Knockout time for Gladiators, Tigers!
Deccan Gladiators to win!
It's crunch time in the 2019 T10 League as two explosive sides, Gladiators and Tigers, get ready to face-off in the Eliminator.
The Gladiators lost their first and last league games while remaining unbeaten in between. The Tigers have had an up and down campaign but even they have managed to create some momentum towards the business end of the tournament. Both sides have plenty of power-hitters and that's what makes this game an exciting one to watch.
With many aggressive players present, a lot will depend on how the bowlers cope under pressure. The Tigers' squad on paper did seem to be thin in the bowling but the all-rounders have stepped up and a few additions have also proved their worth. As a result, Perera's men have managed to surprise people with their consistency. Gladiators were always expected to make it to the playoffs and Watson's boys haven't disappointed in that regard. Their batting is overdependent on the openers with the middle order being slightly undercooked despite the odd performance from the all-rounders. Tigers have more depth in the batting with the all-rounders adding balance to the side.
Shane Watson (204 runs) and Mohammad Shahzad (108 runs) have scored a bulk of the Gladiators' runs. This is a double-edged sword as the side can find itself in trouble if the two openers fail to get going. It hasn't happened yet but you never know in pressure games. The all-rounders will have a big part to play for the Gladiators. Ben Cutting and Kieron Pollard are the kind of players who love the big stage, and the duo will be itching to put in impact performances. If these two can come to the party, the Gladiators will have a cutting edge to their team combination. The bowling has been efficient despite the absence of fancy names in there.
Key Players: Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard
Shane Watson(c), M Shahzad(wk), A Devcich, K Pollard, B Cutting, B Rajapaksa, D Lawrence, F Ahmed, M Crane, Z Khan, Zahoor Khan
Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Dan Lawrence, Anton Devcich, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Mason Crane, Zahoor Khan, Fawad Ahmed, Sheldon Cottrell, M Shahzad, SR Watson
The batting hasn't lived up to its immense potential with the openers Rossouw (140 runs) and Fletcher (127 runs) scoring a lion's share of the runs, much like their counterparts. Only Tom Moores being the other batsman to aggregate over 100 runs. The depth in batting is a confidence booster for the Tigers and the all-rounders are perfectly capable of turning a game around, be it with bat or ball. Wiese has been brilliant with both bat and ball, while skipper Perera seems to be gradually getting into his groove. Despite the loss in their last fixture, the Tigers will be upbeat about their chances.
Key Players: R Rossouw, T Perera
R Rossouw, A Fletcher, C Ingram, T Moores(wk), T Perera(c), D Wiese, R Frylinck, C Suri, L Plunkett, Q Ahmad, P Jayasuriya
RR Rossouw, R Frylinck, D Wiese, Colin Ingram, ADS Fletcher , Chirag Suri, Kevin Koththiigoda, Thisara Perera, Farhad Reza, Shehan Jayasuriya, Qais Ahmad
Forecast is clear for Saturday with temperatures hovering around the mid-20s. Afternoons will be sunny and then it could get a bit cooler from the evening onwards. No rain is forecast and that's great news. The pitches have generally been good for batting but with all the tracks being used twice already, expect some slowness and two-paced nature in the pitches.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the finest stadiums in the world due to the infrastructure and quality of playing conditions. Average score batting first in the tournament has been 113 approximately.
Teams have preferred to chase early in the tournament but as the season has gone along, sides have started winning batting first too. In fact, the stats are now in favor of teams batting first and in pressure games like the playoffs, runs on the board will be invaluable. That said, if the pressure factor can be nullified, chasing ain't a bad idea.
These are two well-matched sides with plenty of firepower on either side. There's also a lot of similarity in their strengths and weaknesses. With both sides having lost their final fixture, it gets even tougher to predict. Considering team balance, the Gladiators seem marginally ahead and on that note, they are favorites to win this game.
Deccan Gladiators to win!