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Qalandars polish off Gladiators to remain unbeaten

Sohail Akhtar made 71 not out from 31 deliveries. — Supplied photo
Sohail Akhtar made 71 not out from 31 deliveries. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - The victory saw the Qalandars become the only team to win all three matches across both the groups

By James Jose

Published: Sun 31 Jan 2021, 10:49 PM

Captain Sohail Akhtar blitzed his way to an unbeaten half-century and England pacer Chris Jordan snapped up three wickets and UAE left-arm spinner spinner Sultan Ahmed two, as the Qalandars polished off the Deccan Gladiators in the final group game in the Alubond Abu Dhabi T10 League on Sunday night.

After Akhtar had smashed his way to 71 not out from 31 deliveries that was garnished with six boundaries and five sixes to help the Qalandars post 118-3, Jordan and Ahmed broke the back of the Gladiators to restrict them to 85-8. Jordan returned with 3-8 and Ahmed 2-14 as the Qalandars won the Group B fixture by 33 runs.

The victory saw the Qalandars become the only team to win all three matches across both the groups.

“It is a great feeling,” Akhtar said at the post-match presentation.

“Our bowling and batting have been wonderful. We are lucky to have an excellent bowler like Chris Jordan,” he added.

Earlier, Akhtar’s burst and opener Tom Banton’s crispy knock saw the Qalandars lay down the good marker, after being told to have the first dig by Deccan Gladiators skipper Kieron Pollard.

The Qalandars lost opener Sharjeel Khan early, in the second over after the Pakistan southpaw was castled by off-spinner Sunil Narine.

But Akhtar, whose previous two scores in the tournament were 33 not out and 27 not out against the Pune Devils and Team Abu Dhabi respectively, joined forces with Banton and the pair ensured that it was just a blip by forging together 81 runs for the second wicket. They duo kept picking boundaries and sixes to keep the scoreboard ticking before Banton fell leg before to UAE medium pacer Zahoor Khan, while attempting a reverse sweep. Banton, who had made 45 and 30 against the Pune Devils and Team Abu Dhabi respectively in the first two games, scored 36 from 20 deliveries and his knock was studded with five boundaries and a six.

Akhtar then went on to usher in his fifty with a six off medium pacer Anwar Ali, over long-off and then followed that up with another six off the next ball, cracking it over midwicket, this time.

The Deccan Gladiators began the chase with the openers Mohammad Shahzad and Cameron Delport putting the skates on to race to 45. But Delport was run out when trying to steal a single, with Azmatullah Omarzai firing in a direct hit at the bowler’s end. The southpaw’s 19 came from 11 balls and had three boundaries.

The burly Shahzad followed soon after, in the same over, after he danced down the track only to miss the line completely. And wicketkeeper Ben Dunk made no mistake, whipping the bails off in a jiffy.

Pakistan’s Azam Khan too followed suit in the same manner as Shahzad, going down the strip to UAE left-arm spinner Sultan Ahmed, only to be stumped by Dunk.

And Sultan Ahmed was to get another wicket in the same over and the big one — Pollard — with the West Indian missing it and seeing it crash into his stumps.

And with Pollard’s compatriot all-rounder Sunil Narine out for nought, caught by Asif Ali off Chris Jordan, it was as good as over for the Gladiators.

Brief scores:

Qalandars: 118-3 in 10 overs (Sohail Akhtar 71 not out, Tom Banton 36) beat Deccan Gladiators: 85-8 in 10 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 27, Cameron Delport 19, Anwar Ali 10, Chris Jordan 3-8, Sultan Ahmed 2-14) by 33 runs.


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