The playoffs of the Abu Dhabi T10 season 5 saw a riveting battle between the four teams, with the top two sides from group stage, Deccan Gladiators and Delhi Bulls, eventually making it to the final.
In the first qualifier of the evening, Deccan Gladiators beat Delhi Bulls by 17 runs to book the final berth while Team Abu Dhabi got the better of the Bangla Tigers in the Eliminator, beating them by seven wickets.
However, in the second qualifier, Delhi Bulls made no mistakes. The Dwayne Bravo-led side comfortably beat Abu Dhabi by 49 runs to set up a rematch against the Deccan Gladiators on Saturday.
Here’s what went down on a thrilling penultimate day of the Abu Dhabi T10.
Deccan Gladiators tame Delhi Bulls to reach final | Full scorecard
In the first qualifier, Deccan Gladiators beat Delhi Bulls by 17 runs to make their second final appearance of the tournament.
Put in to bat, opener Andre Russell scored 39 off 14 deliveries to take Deccan Gladiators to 47/0 in three overs.
However, in the next over, Russell lost his wicket, handing a simple catch to Dwayne Bravo at the long-off fence off Dominic Drakes. Drakes was the pick of the Bulls’ bowlers as he ended with figures of 3-15 including the wickets of Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Anwar Ali in the sixth over.
At 86/4 in seven overs, Deccan Gladiators needed a strong finish and in Odean Smith and David Wiese, they found just that. The duo smacked Fazalhaq Farooqi for 27 runs in the penultimate over to provide fuel to the Gladiators innings. In the end, Deccan Gladiators reached 139/4.
In reply, Chandrapaul Hemraj got things moving for Delhi Bulls as he clobbered Sultan Ahmed for 23 runs in the second over of the chase. However, his exit in the next over derailed Delhi Bulls’ innings.
Although Sherfane Rutherford (21 off 14) and Eoin Morgan (27 from eight) tried to keep the Bulls afloat, wickets at regular intervals kept the required run-rate mounting and they eventually fell short of the target.
Brief scores: Deccan Gladiators 139/4 (Andre Russell 39, Dominic Drakes 3-15) beat Delhi Bulls 122-5 (Eoin Morgan 27, Tymal Mills 1-21) by 17 runs.
Team Abu Dhabi triumph in Eliminator | Full scorecard
Team Abu Dhabi registered a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Bangla Tigers in the Eliminator to have a shot at the final.
Bangla Tigers captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to bat first. However, the move backfired in the very first over as opener Johnson Charles was sent back for a golden duck by Sheldon Cottrell. To add salt to the wound, Fidel Edwards dismissed Faf du Plessis and Will Jacks in the next over, leaving the Tigers reeling at 16/3.
However, Hazratullah Zazai once again came to the rescue as he single-handedly dragged Bangla Tigers to 101/4 in 10 overs. Zazai struck an unbeaten 66 off 37 balls, smashing four sixes and five fours.
In reply, the home team was off to a flyer as openers Philip Salt and Paul Stirling decimated the Bangla Tigers’ bowlers. Stirling in particular was the aggressor, pounding 57 off just 20 balls, laced with fives sixes and as many fours.
Although the Irishman was dismissed in the fifth over, Abu Dhabi had already scored 81 and the game had slipped out of the Tigers’ grip.
In the end, Team Abu Dhabi comfortably reached the total with 19 balls to spare.
Brief scores: Bangla Tigers 101/4 (Hazratullah Zazai 66, Fidel Edwards 2-20) lost to Team Abu Dhabi 105/3 (Paul Stirling 57, Benny Howell 2-22) by 7 wickets
Dominic Drakes takes Delhi Bulls into the final | Full scorecard
Splendid bowling spells from Dominic Drakes and Fazalhaq Farooqi in Qualifier 2 against Team Abu Dhabi propelled the Delhi Bulls into their second straight Abu Dhabi T10 final.
Batting first, Delhi Bulls were off to a disastrous start, losing Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the first over. Abu Dhabi skipper Liam Livingstone then spun a web around the Bulls’ batters as he snapped the crucial wickets of Sherfane Rutherford and Eoin Morgan, leaving the Bulls tattering at 45/4 in 4.3 overs.
Team Abu Dhabi bowlers continued to mount pressure on Dwayne Bravo’s men as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A quick cameo of 26 from 16 balls from Romario Shepherd and a late flourish from Adil Rashid took Delhi Bulls to 109/7.
In reply, Team Abu Dhabi came out swinging as Paul Stirling smashed Chandrapaul Hemraj for 23 runs in the opening over of the chase. However, the in-form Dominic Drakes’ twin strikes in the second over brought the Delhi Bulls back into the match.
Thereafter, the introduction of Fazalhaq Farooqi in the fourth over further pulled Team Abu Dhabi back as they lost previous match’s hero Paul Stirling and Colin Ingram in an attempt to up the ante.
Later, Chris Gayle’s dismissal was the final nail in the coffin as the home side slipped to 44/6 at the end of the fifth over.
West Indian Dominic Drakes continued his impressive spell by picking two more wickets in his next over as Team Abu Dhabi were eventually bundled out for 60.
Delhi Bulls 109/7 (Romario Shepherd 26, Liam Livingstone 2-7) beat Team Abu Dhabi 60 (Philip Salt 15, Dominic Drakes 4-13)