Arabians, Gladiators get ready for one last ride!
Maratha Arabians to win the Final!
Eight days, 24 league matches and three play-off games later, only two teams remain in contention for the T10 League 2019 trophy. Not a coincidence that these two have been the best two sides of the competition.
Arabians on paper always looked a dynamic side with terrific balance across departments and barring the loss in the season opener, they have been on a roll, not having dropped a game since. The Gladiator has also been a fairly consistent side and it was actually a surprise when they couldn't finish in the top two due to a slender difference in net run rate. There's a lot of similarities in the batting units of both sides. Arabians have been overdependent on Chris Lynn who has had a dream tournament so far, is the leading runscorer by a distance.
For the Gladiators, their openers Shane Watson and Mohammad Shahzad have contributed to a major chunk of the team's runs. Of course, the teams have had other heroes with the bat but only these three have created a major impact. It's in the bowling that Arabians edge all their opponents in this competition. The Gladiators also have an efficient bowling line-up but when it comes to putting a squeeze on the oppsosition, Bravo's men are unmatched.
With 355 runs to his name including four fifties, Chris Lynn is all but certain to finish as the tournament's leading runscorer. But does he have one more good knock left in him or will the law of averages catch up?
Arabians have experience and depth in the batting, and they will need a new hero in case the Australian falls early in the summit clash. The bowling continues to operate with a set plan of choking the opposition by smart and defensive bowling. Arabians' bowlers don't pick a lot of wickets but do what's needed to restrict their opponents. They're especially effective while defending a score that suits their tactics with the ball. Key Players: Chris Lynn, Hazratullah Zazai
H Zazai, C Lynn, A Lyth, N Zadran, Y Singh, D Bravo, D Shanaka, C Walton(wk), M McClenaghan, L Malinga, S Ahmed
Skipper Shane Watson (236 runs) has been the team's leading runscorer and second-highest overall. He's got good support from his opening partner Mohammad Shahzad (155 runs) with the duo creating a solid tempo up front.
The others haven't been as consistent but with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting and Anton Devcich, there is a lot of power and depth in the line-up. Like their counterparts, the Gladiators also don't have any standout performers in the bowling line-up, apart from Fawad Ahmed (8 wickets) who has been brilliant, particularly in the playoffs. There is a lot of guile in the bowling group. Key Players: Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard
S Watson(c), M Shahzad(wk), K Pollard, A Devcich, B Cutting, B Rajapaksa, D Lawrence, M Pretorius, F Ahmed, S Cottrell, Z Khan
The forecast for Sunday is clear with temperatures expected to be around the mid-20s. After a warm and sunny afternoon, evenings should be slightly cooler. The pitches have been good for batting throughout the tournament but as seen in the playoffs, the tracks have been a bit tired and could offer enough for the spinners and also the seamers who are willing to vary their pace properly.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the finest venues in the world due to its infrastructure and excellent playing conditions. The average score batting first till the end of league stage was 113 while the three playoff games so far have averaged 118.
In a pressure game, runs on the board always matter. The advent of T20 has made chasing a fancy trend and it does work in that format but T10 is much more shorter. It's a format where a team can squeeze their way to a win without necessarily picking many wickets. Therefore, the team winning the toss will want to bat first.
It's a clash between the two most potent sides in the competition and that makes this a tough one to predict. Arabians are marginally better when it comes to team balance and they have the momentum in their favor too.
Gladiators are no underdogs though, as they too have enough firepower to compete but we're going with Bravo's men as the favorites to the lift the trophy.
Maratha Arabians to win the Final!