Sharjah: The second edition of the T10 League got off to a colourful start at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium with an opening ceremony filled with music and dance before Rajputs signalled their intention with a 10-wicket win over Sindhis in the first match of the 12-day showpiece on Wednesday.
The event was inaugurated by Dr Shaikh Majid Bin Saeed Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ajman Ruler’s Court, with all the top cricketers from around the world, who have made a mark in shorter formats of the game, lining up before the fans. Over 80 performers and 100 members of the Dhoni Cricket Academy accorded a warm welcome to the players.
Defending champions Kerala Knights, Punjabi Legends, Bengal Tigers, Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoons and Northern Warriors are the other teams that will compete in 10-overs-a-side thrillers.
Speaking to Gulf News, Chris Gayle, the ‘Universe Boss’ who will play for the Kerala Knights, called for cricket fans to throng the stadiums to make the event a success. “I urge everyone to come out and watch this league. I am sure everybody has their own favourite teams and players, but come and support the whole event. You will not go wrong because T10 is all about entertainment and if you want to be entertained, come to Sharjah Stadium and have fun along with us. We will keep you entertaining from the field.”
India’s dashing batsman Virender Sehwag, here as the batting coach of the Maratha Arabians, said: “I played the tournament last year it gave me an adrenaline rush like never before. This time I am here as the batting coach and it has the same feel like before. This tournament aims to entertain the fans and it fits well with my philosophy.”
In the first match, Rajputs won the toss and opted to bowl. Indian pacer Munaf Patel picked the first wicket of the second edition with his first delivery by dismissing Sindhis’ Anton Devcich for nine. Dawid Malan was trapped leg before by Carlos Brathwaite for two, but opener and captain Shane Watson kept the scoreboard moving. He cracked a breezy 42, studded with three sixes and four boundaries, before becoming Patel’s third’s victim. Patel had earlier dismissed Ben Cutting for five.
In the last over, Mohammad Nawaz hit Tymal Mills for a towering six over long-off, but Sindhis were still restricted to 94 for six.
Chasing the target, Rajputs openers Mohammad Shahzad and Brendon McCullum lived up to their reputation. Shahzad, cheered by the large number of Afghanistan fans, cracked an unbeaten 74 in just 18 balls with eight sixes and six boundaries while McCullum, who played second fiddle and hardly got any strike, scored an unbeaten 22 runs off eight balls as Rajputs breezed through to their target in four overs.