Abu Dhabi: Andre Russell, through a splendid all-round show, steered defending champions Northern Warriors to an emphatic nine-wicket win over Maratha Arabians in the first match of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium and remarked about T10 cricket as “sexy and spicy”.
Speaking about the experience in the first match of this shortest format, Russell said: “I would describe this format as so sexy. It is just quick and spicy and I have no form of nerves going into bat. In terms of bowling, I expect a guy to hit me for a four or six and it just a challenge for me as a bowler. Batting wise, I know that I have to get the job done.”
Put into bat first by Warriors, the Arabians were restricted to 88-6 through Russell’s fine bowling. He took the prize wickets of Arabians’ hard hitters Chris Lynn and James Fuller. The contest began on a splendid note when Warrior’s opening bowler Chris Wood dismissed Arabians opener Adam Lyth with the first ball of the tournament.
Russell then went on to hit an unbeaten 58 off 24 balls with six sixes and four boundaries after Bravo had removed opener Sam Billings for 1. Opener George Munsey remained unbeaten on 24 as Warrior won with 18 balls to spare.
“It is a good way to start. We are the defending champions so it was a good showcase for all us out there. We caught well, we bowled well and we bowled to our plans and that led to restricting them to 88. And getting that total as quickly as possible was the plan as well. So, we executed all of our plans,” added Russell.
Arabians skipper Dwayne Bravo, refusing to be disappointed by the first match defeat, said: “It was a good game, the first game of the tournament. It was good to get our bodies going. The fans got a good game of cricket. It never is good to lose games but as I said not a bad outing.”
Bravo also hailed the move to Abu Dhabi. “It’s good to shift the tournament here (from Sharjah) because it gives the bowlers an opportunity,” he said. “It’s a good chance for us to play as a team. It’s a new squad so it will take everyone to fulfil their roles and understand their roles. We have a day’s break and back again for the next. Looking forward to the next game. In this format anyone can beat anybody in any given day.”
Russell went on to explain how he shaped the victory. “I just think it worked our way and I’m not going to be ungrateful,” he said. “I’m happy the way they bowled because I managed to get some sixes. They didn’t execute like how we executed. We utilised the wicket and bowled more back of a length and slower balls into the wicket. They were bowling full and fuller you bowl on this wicket, it is easier. So, it looks like the wicket actually got better but it didn’t get better. It was just the way they bowled.”