Phil Salt showed he is worth his salt and Paul Stirling came up with a sterling effort yet again as Team Abu Dhabi continued their winning spree in the Abu Dhabi T10 League on Monday night.
Englishman Salt, the 25-year-old opener, smacked an unbeaten half-century and Irishman Stirling conjured his second hefty score of this edition as the Liam Livingstone-led side waltzed to a thrilling eight-wicket victory over The Chennai Braves with four balls to spare at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Salt coshed a 28-ball 63, while with five sixes and an equal number of boundaries, while the burly Stirling clubbed 44 from 18 deliveries which was generously peppered with five sixes and two boundaries.
Their fourth win in as many matches took Team Abu Dhabi to eight points as they stayed at the top of the table. And it also put them in the driver’s seat for a berth in the play-offs. For the Chennai Braves though, it will be back to the drawing board after losing all three matches, despite racking up a decent total on the board against Team Abu Dhabi.
The team, led by Sri Lankan Dasun Shanaka, are second from the bottom, just ahead of defending champions Northern Warriors.
Livingstone invited the Chennai Braves to take first dig and they compiled 131 for the loss of two wickets with opener Bhanuka Rajapaksa top-scoring with a 29-ball 54. The Sri Lankan left-hander threw caution to the wind and flayed the attack by stroking five sixes and three boundaries. This was after his opening partner Ravi Bopara had perished after making a six-ball 14 that contained three boundaries.
Angelo Perera and Shanaka continued in the same vein as they tried to make a fist of it. Perera remained unbeaten on 32 from 19 balls with five boundaries, while Shanaka’s unbeaten 23 came off eight balls and had three sixes and a four.
Faced with a daunting target, the Team Abu Dhabi openers Salt and Stirling stepped on the gas right from the word go as they smashed the new-ball bowlers Dhananjaya Lakshan and former India fast bowler Munaf Patel all over the park. Stirling looked good for his second fifty of the season but fell six runs short, after he was caught by Roman Walker off Mark Deyal with Team Abu Dhabi losing their first wicket for 88. It was getting a bit nervy towards the backend with Team Abu Dhabi needing 32 from 16 deliveries but Salt and Livingstone got them back on the right side of the equation with eight required off seven balls, even though the latter fell to Curtis Campher as they inched towards home. Salt then put a wrap on things with twin sixes off Shanaka.
Team Abu Dhabi beat Chennai Braves by eight wickets.
Chennai Braves: 131-2 in 10 overs (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 54, Angelo Perera 32 not out, Dasun Shanaka 23, Ravi Bopara 14) vs Team Abu Dhabi: 136-2 in 9.2 overs (Phil Salt 63 not out, Paul Stirling 44, Liam Livingstone 24).
MOM: Phil Salt (Team Abu Dhabi).
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