Chris Lynn (left), who hit his fourth half-century for Maratha Arabians to cross the 300-run mark in the tournament, is applauded by Chadwick Walton. Image Credit: Organisers

Abu Dhabi: Maratha Arabians stopped Qalandars by seven runs in the first Qualifier and reach the final of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The winning team skipper Dwayne Bravo and coach Andy Flower then went on to hail UAE’s left-arm pacer Shiraz Ahmad, who is yet to play international cricket, for his tight bowling.

They also hailed the many talented players from the UAE that have created an impression in this tournament playing for different franchises.

“Shiraz is a young bowler, who to me is a stand out bowler for us because he bowled his 12 balls brilliantly (one wicket for 11 runs). His bowling has been very crucial in all the games and he has always delivered.”

Flower too hailed Shiraz and said: “Shiraz, for us, has been pivotal. He struggled in one of the games but other than that, he’s shown some great skills bowling yorkers. He bowled a great bouncer and hit Paul Stirling on the helmet, which is good to see. It is really important for this region that the UAE players get exposure in the media, but also get the experience of playing in front of crowds, playing on TV and playing with some really great players. So, I think all the coaches that I’ve spoken to, have enjoyed having the UAE players play a part in this tournament.”

Incidentally, Shiraz who hails from Pakistan was spotted by Abdul Latif Khan (organiser of 10PL tennis ball tournament in Sharjah) from tennis ball matches and recommended him for the Maratha team.

Bravo feels that the UAE players have used the exposure from T10 very well and said: “In the UAE, they don’t have much exposure to play with international players so, they will make mistakes at times. It is important that you encourage them and keep backing them because they don’t have that experience of playing in the outside world. They play against players who basically are the same level, talent-wise. So, you can see the talent that they have and you need to have good people to guide them and give them confidence,” Ahmad Raza, Zahoor Khan, Rohan Mustafa, and Chirag Suri has won accolades from the international cricketers for their skills.

Maratha, after winning the toss posted 119 for 6 through Chris Lynn’s 67 runs, his fourth half century in the tournament. He went past the 300 run mark from this tournament during the course of his innings. Maratha would have posted a bigger total but for Jordan Clark’s fine spell of 4 for 20.

Chasing the score, Qalandars fell short of the target despite Philip Salt’s 26 and Laurie Evans’ unbeaten 35 mainly due to Shiraz giving away only 11 runs form his two overs and Lasith Malinga’s yielding just 15 runs from two overs.

Brief scores

Qualifier 1. Maratha Arabians bt Qalandars by 7 runs. Maratha Arabians 119 for 6 in 10 overs (Chris Lynn 67, Adam Lyth 28, Jordan Clark 4 for 20) Qalandars 112 for 4 in 10 overs (Philip Salt 26, Laurie Evans 35n.o) Man of the match: Chris Lynn.