Captain Luke Wright heaved a sigh of relief after Team Abu Dhabi finally got their campaign on the road with a vital win over the Pune Devils in a Group B fixture of the Abu Dhabi T10 League on Sunday.
Englishman Jamie Overton came up with a blinder when the chips were down, cracking an unbeaten 38 from just deliveries, to help Team Abu Dhabi nick a five-wicket win at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Team Abu Dhabi were in a spot of bother following twin blows from South African medium pacer Hardus Viljoen. At 90-5 and with 40 needed from 21 balls, Overton clubbed four boundaries and three sixes to take them over the line with nine deliveries to spare.
It was their first victory after two defeats against the Deccan Gladiators and Qalandars.
“We certainly needed it,” Wright said at the post-match presentation.
“At the halfway stage, obviously a bit disappointed with the way we bowled but to go and get a score like that was a great effort. It is great to see so many guys, obviously Jamie at the end there playing that well. And if we can win when Chris Gayle isn’t scoring as many runs as he wants obviously, he’s going to fire at some point as well. So, it was an important win and we certainly needed it,” he added.
Earlier, English opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore conjured an unbeaten 61 as the Pune Devils racked up a competitive 129-4.
Kohler-Cadmore had begun by pulling Pakistani left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari for a boundary off the second ball of the day.
Wright brought Rohan Mustafa in to bowl the second over and the UAE off-spinner started well by bowling a couple of fastish yorkers which opener Kennar Lewis and Kohler-Cadmore managed to keep out. But Kohler-Cadmore released the pressure by knocking the Team Abu Dhabi vice-captain for three successive boundaries.
Team Abu Dhabi did get the breakthrough though, in the next over, with West Indian left-arm quick Obed McCoy having compatriot Lewis castled.
Lewis, who had come up with a match-winning unbeaten 57 against the Deccan Gladiators, failed to read a slower ball bowled from the back of the hand and it went on to knock his stumps.
New batsman Chadwick Walton earned a reprieve when he was on three after Jamie Overton fluffed a chance at long-on off Paul Stirling. And the West Indian made them pay for it in the same over by cracking a boundary and a six off consecutive balls.
Tom Helm, who came into the attack in the next over, struggled with his line and length and Kohler-Cadmore smacked him for three successive sixes. The English pacer ended up leaking 22 runs in that over which also included a wide as the Pune Devils strode to 60 for one in five overs.
On the back of Kohler-Cadmore’s knock, the Pune Devils went on to add 69 runs in the next five overs. Kohler-Cadmore went on to reach his fifty with a six over long-off off Shinwari. He also added 51 runs with West Indian Devon Thomas for the fourth wicket.
McCoy ended up finishing with miserly figures of two for nine, while Mustafa took one for 26.
Team Abu Dhabi began the chase with openers Stirling and Chris Gayle putting on 34 runs before the burly Irishman edged Viljoen into the gloves of wicketkeeper Walton.
Gayle failed to fire yet again with the ‘Universe Boss’ dragging Nepal pacer Karan KC onto his stumps.
Wright was castled by left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza, the UAE captain, after which Viljoen dismissed the dangerous duo of Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke off successive deliveries.
Pune Devils: 129-4 in 10 overs (Tom Kohler-Cadmore 61 not out, Chadwick Walton 23, Devon Thomas 21, Obed McCoy 2-9) lost to Team Abu Dhabi: 130-5 in 8.3 overs (Jamie Overton 38 not out, Joe Clarke 29, Jamie Overton Paul Stirling 23, Ben Duckett 20, Hardus Viljoen 3-36) by 5 wickets.
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