Bulls look to extend momentum against Tuskers!
Delhi Bulls to win the match!
As expected, the Bulls began their campaign with a comfortable win over the Gladiators. While their bowlers weren't that successful in terms of picking wickets, they were able to restrict their opponents to a gettable total that was then tracked down thanks to an unbeaten fifty from skipper Eoin Morgan. He got good support from Angelo Mathews.
The Tuskers are set to play their first game of the tournament and have a decent mix of players in their squad. However, some of the West Indies and Afghanistan players will be unavailable till the end of the ongoing T20I series between the two teams.
If their performance in the opening game is any indication, they will be a tough side to beat. With Kusal Perera and Paul Stirling at the top, and Eoin Morgan and Angelo Mathews in the middle order, it's a batting unit that could be a serious threat. Add to this the hitting abilities of David Willey as well as the slogging capabilities of their lower order.
Their bowlers quickly understood the need to be attacking defensive and as a result, never let the Gladiators run away with the game despite them having wickets in hand. The one slight flaw that they have is the lack of specialist batsmen.
Of course, you don't need too many in such a short format but in case of early wickets, they do have a longish lower order. This puts more responsibility on the top six and Morgan would like to believe that the specialist batsmen are good enough to do their job more often than not. The bowling unit has a good variety in the pace department with Adil Rashid being the lone spinner in the XI. As the tournament goes on, they might be tempted to add one more.
K Perera (wk), P Stirling, M Usman, E Morgan (c), A Mathews, D Willey, A Rashid, Z Khan, A Khan R Rampaul, D Chameera
asad pathan, Patrick Brown, J Charles, Ahmed Raza, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shapoor Zadran, Shafiqullah, Ross Whiteley, Hashim Amla, Nathan Rimmington, Upul Tharanga
On paper, they have a pretty strong squad but they will miss the likes of Kesrick Williams, Fabian Allen and Evin Lewis due to the trio's national duties.
Nevertheless, they do have some experienced names in there with Hashim Amla and Johnson Charles likely to open the batting in this fixture. Marlon Samuels, Ross Whiteley, Shafiqullah Shafiq and Ahmed Raza are some of the hitters that they have in the squad. Clearly the absence of the three West Indies is a huge blow but it's something that they will have to deal with. Skipper Amla, fresh from retirement, will want to express himself with freedom. The overdose of all-rounders means that the Tuskers are short when it comes to specialist bowling options.
However, they have four bowlers of absolute quality in Pat Brown, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nathan Rimmington and Shapoor Zadran, even if the quartet aren't extremely experienced. Kesrick, when he returns, should be able to give a complete look to the bowling unit that's reasonably decent. Neither the batting nor the bowling is overwhelming but if they can click in unison, anything can happen in this format.
H Amla (c), J Charles, M Samuels, R Whiteley, S Shafiq (wk), A Raza, A Pathan, N Rimmington, P Brown, S Lamichhane, S Zadran
Dushmantha Chameera, Ravi Rampaul, Z Khan, Eoin Morgan, Kusal Perera, AU Rashid, Paul Stirling, Ali Khan, Angelo Mathews, Muhammad Usman, David Willey
The forecast is for a clear evening in Abu Dhabi with the temperatures expected to be in the mid or late 20s. Humidity will be moderate and overall, playing conditions shouldn't be uncomfortable. The tracks are generally good for batting here in Abu Dhabi but the long dimensions of the ground means that the bowlers are also in play.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the most reputed grounds in UAE and has been known to produce quality cricket due to the balanced nature of the tracks. Infrastructure is also quite good.
With the T20 format preferring chasing unless it's a really dry or abrasive surface, the same trend is likely to follow in the T10 League. The captain who wins the toss is likely to opt for chasing.
High on confidence and with a better squad at their disposal, the Bulls are favorites to win this game. More so as the Tuskers are missing a few key players. The latter will have to depend on individual brilliance to stand a chance.
Delhi Bulls to win the match!