Deccan Gladiators and Maratha Arabians blaze to finals

By DG Staff

23rd November 2019 Abu Dhabi (UAE) - Super league - Qualifier 1, Maratha Arabians vs Qalandars. The third edition of the T10 League, November 14 to 24 at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI 24 November 2019: The Maratha Arabians and the Deccan Gladiators will face off tomorrow in the final of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10, after both teams defeated Team Qalandars in the first and third matches of the ninth day of play of the tournament. Qalandars will meet with the defeated Bangla Tigers tomorrow to tussle for third place in a momentous tenth day of action that promises to leave audiences astounded.

Match Report 1: Team Qalandars vs Maratha Arabians

Under the glorious Abu Dhabi sun, Chris Lynn and Hazratullah Zazai strode out to the crease as the Maratha Arabians looked to book their team’s place in the final. Dawid Malan’s Qalandars found some early impetus, as Mujeeb Ur Rahman found the wicket of Afghan compatriot on the match’s fourth ball for 1. However, Lynn and Adam Lyth built a strong partnership, pushing their team past fifty as the match entered the fourth over.

The blossoming partnership was soon ended as George Garton, the leading wicket taker of the tournament, took his twelfth scalp as Lyth could only watch his attempted heave nestle into the hands of Phil Salt, departing for 28. Despite Team Qalandars’ attempt to stifle the free hitting Lynn with some astute bowling, the Australian opener continued to force the bowling attack on the back foot, picking out clever gaps in the field. In a flurry of wickets that fell in the sixth over, Najibullah Zadran departed for 2 and Yuvraj Singh edged high in the air down to third man.

Lynn’s impressive form continued as he smashed two consecutive well-timed sixes off Lahiru Kumara to bring up his half-century and the team’s century. England’s Jordan Clark kept a calm composure in the final over, playing a delivery that forced Lynn to hit straight to the hands of Kohler-Cadmore. Shanka’s wicket was the final one to fall as Maratha Arabians closed their innings, setting the Qalandars a target of 120, built upon Lynn’s magnificent 67 runs of 30 balls.

New Zealand’s Luke Ronchi began the run chase in blistering fashion, smoothly gliding three deliveries to the boundary in the first over. Captain Dwayne Bravo looked  to combat the opener with his own bowling, and the decision immediately paid dividends, edging a slower ball onto Ronchi’s stumps, departing for 17. Captain Dawid Malan continued to play expansive cricket alongside Phil Salt, whose short but impactful innings saw him make 26 runs of 10 balls.

Just as the Qalandars reached 50 runs, the Maratha Arabians began to climb into the ascendancy as Dawid Malan found himself to be the latest casualty of Mitch McClenaghan, leaving his team three down and needing 61 runs from 27 deliveries. Lasith Malinga, McClenaghan and Dwayne Bravo channeled all their experience into increasing pressure on the Qalandars’ batsmen, as the runs dried up and the run rate crept up to 24.00.

After Tom Kohler-Cadmore was run out scrambling for a second run in the final ball of the ninth over, the Qalandars hopes rested on England’s Laurie Evans and the UAE’s Amjad Khan, who required 28 from the last over. The tension was palpable in the crowd, as Evans flicked a humongous six and played a lovely drive for four, reducing the required run rate to 18 from three balls.  The challenge ultimately proved too much for the defiant Englishman, who could only find one six from the three required, as the Maratha Arabians became the first team to cement their place in the final.

Bravo spoke on his team’s jubilation at reaching the final saying: “We are extremely happy at reaching the final, because as a team right from the beginning we have developed a strategy that we have had to focus on and we have done that very successfully. It’s a great experience for the UAE players as well to get exposure to pressure situations. They will benefit from all the knowledge that is being shared with them in the T10 from world class experienced players”.

Malan commented on the fine margins of his team’s defeat saying: “Today, the difference was that we were unable to capitalize on one delivery when we were batting and one delivery when we were bowling. But that’s the nature of T10 where we have seen how every ball is crucial. Ahead of another game later on today we just need to focus on our plans and go out there and execute it to make sure we are in the final come tomorrow.”

Match Report 2: Deccan Gladiators vs Bangla Tigers

The Bangla Tigers were placed into field by the Deccan Gladiators who were looking to restrict the Tigers from big runs, alongside securing big wickets. The Gladiators’ Sheldon Cottrell filled that objective in the first over, taking the wicket of fellow West Indian Andre Fletcher for seven, before snatching the scalp of South Africa’s Colin Ingram for one, treating crowds to his much-loved saluting celebration.

Rilee Rossouw was however made of stronger stuff than to be flummoxed by the belligerent Gladiators, and worked with UAE’s Chirag Suri to manoeuvre balls to the ropes. The Gladiators were clearly frustrated as two dollies were dropped by young Mason Crane, but their bowling helped keep the Tigers’ run rate below 10 an over.

Suri was caught by Cottrell, bringing Captain Thisara Perera to the crease, needing to play a steely innings to keep the Tigers’ hopes for the final and the tournament alive. The two men were able to find six fours in the final two overs, as Rossouw powered his way to a half century off 26 balls. The Tigers closed on 107, leaving the Gladiators a required run rate of 10.80 to win.

The Gladiators sought to cement their victory with a solid opening partnership of Mohammad Shahzad and Captain Shane Watson. Shahzad brought his iconic clumping big hitting to the crease, taking consecutive four fours out of David Weise’s bowling. However, Shahzad mishit a ball into the heavens, gracefully accepted by the hands of Ferhad Reza. Kieron Pollard joined Watson and the two men carried on, confident of victory, but Kevin Koththigoda snapped Watson’s off stump with a wicked delivery for 16 and Pollard was caught by Captain Perera two balls later.

Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa and England’s Dan Lawrence sought to continue the chase, but the Tigers were prowling for wickets, and Colin Ingram provided, running in from deep midwicket to catch Rajapaska for seven.

Looks of concern peppered the Gladiators’ faces, particularly after Lawrence’s wicket in the ninth over from Perera after a spirited knock of 33 off 13 balls from the Englishman. However, the Gladiators were left only requiring a short four balls in the final over, and Ben Cutting was happy to oblige with a shot to backward square for four.

Speaking after his team’s exit from the tournament Thisara Perera said: “Throughout the tournament we could execute our game plan consistently enough. I want to thank my teammates and show appreciation to all the fans who have supported us this year. We have all enjoyed our experience in Abu Dhabi but it’s not over yet, we will work hard to make sure we finish third tomorrow”.

Match Report 3: Deccan Gladiators vs Team Qalandars

The Deccan Gladiators met with Team Qalandars as both played their second match of the evening, with both needing to come out victorious to secure their spot in the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 final against the Maratha Arabians. Mohammed Shahzad’s role at the top of the order to light up the innings continued as he scored a lightning 19 runs in 8 balls before succumbing to the first of Samit Patel’s wickets. The very next ball, Patel struck again as Bhanuka Rajapaksa found himself facing a swift return to the dugout with Phil Salt taking a low diving catch to dismiss him for a golden duck. The wickets continued to fall as a rampant Qalandars’ bowling attack captured their third wicket, with Salt again taking advantage of a loose shot from Lawrence off Amjad Khan’s bowling.

As Kieron Pollard sauntered up to the crease to join Shane Watson, Deccan Gladiators were at 24 for three from three overs. However, the legendary Australian opener became the latest victim of the batting collapse, making only 16, as he allowed Patel to grab his third wicket of the match, pulling it in the air to deep midwicket. The ruthless bowling attack continued to squeeze the hapless batsmen as their innings began to unravel, following Devcich’s dismissal as he ramped it high in the air to third man, who took a low catch inches from the ground.

Ben Cutting and Pollard steadied the innings into the eight over, bringing their team’s total to 82 for five before Pollard had his off stump removed by Jordan Clark, as he left the field having made 19 runs. Four consecutive sixes from Cutting off Garton’s final over added gloss to a poor innings, as he ended unbeaten on 43 runs from 18 deliveries, helping his team post a respectable first innings lead of 117.

Qalandars’ Luke Ronchi and Dawid Malan sought to get the run chase started in earnest as they looked for a speedy start. However, Malan’s urgency was not tempered by any technique, as he swung and missed a Sheldon Cottrell delivery that shattered his stumps. Fellow opener Luke Ronchi also fell in a similar manner, as he looked behind him to find his stumps rearranged by Fawad Ahmad leaving his team needing a mammoth 85 runs from 33 balls.

Phil Salt and Amjad Khan began the rebuild job as they began chipping away at the total with Amjad taking the driving seat, smashing consecutive sixes off Pollard as they passed the fifty mark in the fifth over. The pair frustrated the Gladiators’ bowling attack, progressing steadily as they reached 73 for two in the seventh over, before losing Amjad for who was beaten by a quicker delivery from Ahmad that didn’t turn, as the required run rate climbed to 18.00.

Needing 33 from the remaining nine deliveries, Salt managed to edge some fortunate boundaries and thundered a massive six, coming down the ground to meet a Migael Pretorius ball before a brilliant diving catch from Dan Lawrence, just managing to wrap his hands under the ball dismissed the dangerous Englishman. With 18 needed from the final three balls, only a six would keep the Qalandars in the tournament. They couldn’t find the boundary rope, and the Deccan Gladiators booked their place in the final, closing out a comfortable victory by 12 runs.

Speaking on reaching the final, Shane Watson, Captain of the Deccan Gladiators, said: “We had a fantastic run to the final, testament to the brilliant skill set of our team and the coaching staff. Ben Cutting provided a big boost for us at the end of this game, which got us across the line. Additionally, throughout the tournament, we have seen the development of UAE players and how they have performed really well against world-class players. It bodes well for the future of the cricket in this country. Abu Dhabi is an awesome city – I love it. It’s beautifully understated.”

Dawid Malan, speaking on his experience at the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 commented: “I think we bowled exceptionally well until the last over and then we left ourselves too much to do toward the end of our innings. It has been a fantastic tournament here in Abu Dhabi with regards to the exciting and growing T10 format and the facilities. It is a lovely city to spend time in and a great place for the team to bond.”

The third place play off will be contended between Lahore Qalandars and the Bangla Tigers, a game due to kick off at 17:45. The Deccan Gladiators will battle for the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 trophy against the Maratha Arabians in the grand final starting at 20:00.