Nicholas Pooran and Evin Lewis provided the fireworks on the opening night of the Abu Dhabi T10's sixth season as Deccan Gladiators and Bangla Tigers recorded victories on Wednesday.
Pooran smashed 77 off 33 deliveries to lead Gladiators to a 35-run win over Team Abu Dhabi by 35 runs, while Lewis belted a 22-ball 58 in the Tigers’ 19-run triumph over newcomers New York Strikers, both at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Batting first, the Gladiators lost Will Meed (0) in the second delivery of the game to Afghanistan quick Naveen ul Haq before Pooran joined Tom Kohler-Cadmore (13) to take the score to 50-1 in 3.3 overs.
From there it was Pooran who took charge. The West Indian hit eight sixes and five fours, and shared a 72-run stand for the fifth wicket with compatriot Odean Smith, who clubbed a 12-ball 23.
Peter Hatzoglou and Fabien Allen were the pick of the Abu Dhabi bowlers, finishing with two for 18 and two for 12, respectively, from their two over apiece.
Abu Dhabi lost openers Alex Hales (8) at 25 and Chris Lynn (14) 10 runs later and never appeared to be in the race, finishing on 99-6.
Abu Dhabi suffered a setback when UAE international Alishan Sharafu suffered an ankle injury during the warm-up and ruled out of the game, handing 16-year-old Ethan D’Souza to debut in a franchise tournament and making him the youngest player in the team's history.
Tigers defeat Strikers
New York Strikers’ first appearance in the T10 ended in defeat, going down to Bangla Tigers by 19 runs in the opening game of the night.
Lewis clubbed seven sixes and two fours for the Tigers to post 131 for five while Matheesha Pathirana and Rohan Mustafa grabbed two wickets each to restrict the Strikers to 112 for eight.
There was also a contribution of note by Tigers captain Shakib ul Hassan, who hit a six and a four in an unbeaten six-ball 14 to push the team’s total to a position of strength.
Kieron Pollard provided a glimmer of hope for the American franchise with a 19-ball 45 not out but didn’t have the support at the other end, as none of the other batters got into double figures aside from Azam Khan’s 13-ball 34.
“It was a good surface to bat on but you don’t have much time to settle down in this format. Nevertheless it’s a good start that I can build on as the tournament progresses,” Lewis said.