Team Abu Dhabi got off to a fantastic start in their first encounter of Season 5 of Abu Dhabi T10 against the Bangla Tigers at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Chris Gayle's unbeaten innings of 49 runs from 23 balls and Paul Stirling's knock of 59 runs from 23 balls helped Team Abu Dhabi post a total of 145/4 in their 10 overs before Marchant de Lange's bowling effort of 5/23 took Team Abu Dhabi to a 40-wicket win over the Bangla Tigers.
Andre Fletcher smacked Sheldon Cottrell for three boundaries and two sixes in the first over of Tigers' innings. However, the Tigers suffered a massive blow when Marchant de Lange dismissed Captain Faf du Plessis for nought in the very next over. Following the wicket, Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher smashed a six each, but the latter was bowled out for 24 runs (8 balls) on the last ball of the second over. Team Abu Dhabi put even more pressure on the Tigers when Captain Liam Livingstone removed Charles for 7 runs (4 balls) in the third over and thereafter Jamie Overton dismissed Will Jacks (1 run from 5 balls) leaving the Tigers at 43/4 in 3.3 overs.
Benny Howell and Hazratullah Zazai strung a partnership of 28 runs and took the Tigers to 71/4 in 6 overs, but De Lange tilted the match completely in favour of Team Abu Dhabi by dismissing Hazratullah Zazai, Benny Howell and James Faulkner in the seventh over, leaving the Tigers reeling at 81/7. Thereafter, Team Abu Dhabi bowled three clinical overs and ensured that they walked off the field as winners.
Earlier, Philip Salt and Paul Stirling got Team Abu Dhabi off to a flyer by striking a six and a four in the first five deliveries of the first over of the match. However, Luke Wood pulled things back for Bangla Tigers after running out Salt on the last delivery of the first over. Captain Liam Livingstone came in and smashed James Faulkner for two consecutive sixes in the second over, but Faulkner bowled him out on the last delivery of the second over, leaving Team Abu Dhabi at 27/2.
Thereafter, Paul Stirling and Chris Gayle started the fireworks for Team Abu Dhabi. Stirling smacked Wood for two boundaries and a six in the third over and Gayle struck three sixes and a four off Sabir Rao's bowling in the fifth over taking Team Abu Dhabi's score to 81/2 in 5 overs. Gayle and Stirling plundered Qais Ahmad's over for 31 runs in the sixth over and added another 12 runs before Benny Howell bowled out Stirling (59 runs from 23 balls) in the seventh over. James Faulkner, Isuru Udana and Benny Howell managed to pull things back for the Bangla Tigers in the last three overs as they conceded just 21 runs in the last three overs. However, Team Abu Dhabi posted a mammoth total of 145/4 at the end of their 10 overs with Gayle remaining unbeaten on 49 runs from 23 balls.