Qalandars and Team Abu Dhabi keen to make a statement!
Team Abu Dhabi to win!
The third match of the 2019 T10 League also features two new teams. While one is a Pakistan-heavy side as you'd imagine from their name Qalandars, the other team are the local boys of the competition, at least if their name is anything to go by.
Team Abu Dhabi has a plethora of T20 specialists in their ranks and look a promising outfit. It will now be about gelling together as a side because that's a key component of franchise cricket.
Qalandars have plenty of Pakistan players in their squad and with the recent controversy regarding the PCB's denial to give NOCs to their players, it remains to be seen how their squad shapes up. They will be the worst hit in such a scenario and could face serious problems in survival.
Unlike their opponents, Abu Dhabi doesn't have many Pakistan players and are, therefore, don't have availability issues as such. Mohammad Amir is the only Pakistan resource in the side and while he could be a big miss, they have decent resources to fill the gap.
Led by Moeen Ali, the side has plenty of T20 specialists like Alex Davies, Luke Wright, Corey Anderson, and Ben Laughlin to name a few. The experience should hold them in good stead.
The batting has a lot of firepower in it with Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella and UAE's Rohn Mustafa further beefing up the department. While Amir's possible absence could hurt, Abu Dhabi has the wily Harry Gurney, who along with Laughlin will handle the crucial overs of the game. England's domestic star Lewis Gregory is another all-rounder who can be deadly with both bat and ball. With some of their batsmen also having the ability to bowl, there is a good balance in the side. They will be without Hayden Walsh Jr who is currently representing West Indies in their ongoing series against Afghanistan. When he does land, the leg spinner could add another dimension to the bowling unit.
A Davies, L Wright, C Anderson, M Ali, N Dickwella, R Shahzad, R Mustafa, R Gleeson, L Gregory, B Laughlin, H Gurney.
Niroshan Dickwella, Lewis Gregory, Ben Laughlin, Luke Wright, Richard Gleeson, Moeen Ali, Corey Anderson, Marchant de Lange, Paras Khadka, Harry Gurney, Rohan Mustafa
Any team that features the enigmatic Shahid Afridi is bound to have a following and the mercurial all-rounder remains the key man for the Qalandars. Tom Banton, Imran Nazir, Mohammed Hafeez, Imad Wasim, and Faheem Ashraf are the other potential game-changers in the squad while the rest are quite short of quality experience, particularly in the batting.
However nothing can be said about the Pakistan players in the squad, especially Imad and Faheem who are key to their national side, and in all likelihood, they might not feature in the edition. Phil Salt and Banton give good firepower up front for the Qalandars who also have the experience of Luke Ronchi to give them a lift in case of crisis situations.
Chris Jordan will have to shoulder extra responsibility as the most experienced pacer in the team and he might have to bowl a slog over more often than not. There are also quite a few other domestic stars from Pakistan who could also face the heat in the ongoing controversy regarding NOCs.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Luke Ronchi (wk), Dawid Malan (c), Tom Banton, Laurie Evans, Jordan Clark, Samit Patel, Chris Jordan, Seekkuge Prasanna, Hassan Khalid, George Garton
S Prasanna, Jordan Clark, George Garton, Lahiru Kumara, Sultan Ahmed, Tom Banton, Dawid Malan, Chris Jordan, Philip Salt, Luke Ronchi, Laurie Evans
Weather is expected to be reasonably pleasant with temperatures expected to be around the mid-20s. Humidity will be average. With this being the third game of the evening, the surface could be a bit slow but it's still expected to be a good batting track, given that 40 overs of cricket would have hardly done much to the surface.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is one of the most reputed cricketing grounds in the UAE and has always been renowned for its quality both in terms of pitches as well as infrastructure.
Used surface and this being the third game of the evening, this might be a good toss to lose. It's still a decent pitch to bat on but perhaps could be a trifle slower. Interesting decision and just perhaps, the captain will opt to bowl purely due to the trend of this format. As mentioned earlier, it won't be a bad toss to lose.
Given the uncertainties in the Qalandars line-up, they are likely to be unsettled going into this clash. Also, Team Abu Dhabi looks the stronger side despite not having a threatening bowling line-up. The experience in their ranks is the biggest plus and this makes them the favorites going into this game.
Team Abu Dhabi to win!