Bulls underrated for title chance

Abu Dhabi T10 Match Day Ten
TV: live on Sky Sports

This is the dreaded third-place play-off. We say dreaded because no-one cares about finishing third or fourth, least of all the players.

If all was fair in love and war and this was a genuine competitive contest, we’d be keen on the Qalandars at 2.1211/10. Team Abu Dhabi are 1.834/5.

It is perfectly understandable as to why TAD are favourites for this one. In the Eliminator on Friday they chased 83 with ease against Qalandars.

Ben Duckett won the man of the match award with 27 from 19. It has to be said that it’s one of the more bizarre match awards. And that’s saying something. Obed McCoy, who took two for 11, or Naveen-ul-Haq, who took two for six, can be rightly aggrieved.

The Qalandars top order batting started the tournament in blistering form. But a strength became a weakness as a lack of crease time for the middle order appeared to cost the, Shahid Afridi top scored in the TAD loss.

The final. The big one. Forgive us for feeling that showpiece lacks a certain anticipation because these two played on Friday. And Delhi Bulls won with ease, chasing 98 with six balls to spare. ‘To spare’ is their motto it seems considering the number of times they have won with room to spare.

This is a list of the ball remaining in each of their six wins chasing (most recent first): 8-16-32-11-30-7. That is an extraordinary record, even in a tournament dominated by the chaser. And it’s not as if their bowling is particularly formidable. They have conceded more than the tournament average three times.

Against Warriors their bowling was strong, however. They restricted the most feared batting line-up to 97. Waqas Maqsood, fast becoming one of our favourite players, claimed two wickets. Dwayne Bravo also took two wickets with an economy rate of 14. That was enough for the match gong. With the bat, Bulls go hell for leather. And quite right too. Evin Lewis, Sherfane Rutherford Ravi Bopara and Mohammad Nabi don’t die wondering.

Warriors are a West Indies tribute XI, boasting Lendl Simmons, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Nic Pooran, Rayad Emrit and Rovman Powell. They made it to the final after beating TAD, quickly getting over their upset against the Bulls. They chased 114 with two balls to spare.

It is tempting to say they are reliant on Pooran. But it’s nonsense. Although Pooran is taking ball-striking to new heights, the likes of Powell is not far behind. They are an incredibly dangerous hitting team.

And that is why the match odds market has them favourite. Folks are swayed by big bats, particularly in this format. Warriors are 1.834/5 with Delhi 2.1211/10.

In Friday’s meeting the odds were the same. And our rationale was the same. We don’t have Delhi as outsiders on form. After all, Delhi won the ladder stage. There is nothing to choose between the two.

With the flip on their side, they have a strong chance. The bias is for the chaser as the stats below show. And we’re not fussed about the favourite bias as this is one of the few occasions when the market is wrong about a jolly. For a comfort rug you can wait in-play and probably get the same pre-toss price about Delhi with a fast Warriors start.

Tournament stats

Average score bating first 109
Matches won batting first 6/27
Highest chase 129
Teams score 110 or more 12/27
Won by favourites 22/27

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