Arabians, Abu Dhabi looks to end Group B on top!
Maratha Arabians to win the match!
Having outplayed the Qalandars, Dwayne Bravo's Maratha Arabians will face Team Abu Dhabi who are the only side to not lose a game so far. Moeen Ali's side has relied more on their bowlers who have been outstanding.
In the game against the Northern Warriors, Arabians managed just a solitary wicket but only conceded 92 runs off the stipulated 10 overs. The Arabians were sloppy in their tournament opener but got back on track with a comprehensive outing against the Qalandars. Team Abu Dhabi has a well-balanced bowling unit but will have a challenge on their hands against a powerful Arabians batting unit that also has plenty of depth. Another point to factor in for this contest will be the experience Arabians have in their death bowling with the likes of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan in there.
Team Abu Dhabi are a bit top-heavy in their batting and while there are handy hitters in the lower middle order, they aren't always reliable.
They will be pleased with being unbeaten so far but they will need to continue to improve on their performances. Moeen has been lavish in his praise of his bowlers who have been largely responsible for the team's success. The win over defending champions Northern Warriors will have boosted the morale as Team Abu Dhabi conceded just 92 runs despite only picking up a wicket.
They also managed to keep the dangerous Andre Russell quiet. The skipper then found a form with a 20-ball 30 although it was Luke Wright's hurricane 23-ball 48 that made a mockery of the chase. The latter's form will be pivotal to Team Abu Dhabi's chances. Young leg spinner Hayden Walsh will be joining the side after national duties and will provide the team with an attacking option.
L Wright, N Dickwella(wk), M Ali(c), C Anderson, A Davies, L Gregory, R Mustafa, R Gleeson, B Laughlin, H Gurney, M de Lange
Niroshan Dickwella, Marchant de Lange, Alex Davies, Lewis Gregory, Ben Laughlin, Luke Wright, Richard Gleeson, Moeen Ali, Wayne Madsen, Harry Gurney, Rohan Mustafa
Despite the immense potential in their ranks, the Arabians batting is yet to unleash itself with full force. The team managed just 88 in their tournament opener and even the 107 they got in the previous game was largely due to the priceless cameo from McClenaghan.
Openers Adam Lyth and Chris Lynn found some form in the previous game with quickfire 20s but the rest need to buckle up. The highest individual score for the Arabians so far is Shanaka's 37 in the opening game and they will want bigger scores from their specialists. The bowling is more or less sorted, and if the Arabians can put runs on the board, they will fancy their chances more. They are yet to chase in a game and it shall be interesting to see how they fare although they do have the firepower to gun down totals. Hazratullah Zazai and Najibullah Zadran joining the squad will strengthen the side.
C Lynn, H Zazai, Y Singh, D Bravo, N Zadran, C Walton(wk), D Shanaka, W Hasaranga, J Fuller, L Malinga, M McClenaghan
Chadwick Walton, Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell McClenaghan, Hazratullah Zazai, Dasun Shanaka, Chris Lynn, Wanidu Hasaranga, Shiraz Ahmed, Adam Lyth, N Zadran, Lasith Malinga
The forecast for the evening is clear in Abu Dhabi with temperatures hovering around the mid-20s or thereabout. Humidity is expected to be average. The pitches are generally good for batting but the big ground dimensions, especially square of the wicket, should keep the bowlers interested as well.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the finest grounds in UAE and has been known for its quality infrastructure. Average score batting first on the second day of T10 League was 110. During the first nine matches, teams batting second have won five matches while the defending side has three wins with one game tied.
While the first few matches saw the chasing trend of T20 cricket spread into T10, teams have thereafter managed to win some games by defending as well. This means that the toss isn't as relevant is it is touted to be. Chasing could still be preferred, unless you have a world-class bowling attack or if the surface is extremely dry.
The Arabians seem the more potent side on paper and also have a better balance to their side. The addition of Zazai and Najibullah only makes them stronger. Team Abu Dhabi will be relying on their bowlers to come to the party because their batting relies too much on two or three players. Arabians are firm favorites for this clash.
Maratha Arabians to win the match!