Kolkata: It will be a match of wits between ‘icon’ players Shoaib Malek and Andre Russell, two of the stalwarts of white ball cricket, when defending champions Maratha Arabians take on the Northern Warriors in a mouth-watering season opener of the fourth Abu Dhabi T10 League on January 28. The fixtures of the showpiece event, to be held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium from January 28-February 6, was released on Thursday.
In what promises to be a bigger and better edition this season, there are eight teams divided into two groups. The teams will play three matches each in the group stage before heading into the Super League from February 1. A total of 12 matches in the group stage, followed by 12 more in the Super League, will give way to the play-offs from February 5.
The top two ranked teams will take on each other in the Qualifier for a place in the final while the third and fourth-ranked teams will be up against each other in Eliminator 1 on February 5. Thereafter, the runner-up in the Qualifier will get another chance when they face off against the winner of Eliminator 1 in Eliminator 2 for a place in the final on the same day. The third-place match and the grand final will be held on February 6.
The Maratha Arabians, Bangla Tigers, Delhi Bulls, and Northern Warriors will battle it out in Group A while last season’s finalists Deccan Gladiators will be up against Qalandars, Team Abu Dhabi and Pune Devils in Group B. The teams were assigned their respective groups through a Team Draw in December.
Universe Boss Chris Gayle will down to business as the icon player for home favourites Team Abu Dhabi on January 29. Isuru Udana, the crafty Sri Lankan pace bowler, will be seen as the icon player for Bangla Tigers.
There will be three high-octane 10-over matches per night while the event promises 43 hours of international cricket in all. “Abu Dhabi T10 is the fastest action packed format and the future of cricket. I am pleased to announce yet another exciting season 4 tournament schedule,’’ said Shaji Ul-Mulk, Chairman of Ten Sports Management. “We have the world’s best cricketers on show – from West Indian superstars Chris Gayle and Dwayne ‘DJ’ Bravo to Pakistan legends Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik – who all attest to its appeal and to how cricket is quickly evolving.”
First round fixtures
January 28: Maratha vs Northern Warriors; Pune Devils vs Deccan Gladiators; Delhi Bulls vs Bangla Tigers.
Jan. 29: Pune Devils vs Qalandars; Maratha Arabians vs Delhi Bulls; Deccan Gladiators vs Team Abu Dhabi
Jan.30: Bangla Tigers vs Maratha Arabians; Team Abu Dhabi vs Qalandars; Northern Warriors vs Delhi Bulls
Jan.31: Team Abu Dhabi vs Pune Devils; Bangla Tigers vs Northern Warriors; Qalandars vs Deccan Gladiators