ABU DHABI 18 November 2019: Tumbling wickets and mounting runs left fans breathless on the third day of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10.
Team Abu Dhabi and the Maratha Arabians both sealed their first victories of the tournament, against the Northern Warriors and Team Qalandars , whilst the Bangla Tigers’ Andre Fletcher rocketed his team to victory against the Karnataka Tuskers.
Match Report 1: Northern Warriors vs. Team Abu Dhabi
The Northern Warriors won the toss, electing to bat, being the first to choose to do so in the tournament. Former opener George Munsey was left in the dressing room, allowing Sam Billings and Darren Sammy to open the batting. The pair found an easy rhythm of quick runs, before Sammy was dismissed for 17 by Ben Laughlin.
Andre Russell replaced his fellow West Indian at the crease, but struggled to get balls past Team Abu Dhabi’s restrictive, but at times sloppy, fielding. With the Warriors at 59 by the seventh over, Russell and Billings fought to bring some big shots to the Warriors’ advantage, but struggled to find the distance against Abu Dhabi’s pace powerhouses of Laughlin, Gurney and de Lange, leaving the Warriors to defend a low 91.
Team Abu Dhabi began their chase in earnest, with Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella bringing the home-side eight runs in the first over, before losing his wicket in the second. The English pair Luke Wright and Moeen Ali didn’t allow Dickwella’s wicket to stop them, playing expressive and confident drives that found the boundary rope time and time again.
As the Arabian sun sunk over the capital city, Team Abu Dhabi crossed their half century at the 28th ball.
Wright and Ali opened up their arms, and in spite of Warriors’ bowlers such as Russell and Rayad Emrit, whirred balls far and wide. In spite of dismissing Wright for a run out on 48, and then Lewis Gregory for a duck, the Warriors seemed powerless to stop Team Abu Dhabi sealing their victory, who won by six wickets with nine balls remaining.
Captain of Team Abu Dhabi, Moeen Ali, said: “We were outstanding with the ball today. I couldn’t have asked for anything more for Russell to be not out but not to have got as many he would have liked to. I thought we were amazing.”
Speaking after the match, Darren Sammy said: “We’re disappointed. We still have an opportunity to finish in the top four, and make a run for the playoffs. The tournament is not over for us.”
Match Report 2: Bangla Tigers vs. Karnataka Tuskers
The Bangla Tigers elected to bowl, and sought early dismissals of the Tuskers’ openers, Captain Hashim Amla and the in-form Johnson Charles. Some snappy, albeit risky, runs and numerous boundaries in the opening overs ensured a flowing score for the openers, with Charles racing to 27 off 13.
Guided by Amla’s experience and Charles’ brute force, the Tuskers reached 49 runs in 18 fast deliveries.
The Tigers prowled for an opportunity, but Charles and Amla rebuffed them at every turn. They finally found their chance in the eighth over, as a diving David Weise caught Charles on the boundary, but not after Charles had posted 57 off 29. A graceful Amla closed the partnership with Ross Whiteley, posting 115.
The Bangla Tigers’ started a blistering run chase, with Andre Fletcher stepping into top gear, with 26 off 8 deliveries. Fletcher pummelled the Tuskers’ bowlers, with young English pacer Pat Brown leaking 25 in one over. Shafiqullah swiftly removed Fletcher’s stumps, leaving the batsman to depart on a ferocious 40 off 15. The Tuskers sought control, with Captain Amla’s steady hand providing the run out of Tigers’ batsman Colin Ingram and the catch of Tuskers’ Captain, Perera.
The Tigers’ Thomas Moores and Robbie Frylinck pushed toward 115, and in spite of Frylinck being caught at the boundary for 13, the Tuskers could not get in the way of the sprinting Tigers. David Weise finished the match with smashing a boundary, leaving the Tigers to post 117, winning the match with five wickets and seven balls remaining.
Man of the Match, Andre Fletcher, said: “My team needed me to give them a good start. We went in with that intent, and it’s good I can contribute for my team, and hopefully carry on.”
Captain of the Karnataka Tuskers, Hashim Amla, said: “Fletcher played a fantastic knock for them. The way he was striking the ball – I didn’t think any ground in the world was big enough for that. He played a fantastic knock that nullified our advantage.”
Match Report 3: Maratha Arabians vs. Team Qalandars
The Maratha Arabians had a shaky start to their innings in what was a must win match against Team Qalandars. After being placed into bat, the Arabians’ Adam Lyth and Chris Lynn enjoyed fluent opening overs, adding 33 to the scoreboard, before Lyth lost his wicket at the end of the second over. The iconic Yuvraj Singh came to the Arabians’ aid, but Lynn lost his wicket on 20, to be followed by Yuvi on 14, lobbing a shot caught by Jordan Clark off his own bowling.
The Qalandars’ bowlers delivered wickets to fans’ delight, with Sri Lankan fast bowler Lahiru Kumara snatching the wickets of fellow countryman Dasun Shanaka for 16 and Captain Dwayne Bravo for 1. The Arabians’ innings would have ended in disaster, if not for the quick work of Man of the Match, Mitchell McClenaghan, who pulled a fast 20 off seven balls, providing the Qalandars with a score of 107 to chase.
McClenaghan and Malinga spearheaded a fierce Arabians’ bowling attack, which left the Qalandars reeling after opener Luke Ronchi’s dismissal for 0 in the first over.
The Qalandars pulled together a meagre 32 by the sixth over, and desperation led to disaster, as Yuvraj knocked the bails of Phil Salt for seven after miscommunication with Dawid Malan. The Captain was dismissed by Bravo at the end of the next over for 32 off 25, leaving Qalandars requiring 60 runs from a slim 18 balls. The Maratha bowlers gave no inch to the Qalandars in the closing overs, maintaining a clinical approach and a tight field that constrained balls far from the boundary rope. James Fuller concluded the Maratha Arabians’ bowling attack, and the team won their first match of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 by 47 runs.
Man of the Match, the Maratha Arabians’ Mitchell McClenaghan, commented in the post-match press conference: “I think it’s probably easier to chase, especially as the day goes on. That being said, if you can put 100 to 110 on the board, and take early wickets, that’s probably crucial. We were aggressive throughout, changed our deliveries quite a lot, and tried to stay ahead of the game.”
Team Qalandars’ bowler, Chris Jordan, commented on the team’s performance: “It’s one of those games that you draw a line under, and move on. I just want to focus on the good vibe that we have in the camp so far. It’s only one loss, and there’s a long way to go in the tournament, so we want to put that right next game.”
The final day of the first stage of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 concludes tomorrow, with Deccan Gladiators and the Karnataka Tuskers battling out their placement in group A, Team Abu Dhabi facing the Maratha Arabians, and Eoin Morgan’s Delhi Bulls clashing with Perera’s Bangla Tigers. The tournament, which will run through to 24 November, is being broadcast in India on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3.