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We are down to the final two matches in the Abu Dhabi T10 League and the best is yet to come. Maratha Arabians have already made it to the grand finale and will meet the winner of the second playoff, which is to be played between Qalandars and Deccan Gladiators. It were the Qalandars who displaced the Gladiators from the second spot on the ladder and this qualfier will rightly decide who gets to the finale of the tournament. With a semi-final spot at stake, we expect a high-voltage contest between the two sides.
Gladiators got off to a poor start in the tournament, losing more often than not in the Group stage, but turned the tide in the super-league stage. Up until the second-last day in the league stage, the Gladiators sat comfortably at the second spot on the points table and were eventually displaced by Qalandars.
The Gladiators come into this game after surviving a close encounter in the eliminator against Bangla Tigers. Bowling first on an excellent surface to bat on, the Gladiators kept Tigers' scoring rate in check by picking up wickets at regular intervals and bowling in tight channels. Fawad Ahmed, Sheldon Cottrell, and Fawad Ahmed were excellent with the ball as they gave away just 28 runs in their combined five overs, picking up three wickets in process.
They needed to hunt down a total of 108 and the task was made easier by a quick-fire opening knock of 28 by Mohammad Shahzad. Shane Watson labored his way to 16 before getting dismissed. Just when the Gladiators were staring at another defeat, Dan Lawrence held the game by the scruff of its neck and single-handedly guided the team at the doorstep of an important win. He scored 33 off just 13 deliveries and will be a key player in the upcoming fixture as well.
M Shahzad, SR Watson, Kieron Pollard, Dan Lawrence, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ben Cutting, Anton Devcich, Fawad Ahmed, Sheldon Cottrell, Migael Pretorius, Zahoor Khan.
With a flourishing finish in the super league stage of the tournament, Qalandars rose to the second spot on the ladder and finished at the second spot. At the end of the league stage, they had three wins to their name in six matches and that was second to only Maratha Arabians.
The Qalandars had a pretty good chance to topple the Arabians in the first qualifier, but lack of intent from their batsmen saw them lose the match by seven runs. Bowling first, they restricted the Arabians to a total of 119, which can be considerable reasonable considering the form the Arabians were in. Jordan Clark was the pick of their bowlers and returned with four wickets to his name at the expense of 20 runs. He was ably assisted by Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who gave away just 16 runs.
Chasing 120 needed a swashbuckling start from the Qalandars, but Luke Ronchi and Dawid Malan failed to provide that. The duo could add only 24 runs for the first wicket and took 16 deliveries to so. With a 10-ball 26, Philip Salt tried hard to shift the momentum, and while the job was later carried out well by Laurie Evans, other batsmen failed to provide the support necessary to hunt down the total of such magnitude.
Qalandars are a pretty good side on paper and the fact that they were able to drag Arabians so far is commendable. They will certainly not be an easy side to deal with for the Gladiators in the first qualifier.
Dawid Malan, Philip Salt, Laurie Evans, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Amjad Gul, Jordan Clark, Sultan Ahmed, George Garton, Lahiru Kumara, SR Patel, Luke Ronchi.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy prediction for the second qualifier of Abu Dhabi T20 League to be played between Deccan Gladiators and Qalandars
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The two sides finished next to each other on the points table after the conclusion of the league stage. Considering how close their performance was in the league stage and in the playoffs, there's hardly anything to separate the two teams. Having said that, the Gladiators will be better aquaninted with the nature of the surface and have a better-balanced lineup between the two. They bat deep with almost each of their batsmen capable of hitting the ball long and hard from the word go. The Gladiators are better placed to emerge this upcoming encounter and meet Arabians in the grand finale of the tournament.
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