The Deccan Gladiators held their nerve at the end to pull off a thrilling last-over win over Team Abu Dhabi in the Abu Dhabi T10 League on Friday night.
Opener Cameron Delport, UAE pacer Zahoor Khan and Indian quick Imtiaz Ahmed shone as Kieron Pollard’s team won the Group B fixture by six wickets at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
After Zahoor Khan had snapped up three wickets and Imtiaz Ahmed two to restrict Team Abu Dhabi to 95 for nine, southpaw Delport stroked a 24-ball 40 with six boundaries and a six.
England pacer Jamie Overton made things interesting by removing Pollard and Azam Khan off successive balls in the final over. But Sunil Narine kept his composure to avert the hat trick and stroked a boundary to see them through with two balls to spare.
The Deccan Gladiators bounced back from their opening defeat where they had gone down to the Pune Devils by seven wickets on Thursday.
“Well played to the boys for these two points,” Pollard said at the post-match presentation.
“It is about coming out backing yourself and trying to execute as much as possible. If you are batting, you try to be on top of the bowlers. You just come to play and you try to enjoy yourselves and prove each and every time. You don't know what can happen in two days time, we can get smashed around the park. So, we are expecting both sides of it but we need to do our homework and execute well,” the West Indian added.
Earlier, the stage was well and truly set for a ‘Gayle Storm’ but the ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle flattered to deceive after Team Abu Dhabi were put into bat.
The towering Jamaican started off with a boundary off Imtiaz Ahmed but the Indian pacer pinned Gayle down with a fantastic yorker. Imitiaz hurled it right in the blockhole and Gayle was a tad too late to bring his willow down and found himself in a bit of a knot as the ball rattled the stumps.
Paul Stirling too began with a boundary, creaming Imitiaz through the covers but the bowler had the last laugh yet again, having the Irishman clean bowled.
Opener and skipper Luke Wright and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Duckett staged a recovery of sorts after being eight for the loss of two wickets but the latter departed after making a run-a-ball seven that had one boundary. The English southpaw top-edged medium pacer Aaron Summers and Zahoor Khan took a fine catch at short third-man.
Wright and Joe Clarke pulled them back yet again with a 28-run stand for the fourth wicket to take Team Abu Dhabi from a precariously placed 22 for three to 50. But Clarke’s defiance came to end after he was castled by Zahoor Khan.
The UAE medium pacer, who had assisted the Mumbai Indians on their path to a fifth IPL title in the UAE last year, deceived Clarke with a slower one that crashed into the stumps.
The 31-year-old got his second wicket in the same over after left-hander Najibullah Zadran could only top-edge a pull and South African leg spinner Imran Tahir sprinted and took a brilliant catch at long leg.
Wright’s resistance too came to an end after he was run out by Cameron Delport-Ravi Rampaul while attempting a second run. It was a sorry state for Team Abu Dhabi as wickets continued to fall and they eventually finished up with that total.
Zahoor Khan finished up with three wickets for 13 after he castled UAE teammate Rohan Mustafa. He could have ended up with four when he had Usman Shinwari clean bowled but it was a no-ball as he had overstepped the crease.
Imitiaz Ahmed returned with two for eight from his one over.
Team Abu Dhabi: 95-9 in 10 overs (Luke Wright 25, Joe Clarke 21, Jamie Overton 10, Zahoor Khan 3-13, Imtiaz Ahmed 2-8) lost to Deccan Gladiators: 98-4 in 9.4 overs (Cameron Delport 40, Kieron Pollard 24, Mohammad Shahzad 21, Jamie Overton 3-18) by 6 wickets.
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