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HomeCricketJosh Little’s big blows help Deccan Gladiators stop Team Abu Dhabi in...

Josh Little’s big blows help Deccan Gladiators stop Team Abu Dhabi in a thrilling Eliminator clash

ABU DHABI: A spirited bowling display from Deccan Gladiators ousted Team Abu Dhabi by five runs in the eliminator of the Abu Dhabi T10.

Deccan Gladiators had posted only 94 for 6 in 10 overs but restricted Team Abu Dhabi to 89 for 8 in an edge of the seat thriller.

Josh Little broke the middle order of Team Abu Dhabi with two wickets and he was well backed by Sultan Ahmed, Zahir Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi and Zahoor Khan, all of whom took two wickets each. Zahoor Khan who bowled the last over gave away only 11 runs when Abu Dhabi needed 17 runs to win from the last over.

Defending champions Deccan Gladiators thus qualified to play in the second qualifier against Samp Army in Qualifier 2, which will decide who will play against New York Strikers in the final on Sunday.

Team Abu Dhabi won the toss and elected to field. Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Will Smeed opening the batting for Deccan Gladiators and managed only a 12 runs partnership. Peter Hatzoglou got Smeed out for 6 with the last ball of the second over for 6. Going for a big hit, he missed the line of the ball completely and the ball hit the top of his middle stump.

Nicholas Pooran, who walked in, began in his usual aggressive style hitting Adil Rashid for a six over deep square leg. Off the fifth delivery, Pooran top edged Rashid to Naveen Ul Haq who dropped him at deep square leg. The drop did not prove costly for Team Abu Dhabi as Pooran fell to the next ball caught by James Vince at long-off for 14.

The third over from Fabian Allen was a disastrous one for Deccan Gladiators. With the third delivery he had Andre Russell out caught by Vince at long-off for a duck. One ball later, danger man Kohler-Cadmore  got run out through a fine  pick up and throw from Hatzoglou at point for 6.  David Wiese began to hit out and lifted Rashid for a huge six over deep square leg. He also slog swept the last ball of the over for another six. Fifteen runs came off that over.

In the sixth over, Hatzoglou gave only a boundary to Odean Smith and Deccan Gladiators’ score read 55 for 4 in six overs. Smith hit two consecutive sixes off Andrew Tye, the first to deep mid-wicket and the second over extra cover. The fifth delivery from Tye was also smashed for a six over long off. Deccan Gladiators’s score thus reached 74 for 4 in seven overs.

The last three overs needed some more big hits and Smith got a boundary off the first ball of the eighth over from Naveen Ul Haq to third man.  Off the second ball, Smith got out to an unbelievable catch by Hatzoglou for 32. Hatzoglou, running back. dived full length and pulled off a one-handed catch. One ball later, Naveen Ul Haq got Wiese too out for 13 when Alishan Sharafu took Wiese’s pull shot to deep mid-wicket by running in and diving full length for another spectacular catch.

With the score on 80 for 6 and only two more overs to go, Deccan Gladiators hopes of a total beyond the 100-run mark began to fade. Andrew Tye made sure that they did not make it to the three figure mark with a tight ninth over giving away just five runs. The last over bowled by Fabian Allen too yielded only nine runs and in the end Deccan Gladiators posted 94 for 6 in 10 overs.

Team Abu Dhabi openers Alex Hales and skipper Chris Lynn began the chase well. Lynn hit Sultan Ahmed for two consecutive boundaries off the third and fourth deliveries. But Sultan Ahmed struck with the last delivery clean bowling Hales for 1 with an arm ball. Zahir Khan’s first delivery off the second over was swept by Lynn for a boundary to fine leg. Off the second delivery Zahir Khan struck by trapping Lynn leg before for 13.  Brandon King, not affected by what had happened, hit Zahir Khan for two consecutive boundaries.

Sultan Ahmed, with the first ball of the third over, produced another arm ball to hit King’s middle stump. King paid the price for playing across the line. Vince hit Sultan’s tossed up delivery through extra cover for a boundary.  Zahir Khan struck again in the fourth over t o have Fabian Allen hit high to Josh Little at long-off for 4. UAE’s young batsman Alishan Sharafu hit Zahir Khan for a six over square leg to make it 40 for 4 in four overs. Zahoor Khan bowled a fine fifth over giving away just seven runs.

With 48 runs needed off the last five overs, the match was evenly balanced. Josh Little gave away only a boundary to Vince in the sixth over. The first ball of the seventh over from Fabraiz Shamsi ended Vince’s knock by trapping him leg before for 21. He gave away only three runs in that over to help Deccan Gladiator tighten the grip on the match.

With thirty-four runs needed from 18 balls, Sharafu slashed at Little and got out caught behind by wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran for 9.  Little also trapped Andrew Tye leg before with the next ball.  Only four runs came off that over.  Adil Rashid hit Shamsi’s second ball of the ninth over for a six to make it 21 runs from 10 deliveries.  Shamsi trapped Hatzoglou leg before with the fifth delivery for 5.

Home team supporters vociferously cheered for Team Abu Dhabi who needed 17 runs from the last six deliveries. Zahoor Khan was introduced for the over and Naveen Ul Haq picked a single off the first while Rashid took two runs off the second delivery. The third was hit by Rashid for a six over long-on to make it eight runs from three balls. Off the fourth ball they picked a single bye. With seven from two balls, they took another single bye. When six runs were needed off the last ball, Zahoor gave away no run and his team won the match by five runs.

Brief scores: (Eliminator)

Deccan Gladiators bt Team Abu Dhabi by five runs. Deccan Gladiators 94 for 6 in 10 overs (Odean Smith 32, Naveen Ul Haq 2 for 10) Team Abu Dhabi 89 for 8 in 10 overs (James Vince 21, Sultan Ahmed 2 for 17, Zahir Khan 2 for 22, Josh Little 2 for 15, Tabraiz Shamsi 2 for 12)

Player of the Match: Josh Little



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