Qalandars vs Delhi Bulls - Qalandars eye playoff spot against busted Bulls!
Qalandars to win!
After a week of action at the T10 League 2019, it's time for the jostle as far as playoff berths are concerned. While the Bulls are already out of the race after their loss to the Maratha Arabians, they would love to spoil the party of Qalandars who need a win in this fixture to confirm a top-four finish.
Dawid Malan's men have punched above their weight, given all the confusion that prevailed after the squad overhaul. Despite having a largely renewed squad, the Qalandars have managed to compete and are now almost into the playoffs. Tom Banton has been the main star for them with the others all chipping in at various times.
For the Bulls, the tournament was always about skipper Eoin Morgan's form and the southpaw did churn out runs but one man alone cannot win you tournaments. The top-order failures have cost the Bulls a lot, putting Morgan and the middle order under severe pressure, time and again. The bowling has lacked teeth in the first half of the innings and if not for Ravi Rampaul and Ali Khan at the death, opponents would have been causing even more destruction. The Bulls haven't got collective performances consistently and will want to sign off with a victory even if it doesn't have any incentive.
The Qalandars, though, will have enough motivation in this clash and Malan will hope that his men can rise to the occasion.
The English-heavy side has largely depended on Tom Banton (162 runs with 2 fifties) while skipper Malan has been decent (115 runs) but hasn't yet got a significant score. The duo has shouldered the top-heavy batting line-up while the rest have struggled to chip in consistently.
In the bowling attack, there aren't a lot of fancy names but the unit does have variety in resources and the bowlers have been effective, which is what counts. The middle-order continues to be an area of concern and how their top order fares will determine how their campaign goes from here on.
Key Players: Tom Banton, Chris Jordan
D Malan(c), T Banton, P Salt(wk), L Evans, T Kohler-Cadmore, C Jordan, S Prasanna, S Ahmed, M ur Rahman, L Kumara, G Garton
Khary Pierre, Ravi Rampaul, Z Khan, Eoin Morgan, Kusal Perera, AU Rashid, Waheed Ahmed, Will Jacks, Sherfane Rutherford, Angelo Mathews, Mohammad Nabi
With Kusal Perera's inconsistency and his opening partners being a flop, the Bulls have seldom got a good start and the early wickets have put too much pressure on Morgan. The England captain has done his bit but largely without support from others. Maybe if the likes of Sherfane Rutherford and Mohammad Nabi were available earlier, things would have been different, especially the former.
The bowling has also lacked penetration and smarts. With the playoff hopes in the bin, Morgan (171 runs with 2 fifties) will hope that his boys can express themselves freely and gain a consolation win to sign things off. This is a pressure game for Qalandars and that should help the Bulls relax.
Key players: E Morgan, S Rutherford
K Perera(wk), P Stirling, S Rutherford, E Morgan(c), A Mathews, M Nabi, A Rashid, R Rampaul, A Khan, Z Khan, D Chameera
Peter David Trego, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, S Prasanna, Jordan Clark, George Garton, Lahiru Kumara, Sultan Ahmed, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawid Malan, Philip Salt, Laurie Evans
While there is a rain forecast for the entire week in the UAE and as Wednesday had seen rain interruptions, there was a concern. However, the weather seems to have cleared up and Friday promises to be a reasonably warm day with moderate humidity. Five strips are present for the tournament and we're reaching a stage where each one will be reused. T10 format is unlikely to produce significant wear and tear but the tracks should still be a bit slower. Nevertheless, there should be still plenty of runs in it. Bowlers will need to be smart about their pace and variations.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the finest venues in the world due to the amazing infrastructure and playing conditions. It's generally been a high scoring venue in international cricket but the long ground dimensions have also kept bowlers interested.
It's reached that point of the tournament where teams don't mind whether they're batting or bowling first. Initially, chasing sides did have an edge and even now, sides may want to know the score but defending scores have also done the trick consistently. In fact, statistically, it's neck-and-neck between teams winning while batting first and chasing.