Shahzad Spirits Gladiators' Victory Against Team Qalanders
The Deccan Gladiators have won the first match of the second stage of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10, with a blitzing batting performance from Mohammad Shahzad proving impossible for Team Qalandars to overcome.
In spite of the efforts of Skipper Dawid Malan and Phil Salt with the bat, the Deccan Gladiators successfully defended 128 in the first match of the day.
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 just18 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.”
The action of the fifth night of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 continues, with the Delhi Bulls and the Northern Warriors clashing at 17:45, before the Bangla Tigers clash with Team Abu Dhabi at 20:00.
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