Northern Warriors avenged their defeat in the first Qualifier to Delhi Bulls when they outplayed them by eight wickets in the final of the Alubond Abu Dhabi T10 League to win the tournament title at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
With a final that saw Delhi Bulls failing to set a competitive enough target, the curtains came down on some high-octane cricketing action across 29 matches over the last 10 days.
The final however turned out a bit of a lop-sided affair once the Bulls, who outplayed Northern Warriors in the first Qualifier to make the final, lost their way to finish at 81 for nine off their allotted 10 overs.
The Warriors rode on a fine start by the UAE’s in-form Mohammed Usman (27) before the battle-hardened Lendl Simmons (14) and Rovman Powell (16) came together to see their team go past the 82-run target with 10 balls to spare.
Young captain Nicholas Pooran marshalled his resources rather well during the course of the tournament besides shining with the bat, though in the final he failed to contribute substantively to his team’s total. He was caught by the nippy Fidel Edwards, his West Indian compatriot, off his own bowling, for just 12.
Sent in to bat the Warriors had won the toss, Delhi Bulls’ Rahamanullah Gurbaz of Afghanistan and West Indian Evin Lewis began on a positive note, making their aggressive intent very clear, but Gurbaz’s was the first wicket to fall with his score on 13.
Maheesh Theekshana, the young mystery spinner from Sri Lanka, then struck three telling blows for the Warriors, scalping the wickets of Lewis (10), Ravi Bopara (nine) and captain Dwayne Bravo, who failed to open his account.
The 20-year-old Lankan returned figures of 2-0-14-3 in what was one of the most striking bowling performances in the tournament to apply the brakes on the Bulls’ batting.
Mohammad Nabi provided some stiff resistance with a cameo effort of 21 runs, which came off 10 deliveries with the help of one boundary and two over the boundary ropes.
Brief Scores: Northern Warriors beat Delhi Bulls by eight wickets. Delhi Bulls 81 for nine off 10 overs (M. Nabi 21; M.Theekshana 3/14) vs Northern Warriors 85/2 off 8.2 overs (M.Usman 27, L.Simmons 14, R.Powell 16).
Earlier on Saturday, in the third-place play-off, Najibullah Zadran’s breezy cameo of an unbeaten 45 runs off just 16 balls and opener Paul Stirling’s quick 26 runs from nine balls helped Team Abu Dhabi — who were asked to bat first after losing the toss — post an impressive 124 for 6 and down Qalandars by 21 runs at the Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Earlier, for Team Abu Dhabi Leonardo Julien, a 19-year-old left-handed batsman from West Indies, and Ireland’s Paul Stirling opened the innings. Stirling smashed Samit Patel for 24 runs in the second over. He ended up with 26 before being claimed by Ahmed Daniyal. Julien pulled Daniyal for a six and Abu Dhabi picked 11 runs off that over. Julien also picked a boundary off Mohammad Zahid in the fourth over but fell to the last ball of that over getting caught by Bell-Drummond at mid-wicket for 19.
Nepal batsman Kushal Malla hit Ali Khan for a straight six in the fifth over but Jamie Overton fell to the last ball of that over getting caught at long-on for 1. At the halfway mark, Abu Dhabi was 63 for 3, which swelled to 124 for the loss of 6 wickets at the end of their allotted 10 overs.
Chasing their 125-run target, Qalandars were restricted to 103 for 5. UAE off-spinner Rohan Mustafa bagged two wickets for 19 runs. He was well backed by some accurate bowling from all the other bowlers. It was a sad end for Qalandars who began with a bang through five consecutive wins.