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Abu Dhabi T10 - Incredible batting performances throughout the 7th day’s action

Abu Dhabi T10
©Abu Dhabi T10

The seventh night of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 has seen incredible batting performances throughout the day’s action, with Chris Lynn hitting 89 off 33, Tom Banton blasting 80 off 27, and Lendl Simmons reaching high with 70 off 39.

With teams’ bowlers delivering both strong defensive and attacking line ups, the tension has been electric amongst the huge crowds gathered at Zayed Cricket Stadium as teams vie for a place in the Qualifying stage.

Match Report 1: Maratha Arabians vs Delhi Bulls

Lynn once again was hungry for runs, and carved out boundaries with effortless swings of his bat, punishing David Willey and Mohammad Nabi as he raced to 37 runs in 13 balls. Lynn took the 200th six of the series, reaching a half century in a short 18 balls with a heave toward deep square leg. After one of Hazratullah’s big swinging shots was caught, Adam Lyth joined Lynn, and the Arabians rocketed to 73 midway through their innings. Adil Rashid’s torrid time with the ball continued, and was given no reprieve by the rampant Lynn who smashed three consecutive sixes of some loose deliveries by the England spinner.

The wickets of Najibullah and Lyth fell, but crucially for the Maratha Arabians, and much to the frustration of the Delhi Bulls, those were not the wickets they desperately needed. However, they struck gold in the very next delivery, as Lynn was impressively caught by David Willey, agonisingly denying him the chance to become the first batsmen in T10 history to score a century as he closed on his destructive innings scoring 89 from 33. A cameo innings by Dasun Shanaka, which included two fours and a six of the final three deliveries of the innings, ensured his team set 147 runs for Delhi Bulls to chase, the highest total of the tournament yet.

A quick start to the innings was imperative for the Bulls, as Kusal Perera and Paul Stirling looked to maximise boundaries through the Powerplay, as they managed to gain 16 runs from the first over. Perera took up the role of taking the game to the bowlers as he showed great fluency to pick up numerous boundaries, keeping the required run rate manageable for his team. Pressure from the Maratha Arabians’ bowlers finally led to the wicket of an out-of-sorts Paul Stirling, whose uneasy innings came to end as he gloved behind to Chadwick Walton.

A disciplined bowling attack tempered the advances of Rutherford and Perera and restricted them from runs as the required run rate began to spiral out of the reach of the chasing Bulls, reaching 20.00 as the batsman struggled at 10 runs per over. Despite a defiant knock from Rutherford, caught on 48, Eoin Morgan’s late arrival to the crease could not prevent his team from falling to another loss, leaving their chance to progress to the next round hanging by a thread as Maratha Arabians cruised to a crushing 30 run win.

Man of the Match Chris Lynn said: “Obviously, aggressive cricket is a brand that our team play. My philosophy is to keep my batting simple, and not over complicate things. That makes the team successful in T10, because we don’t divert from that.”

Speaking following his team’s defeat despite a spirited chase, Delhi Bulls’ Coach Stephen Fleming said: “I’m learning a lot in this new format. It’s a fantastic opportunity to unearth new and emerging talent, and also I’m optimistic about the future of T10. Like with every franchise league, it is going to take some time to develop strategies and formulas specific to the demands of the game, especially in the bowling department”.


Match Report 2: Team Qalandars vs Karnataka Tuskers

Team Qalandars opted to bring the fight to the Karnataka Tuskers, deciding to bat in the second match of the seventh evening of the championship. Rising star Tom Banton opened batting with fellow Englishman Captain Dawid Malan, and in spite of Malan’s early run out, Banton brought a big aggressive batting strategy to bear, smashing the ball far beyond the boundary, time and time again. In spite of Phil Salt’s wicket in the fourth over, caught by Kesrick Williams at midwicket, Banton was relishing the hunt for the boundary rope, and was finding it with every opportunity. Banton sailed to 80 from 27 balls with a strike rate of 286, and a century seemed on the cards for the young batsman, before Sandeep Lamichhane struck Banton directly on the pads. A clearly disappointed Banton left the pitch, but his efforts had brought his team to 100 by the end of the seventh over.

Banton’s wicket precipitated a rout amongst the Qalandars’ middle order batting line-up, as Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell with the next ball, Chris Jordan fell the next over, and Seekkuge Prasanna fell two balls after that. Constrained by the wicket-seeking Tuskers’ bowling line-up of Nathan Rimmington, Ahmed Raza, and Kesrick Williams, the Qalandars sought the safety of defensive batting, with Laurie Evans and Mujeeb Ur Rahman taking quick singles over big shots. Yet Evans’ wicket on the penultimate over was a small grace for the Tuskers, who found a large 131 on the scoreboard to chase in the second innings.

The Tuskers began their attack to keep their hopes alive in the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 with smashing a 20 in the first over off the bat of Johnson Charles. In spite of Evin Lewis’ wicket in the second over for 0, the Karnataka openers could not be stopped, with Shafiqullah spiriting another 14 runs, to bring the Tuskers to 34 after 12 balls. Yet the charge could not continue, with both Charles and Shafiqullah falling to the balls of the UAE’s Sultan Ahmed in the third over. Captain Hashim Amla sought a recovery with Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley, but the captain could only remain at the crease for an over before wicketkeeper Phil Salt whipped off his bails.

The Tuskers’ sought a little stability, but the Qalandars were not prepared to give up their defence of their innings total so lightly. Whiteley was caught on 15, Ahmed Raza was run out for 1, and in spite of finding some boundaries, the Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate was caught on 25. With the teams’ required run rate creeping over 21, the tail-enders sought to survive to the end of the match, but Nathan Rimmington fell for seven and Lamichhane saw his off stump removed for 5 on the match’s penultimate ball. The Qalandars’ brutal bowling attack axed the remainder of the Tuskers’ defence, and hopes in the tournament, leaving the Qalandars to move ahead with three points, putting them in a hopeful position to enter the qualifiers.

Man of the Match, England’s Tom Banton, commented on his team’s performance in the post-match interview: “I think with T10, it’s hit and miss. Obviously, our last two games haven’t gone to plan, but today was a totally different story. I don’t think we are going to change how we play tomorrow – just fingers crossed that we come out with the right result.”

Captain of the losing Karnataka Tuskers, Hashim Amla, commented: “It’s been disappointing, especially as we’ve had a couple of matches where we thought we were close to winning. This game is probably the most disappointing of all, because we were totally outplayed. This loss hurts a little bit more than the others.”

Match Report 3: Deccan Gladiators vs Northern Warriors

As Captain Darren Sammy mentioned yesterday, following his team’s loss to the Bangla Tigers, this was a must win match for the men in maroon to revitalise any chance of retaining the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 trophy.

It seemed openers Lendl Simmons and Nicholas Pooran had heard their Captain loud and clear, as they looked for big shots, smashing some big boundaries into the stands, to build some early momentum and find some much needed traction for the Northern Warriors.

After reaching 33 runs in two overs, Pooran’s big hitting tactics soon backfired as he top edged a Zahoor Khan bouncer into the Abu Dhabi night sky, straight down the throat of Mason Crane, who took a low tumbling catch. 

Simmons however continued with a laser focus, expertly navigating a tricky Crane over, before dispatching Kieron Pollard to the boundary with some ruthless hitting as the Warriors reached 71/1 in the sixth over. The opener watched on as Sam Billings had his middle stump removed, and the dangerous Andre Russell returned to the dugout shortly after his arrival to the crease, as he feathered a bouncer from Ben Cutting to the wicket-keeper.

As Sammy came to the crease, Simmons smashed two huge sixes into the leg side boundary, bringing up a deserved half-century as the Warriors neared 100. Simmons finally met his match in the penultimate over, as Zahoor Khan used a variation of clever bouncers and slower balls to deliver a wicket-maiden, deceiving the Northern Warriors’ opener with a wicked fuller delivery that demolished his stumps on the last ball of the over.

In front of a buzzing crowd of 11,360 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Australian legend Shane Watson and fan favourite, Mohammad Shahzad, began the run chase in a steady manner. The Afghan big hitter couldn’t delight the fans further as he over exposed his stumps to a Nuwan Pradeep delivery, leaving Shane Watson to get the innings rolling as he smashed two fiery fours and two splendid sixes in a row, as fans finally began to see him in full flow.

Watson looked like a man on a mission, single handily carving out boundaries at will, reaching an incredible half century in only 19 balls. Toward the end of the sixth over, the Deccan Gladiators found themselves with the upper hand, needing 38 runs from 23 balls with Watson continue to frustrate the bowling attack of the Northern Warriors, who were slowly losing discipline and focus as the match began to slip away from them.

However, as the match entered the final two overs, the Warriors found themselves still in the game and had a delicate lead of 24 runs that had to be chased down by Watson and Anton Devcich in 11 balls. The Warriors sensed a comeback victory as Devcich departed the field of play. The responsibility to bowl the final over was placed on UAE’s pacer Junaid Siddique, a decision that was quickly vindicated as he struck Kieron Pollard plumb on the pads for a golden duck and bowling a super final over that handed victory to his team by 10 runs, sparking wild celebrations from skipper Darren Sammy.

Despite the disappointing defeat, Shane Watson praised the high energy of the fans at Zayed Cricket Stadium saying: “We are disappointed with the loss, especially since we were in a strong position through the middle overs, but they brought on their best bowlers and we lost our momentum at the crucial time. It’s awesome to be able to play with a good crowd - it really gets you going and makes it easier to motivate yourself play some good cricket.”

After helping his team to victory Junaid Siddique commented on the match saying: “This is was a must win match for us, and Watson playing the shots that he was really made life difficult for us, but we had a good bowling plan and we executed it well.”

He, like fellow UAE teammate Ahmed Raza did the day before also commented on what the league’s move to Abu Dhabi is doing for the professional development and exposure for local players.

“The T10 in Abu Dhabi is fantastic for the development of the sport here and for young talent in the country to be able to get experience playing at a high level.”

The action will continue tomorrow as the teams’ battle for the semi-finals intensifies with Delhi Bulls taking the field against Team Qalandars for the opening match at 15:30, followed by a top of the table clash between leaders Maratha Arabians and second placed Bangla Tigers. The action will wrap up with Team Abu Dhabi making a push for the semi-finals against Hashim Amla’s Karnataka Tuskers.

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