Abu Dhabi: Deccan Gladiators continued their winning run over New York Strikers in the glitzy opening encounter of the 7th edition of Abu Dhabi T10.
The night saw enthralling dance performances, a glamourous fashion show, and with a memorable performance from Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who smashed an unbeaten 68 off 33 balls to help the defending Champions to their first win to kick off the season.
The excitement engulfed the Sheikh Zayed Stadium as the Gladiators stepped out to bat on a surface covered with a nice patch of grass. The cool winds in the city only made the conditions perfect for cricket. Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman, T10 Sports Management, declared the tournament open with a motivating speech and the action began in Abu Dhabi. Pollard-led New York Strikers strategically opted to bowl first.
Unleashing Mohammad Amir to use the swing offered by the surface, the Strikers shackled the openers Nicholas Pooran and Kohler-Cadmore. Pooran’s early dismissal by pacer Muhammad Jawadullah made things trickier for the Champions. With runs hard to come by, pressure built on Gladiators that led to Andre Fletcher getting run out after a horrible mix-up.
The dynamic Andre Russell began counter-attacking with innovative shots. But a failed big hit from the power-hitter on Ali Khan’s off-cutter landed straight in Pollard’s hands. Not letting the momentum slip away, Kohler-Cadmore struck Sunil Narine for two sixes in the next over. Chamika Karunaratne handed a double whammy to Gladiators on consecutive deliveries, but Kohler-Cadmore waged a lone battle, and hammered a 27-ball fifty. The England batter’s brave innings led Gladiators to 118/8 in 10 overs.
As Strikers began their chase, left-arm speedster Trent Boult handed Deccan Gladiators their first blow, dismissing the dangerous Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Kusal Perera tried to counter-attack after the dismissal, but fast bowler Zahoor Khan picked his wicket to put his side in control. As the Gladiators missed three simple catches in the first couple of overs, the momentum slipped away.
The defending Champions brought in substitute Nuwan Thushara to replace Kohler-Cadmore under Impact Player rule. As per the rule, Thushara was allowed to bowl, but the right-arm speedster was struck for boundaries by Muhammad Waseem. His fiery innings came to an end in the next over by Luke Wood with Imad Wasim finally catching one. As Asif Ali held one end, skipper Kieron Pollard stepped out to provide some momentum in the steep run-chase. With 36 needed off the final 2 overs, Ali and Pollard were dismissed in quick succession. Gladiators sealed the win by 22 runs.