Maratha Arabians stay on top as they beat Bangla Tigers in Abu Dhabi T10
In the second match of the eighth night of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10, the Maratha Arabians sought to hold on to top place, whilst the Bangla Tigers attempted to dethrone their opponents in a thrilling match that culminated in a easy run chase as Yuvraj Singh and Najibullah Zadran took their team over the line with nine balls to spare, ensuring they head into the semi finals in first place.
The Maratha Arabians’ Yuvraj Singh sent the crowd wild, as his smart catching waved Bangla Tigers’ opener, Rilee Rossouw, back to the dugout from the innings’ second ball. Lasith Malinga was clearly frustrated with the big hitting of Andre Fletcher, as the West Indies’ batsman smashed two consecutive sixes off the Sri Lankan’s bowling, but Malinga struck back, claiming Fletcher’s wicket for 13 after he skied a delivery into the hands of Dasun Shanaka. Colin Ingram departed for 7 on a catch from Dwayne Bravo, and Thisara Perera only mustered four runs, caught attempting a rasping shot that failed to reach the ropes.
The collapse seemed to continue as Tom Moores found his middle stump flattened on his second ball, but the delivery from Kasun Rajitha was deemed as a no-ball, keeping Moores in the game. The English batsman grabbed the opportunity with both hands, taking a four with the subsequent free hit and not looking back. As wickets continue to fall around him, it was left to Moores and Robert Frylinck to push their team to a competitive total, as they continued to frustrate the Maratha Arabians’ bowlers with some intelligent and at times brutal shots.
Frylinck’s ambitious shots proved to be his downfall, as yet another catch was taken off one of Dwayne Bravo’s balls. Moores and England’s Liam Plunkett desperately tried to hit big in the final over, but were limited by tenacious fielding from the opposition, closing their innings at 106/7.
The Bangla Tigers’ bowlers probed the defences of Chris Lynn, looking for an early breakthrough as the Australian opener, the highest scorer of the tournament so far with 288, looked to thrill the stadium with an exhibition of big shots. However, he was not to have the same impact in this game as he was caught uncharacteristically miscuing a shot straight from David Wiese, falling for 23.
Qais Ahmed’s brilliant delivery deceived Chadwick Walton, and brought Indian superstar Yuvraj Singh to the crease, as fans around the stadium bellowed his name.
In the fourth over with his team cruising at 48/3, Adam Lyth cheaply gave his wicket away, chasing a bouncer as he departed for a low score of 14. On a pitch that was increasingly looking like it was favouring the bowlers, Yuvraj and Najibullah Zadran failed to get off to a rapid start. As they began to settle in, a humongous six from the Indian legend signalled the intent for the pair to start playing riskier shots as boundaries began to flow as they quickly chased down the total.
With 8 runs needed from the final two overs, victory was inevitable for the Maratha Arabians, as Yuvraj stylishly completed the run chase with a flick off the pads that sailed for six.
After his side topped the table, Maratha Arabians’ Head Coach Andy Flower said: “It is a fantastic feeling to finish first, and although we know it’s going to be tough for us in the semi-finals, it’s great that we have momentum behind us. It’s a brilliant thing that UAE players are playing a massive role in the tournament for us. For example, Shiraz has been pivotal in our success. It’s very important that UAE players get the experience and exposure of playing in front of such huge crowds alongside world class players.”
Despite his team’s loss Bangla Tigers’ Thisara Perera was upbeat about his team’s chances in the semi-finals saying: “We are glad to be in the semi-finals. Despite the loss today, we have faith in our team’s ability, not only with the bat but with the ball too. The ground in Abu Dhabi is really good for bowling, because it has big boundaries, so if we find the right line and length we will be able to defend whatever competitive total we put up.”
The day will conclude with Team Abu Dhabi looking for a victory in their final appearance of the tournament against Karnataka Tusker’s at 20:00.
©Cricket World 2019