Abu Dhabi: New entrants Team Abu Dhabi stunned defending champions Northern Warriors with an impressive six-wicket win in the early match of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
After restricting the Warriors’ mighty batting line-up to 92 for one in 10 overs, Abu Dhabi rode on Luke Wright’s 48 runs and skipper Moeen Ali’s 30 to sail to victory with nine balls to spare.
Despite two of the finest batsmen in this form in Sam Bilings (35 n.o.) and Andre Russell (37 n.o.) at the crease for the Warriors, Abu Dhabi bowlers refused to let them score freely.
Speaking after the win, skipper Ali hailed the UAE off-spinner and former captain Rohan Mustafa for his tight spell.
“Our opening bowler Rohan (Mustafa) is our trumpcard. He is an outstanding bowler and it was very difficult for the top order to get going against him. First of all, we have recruited very well. We have very good death bowlers, we have pace and spin. We were outstanding with the ball today and could not have asked for anything more. They could not get as many runs as they wanted.”
Ali feels that his team can stun many more despite not having the superstars. “We don’t have any superstar players and but we have some very good players. We know as players we are fortunate so far and cannot ask for anything more. Things can change quickly, but as a captain I am very comfortable with the players that I have with me.”
Warriors skipper Darren Sammy could not hide his disappointment over this team’s second successive defeat after having lost to Qalandar on Saturday too. “We are disappointed, we must admit this but we still got an opportunity to finish in the top four and make a run for the play-offs. The tournament is not over for us.”
Sammy said he missed last year’s bowling attack which was stronger. “Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition. They really used the wicket quite well and you could see they had some really experienced bowlers. If you look at the bowling attack we had last year, with Wahab Riaz and Hardus Vilojen, we are missing both of them this time. I’m not making any excuses. You still got to go out and execute your skills and so far, in the last two games, we have not been able to do that and consistently enough.”
Sammy also revealed that Abu Dhabi is totally different from Sharjah where they won the second edition. “Once the tournament moved from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi, we always knew it was going to be a different wicket, it was going to pose a challenge. Now, the bowlers are a little bit more happy. Sharjah was all batters and now I guess the game is actually evenly balanced. You have seen scores of 110 and you have seen bowlers restricting teams for under 60. So, I think whatever the groundsmen prepare, we as professionals, have to go out there and adapt to whatever conditions.”
Brief scores: Team Abu Dhabi bt Northern Warriors by six wickets. Northern Warriors 92 for one in 10 overs (Sam Billings 35n.o, Andre Russell 37n.o) vs Team Abu Dhabi 93 for four (Luke Wright 48, Moeen Ali 30, Chris Green 2 for 22). Man of the Match: Luke Wright.