankan fast pace bowler Dushmantha Chameera.
Nicholas Pooran watched as Sam Billings lost his wicket for a cheap seven and Captain Darren Sammy was dismissed for a duck, but Pooran continued to anchor the innings through a disciplined batting performance that inched his team closer to victory. The opener clinched victory for his team and a half-century for himself with an awesome display of power hitting that shot the final ball over the bowler’s head for six – handing the Northern Warriors a six wicket victory.
Following his deserving Man of the Match performance for his 56 off 25* Nicholas Pooran, commented in the post-match press conference: “We had a very aggressive game plan with both bat and ball, and that is something that gave me the freedom to go out there and play some nice shots today. I knew that if I was to stay to the end of the innings then we would win the game comfortably, so all in all it was a perfect run chase.”
Despite his team’s loss Morgan seemed intent on focusing on the positives of the format of T10, commenting: “I love this format. It certainly has a massive x-factor, and is extremely popular with the fans as well as the players, because it pushes us to take greater risk and adapt to a faster game.”
Match Report 3 – Bangla Tigers vs. Team Abu Dhabi
Team Abu Dhabi faced off against the dominant Bangla Tigers in the fifth night of action in the tournament. The local lads in yellow elected to field, placing the Tigers into bat.
The dangerous openers of the Tigers, Andre Fletcher and Rilee Rossouw, powered through the initial onslaught of Team Abu Dhabi bowlers, with Captain Moeen Ali conceding 18 runs in the opening over to a double pair of sixes from Fletcher. Fletcher added a magnificent 42 off a short 15 balls to the Tigers’ total, before being caught at deep midwicket while trying to find the boundary rope. The Tigers’ confidence remained undented however, with Colin Ingram working with Rossouw to push the Tigers to 93 at the end of the seventh over.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Ben Laughlin snagged his first and second wicket in the seventh over, taking Ingram and then Moores in three balls, posting impressive figures of two for 12. Rossouw, still stable at the stumps, was joined by Robbie Frylinck, and the two men pushed the Tigers to post 129, with Rossouw flinging a ball off Rohan Mustafa for six runs in the penultimate over.
The Tigers’ ferocious bowling unit sought to rip through Team Abu Dhabi, with Frylinck and Liam Plunkett zipping balls to openers Luke Wright and Avishka Fernando. Yet Fernando’s six off Plunkett’s first delivery set the tone for a decisive Team Abu Dhabi fightback. The Tigers’ found relief with Wright’s wicket at 20, but Sri Lanka’s Fernando shot to 40 off 15.
Disaster struck for Team Abu Dhabi in their seventh over, when Fernando’s final attempt to vault a ball to the heavens was caught by Tigers’ Captain and fellow Sri Lankan Perera. In spite of Fernando’s big hitting providing 51 off 21 balls and a strike rate of 243, he could not keep Team Abu Dhabi aloft, leaving the hopes of fans for their team’s victory in the balance. Afghan Qais Ahmed struck again with the next ball, splitting the stumps of Wayne Masden for four.
The Tigers raced through the remainder of Abu Dhabi’s opposition, with Perera taking Alex Davies for eight and Lewis Gregory for three. In spite of the efforts of Team Abu Dhabi’s batsmen, the Tigers romped home with a win of 27 runs, placing the team second in the Super League stage of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10.
Man of the Match, Andre Fletcher, commented on his batting performance: “I’m doing well in T10 so far. It seems to suit my style of batting, and I’m grateful for playing in such a tournament where you are exposed to a lot of quality cricket in such a short amount of time.”
Paceman Ben Laughlin of Team Abu Dhabi commented in the post-match press conference: “I think it’s a really good wicket here in Abu Dhabi, with teams posting some big runs. The competition is pretty tough out there with the amount of world class international cricketers playing. There aren’t many places to hide in T10, we have to do our research and come back stronger and start building some momentum.”
Day six of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 will bring the Karnataka Tuskers into the firing line of the Maratha Arabians’ lethal bowling line up; the Bangla Tigers will try to constrain the big power hitting of the Northern Warriors, and Shane Watson’s Deccan Gladiators will clash with Moeen Ali’s Team Abu Dhabi.
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