Deccan Gladiators square off against Maratha Arabians
The Gladiators defended 116 to win the Eliminator 2 by 12 runs
The Deccan Gladiators held their nerve to get the better of the Qalandars and confirm their face-off against the Maratha Arabians in the title tilt of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The Gladiators defended 116 to win the Eliminator 2 by 12 runs at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. And while, they take on the red-hot Arabians in the final on Sunday night, earlier on the same night, the Qalandars meet the Bangla Tigers in the play-off for the third place.
Earlier, in the evening, the Gladiators had come through against the Tigers in the Eliminator, while the Qalandars had ended up on the wrong side of the result against the Arabians in the Qualifier 1.
The Gladiators, like the Qalandars, who got another crack at it, stuttered to 116 for seven in their 10 overs.
That total was down to Ben Cutting after the Qalandars bowlers punched holes at regular intervals.
Cutting, coming lower down the order at No.7, smoked five sixes and a boundary in his knock of 43, which came from 19 deliveries.
Left-arm spinner Samit Patel polished the top order to come away with three wickets, conceding 26 runs in his two-over quota.
Jordan Clark, who had snapped up four for 20, the best bowling figures in the competition so far, against the Maratha Arabians in Qualifier 1, earlier in the day, picked up two wickets this time.
The Gladiators had found themselves in a bit of pickle after Samit Patel sent back opener Mohammad Shahzad (19) and one-down batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa for nought, off consecutive deliveries in the second over of the innings.
The burly Shahzad was gobbled by George Garton and Philip Salt then showed a safe pair of hands to get Rajapaksa.
There was further damage after Sultan Ahmed struck to remove Daniel Lawrence, with Salt taking his second catch of the match.
The Gladiators were precariously placed after their captain Shane Watson was caught by Garton after the Australian had made 16 from 10 balls with two boundaries and a six.
They were then left tottering on 44 for five in 4.4 overs after Anton Devcich became a victim of Lahiru Kumara after he was caught by Sultan Ahmed for six.
Kieron Pollard and Cutting pulled them out of the rut with a stand of 38 runs for the sixth wicket before the former was castled by Clark. Pollard made 19 from 14 balls with two boundaries and a six.
They would have liked a few more runs but it proved to be just about enough.
The Qalandars, who were without Tom Banton, with the exciting England youngster laid low by injury, opened with Luke Ronchi and skipper Dawid Malan.
The opening stand was worth 20 after Malan was castled by Sheldon Cottrell after the Australian had made five.
Ronchi followed soon after, after the Kiwi was bowled by Fawad Ahmed's leg break, with the batsman making 16 from nine deliveries with a lone boundary and a six.
Amjad Gul Khan and Salt then put on 41 runs for the third wicket to give the Qalandars a flicker of hope and so did Laurie Evans, one of the heroes from the inaugural iteration in Sharjah. But they just fell short.
Deccan Gladiators: 116 for 7 in 10 overs (Ben Cutting 43 not out, Mohammad Shahzad 19, Kieron Pollard 19, Shane Watson 16, Samit Patel 3-26, Jordan Clark 2-20) beat Qalandars: 104 for 4 in 10 overs (Amjad Gul Khan 32, Philip Salt 27 not out, Luke Ronchi 16, Laurie Evans 13, Fawad Ahmed 2-9) by 12 runs.
Man of the Match: Ben Cutting (Deccan Gladiators.
Third-place play-off: Bangla Tigers vs Qalandars, 5.45pm
Final: Maratha Arabians vs Deccan Gladiators, 8pm
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