Livingstone’s fury to Drakes’ masterclass: Best of the league stage in season 5

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After an intensely fought league stage, we now have the top four who will progress to the playoffs in season 5 of the Abu Dhabi T10.

Deccan Gladiators topped the table followed by Delhi BullsTeam Abu Dhabi and the Bangla Tigers. The first three, in fact, finished level on points and were separated only by net run rate.

The league stage provided several memorable moments in season 5. Here is a glance at some of the best.

Livingstone bludgeons 35 runs in an over

Team Abu Dhabi were deserved table-toppers in the league stages and they owe much of it thanks to their in-form skipper Liam Livingstone.

The right-hander scored boundaries aplenty whenever he walked in to bat and a brutal 35-run assault on Joshua Little in the match against Northern Warriors.

Team Abu Dhabi had been motoring along at 80/5 in eight overs, with Livingstone on 22 off 13 balls. It was then that he decided to take the game by the scruff of its neck.

Joshua Little bowled two wides in the first four balls, with Livingstone hitting fours off the other two.

The Englishman then followed it up with three massive sixes and an off-colour Little bowled his third wide of the over next. Not one to let go, Livingstone crashed another six off the last ball to take 35 runs off the over and shift the momentum towards Team Abu Dhabi.

They eventually ended with 132/5 and their bowlers restricted Northern Warriors to 111/7 for a big win.

Marchant de Lange lights up opening day

With the Abu Dhabi T10 regularly seeing fireworks from the batsmen, it was a delight to see a bowler declared ‘Player of the Match’ and on the opening day of the season to cap it off.

The star on this occasion was Marchant de Lange, who picked 5-23 for Team Abu Dhabi against Bangla Tigers.

A double-assault from Chris Gayle and Paul Stirling – the duo shared a 97-run partnership in five overs – had taken Team Abu Dhabi to an imposing 145/4.

Andre Fletcher responded in kind for Bangla Tigers, taking 18 runs off the opening over of the chase. It was then that de Lange pressed into action.

He removed Tigers’ skipper Faf du Plessis off the second ball he bowled and despite being hit for two sixes, he struck again to dismiss the dangerous Fletcher, all in the second over.

The pressure started building for Bangla Tigers as they managed 40 runs off the next four overs, with Hazratullah Zazai and Benny Howell getting a move on.

Marchant de Lange then returned in the seventh over and delivered again, removing Zazai, Howell and James Faulkner for a triple-strike and completed an incredible five-wicket haul.

Team Abu Dhabi eventually won by 40 runs, with de Lange bagging the first fifer in Abu Dhabi T10 history.

Wanindu Hasaranga weaves his magic

Fans, however, didn’t have to wait too long for the second fifer-ever in Abu Dhabi T10, with Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga picking up a magical 5/8 to help the Deccan Gladiators to a comfortable 62-run victory over the Bangla Tigers.

Defending a sizeable total of 140, Deccan Gladiators skipper Wahab Riaz gave his team the early breakthrough, removing the dangerous Hazratullah Zazai from the crease. Sultan Ahmed also picked up Will Jacks soon after to reduce the Tigers to 10/2.

What followed was a magical spell of spin bowling by Wanindu Hasaranga.

The leg break bowler came into the attack in the fourth over and was hit for a six by Karim Janat in only the second ball of his spell. Hasaranga, though, avenged it with the very next delivery, as Janat found the fielder at mid-wicket with his next slog.

The Sri Lankan disturbed Johnson Charles’ leg stump with the very next ball and proceeded to only give away two more runs in that over.

Hasaranga returned to bowl in the eighth over and fared even better. The 24-year-old produced a maiden over whilst picking up Benny Howell, James Faulkner and Vishnu Sukumaran to end with 5/8 – the best bowling figures in any Abu Dhabi T10 match to date.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s record-breaking 96

Wanindu Hasaranga’s magical spell, though, wasn’t the only piece of individual brilliance the Deccan Gladiators vs Bangla Tigers second leg league match witnessed.

Earlier in the day, Deccan Gladiators opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore produced a masterclass of his own.

Having struggled for form throughout the tournament, the English wicketkeeper found his groove in the match and how.

Having got off to a good start, Tom Kohler-Cadmore was dropped in the deep off James Faulkner when he was batting in the 20s. The Englishman went on to make the most of his second life, whacking the Bangla Tigers bowlers all around the pitch to score a 39-ball 96.

He was only dismissed in the final over but his classy innings helped the Gladiators to a sizeable total of 140 in 10 overs.

Though Tom Kohler-Cadmore missed out on scoring the first-ever century in Abu Dhabi T10 by just four runs, his knock, featuring five sixes and 12 fours, broke the record of the highest individual score by a player in a match in the tournament.

Chris Lynn’s 91* in the 2019 edition was the previous record.

Dominic Drakes chokes the Tigers

Bangla Tigers seemed to be on the end of a few magical bowling spells and this time, it was the turn of Delhi Bulls all-rounder Dominic Drakes to inflict the pain.

The Bulls batted first and a middling performance saw them end up with just 100/7, with Drakes scoring just one run.

Bangla Tigers’ score was 54/5 in six overs but with their skipper du Plessis still batting and a few hitters to come, they would have fancied their chances of a sixth win on the trot. Dominic Drakes though had other plans.

Brought into the attack in the seventh over, Drakes had du Plessis caught off his first ball, then disturbed James Faulkner’s stumps in the third and dismissed Luke Wood off the final ball for a devastating three wickets while giving away just two runs.

It extinguished all hopes of a Bangla Tigers victory. Drakes then returned in the ninth over and removed Vishnu Sukumaran, eventually ending with figures of 4-9, having conceded just one boundary in his spell.

Bangla Tigers limped to 88/9 in 10 overs and Dominic Drakes was deservedly awarded ‘Player of the Match’.

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