Delhi Bulls become first team to depart Abu Dhabi T10 2019 after Qalandars defeat
The Delhi Bulls became the first team to depart the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 2019 as they came unstuck in a thrilling match against the Qalandars, who are quickly gaining momentum to become dark horses for the title. In a match dominated by bowlers, a total of 15 wickets fell as the Qalandars clinched victory with the very last ball of the innings, lifting them into third place.
The Delhi Bulls opted to open the batting, breaking from conventional T10 wisdom, and the early wickets of Angelo Mathews for 5 in the first over, and of Perera and Rutherford in the third for 14 and 2 respectively, may have left the team questioning their toss decision.
Captain Eoin Morgan came onto the pitch needing to calm a spiralling side. He and young Surrey prodigy Will Jacks attempted to steady the ship, but Morgan was caught by the UAE’s Sultan Ahmed with Jacks’ taken two balls later from a diving moment of the match catch from Seekkuge Prasana.
In the face of an attacking Qalandars, the Delhi Bulls attempted to halt the haemorrhage of wickets, but the men in green were unstoppable, punishing Waheed Ahmed’s bails for a mix up when running between the wickets.
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi was undeterred by his team’s collapse, and brought to his innings aggression and self-confidence, smashing the ball to every part of the stadium. Joined by England’s Adil Rashid, Nabi worked with urgency to improve the Bulls’ dire situation. His shots, however, could not be sustained, as Lahiru Kumara split Nabi’s stumps, leaving the Afghan big hitter on 48 off 21 deliveries. Kumara took his second wicket of the innings, trapping Pierre on the final delivery of the innings, giving the Qalandars a low 99 runs to chase down.
The Bulls, however, were not to let their chances in the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 slip so lightly. They began an aggressive bowling attack that was angling for wickets, and Phil Salt’s dismissal in the first over gave the bowlers a much needed confidence boost. Khary Pierre took the wicket of Dawid Malan, in spite of spirited attempts to lift the ball over the boundary from the Qalandars’ Captain. Former Indian favourite Zaheer Khan joined the attack, taking the two wickets of Laurie Evans for 11 and Peter Trego for three in one over, whilst only conceding four runs.
Enter Tom Kohler-Cadmore who found a form out at the crease. The young Yorkshire player shot to 27 off 12 deliveries, but lost his wicket to the UAE’s Waheed Ahmed as the Bulls’ unrelenting bowling attack sought more and more opportunities.
With the game on a knife’s edge, fans at a packed Zayed Cricket Stadium felt the electric tension crackle around the pitch, with the Qalandars requiring 18 runs in the final two overs. As the shadows drew over Abu Dhabi, the Delhi Bulls tried to maintain the brutal pace of their bowling attack, with Sultan Ahmed losing his wicket for three. Nevertheless, the Bulls could not withhold the power of the Qalandars, and the men in green won with a glorious six from Garton off the final ball, sealing victory for his team.
Team Qalandars’ Captain Dawid Malan commented on benefits of the T10 format: “The good thing about T20 and T10 cricket is that you have to learn. If you don’t learn, you keep making the same mistakes and you’re going to cost your team games, be that with the bat or with the ball. It’s a great learning curve in this tournament to have to learn on your feet, and to have to be quick to adapt. It’s always about developing yourself as a player.”
Speaking after his team’s disappointing loss and subsequent exit from the tournament, Eoin Morgan said: “On paper we had a really strong team, but we continued to underperform throughout the group stage, especially in matches that we felt we should have won, because we know how unpredictable T10 cricket can be, where you need to play constant aggressive cricket, which isn’t always easy. It’s great to see the crowds in Abu Dhabi coming to see the cricket, and hopefully this format can evolve and improve over the next few years”.
The cricketing action continues with league leaders Maratha Arabians battling against second placed Bangla Tigers at 17.45, followed by a must win match for both teams as Team Abu Dhabi take on the Karnataka Tuskers at 20.00.
©Cricket World 2019