Abu Dhabi T10 League: A real game changer

The Abu Dhabi T10 League is the shortest format of the sport that was first organized by the Emirates Cricket Board in 2017.

In. short span of 4 years, it has grabbed the imagination of cricket fans all over the world and earned its place as a viable format.

The tournament was considered an outlandish idea at first, but soon it drew the cricket fraternity’s attention due to action-packed matches.

The first season consisted of only six franchises.

The tournament comprised 13 games and got wrapped up in only four days.

The entire tournament was held at the Sharjah Cricket Ground and a majority of the cricketers were from West Indies, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Game rules

The basic rules of T10 cricket are no different to any other format apart from the over limit.

Each team gets to bat and bowl for 10 overs and the game has to be completed within 90 minutes.

Every team gets three group games after which the knockout round kicks off and the top-performing sides are promoted to the eliminators and final.

Founded by Shaji-ul-Mulk, the 10-over-a-side competition was sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the franchises met all requirements of the sport’s highest body.

List of franchises as of 2021

Bangla TigersAndre Fletcher
Deccan GladiatorsKieron Pollard
Delhi BullsDwayne Bravo 
Maratha ArabiansMosaddek Hossain 
Northern WarriorsNicholas Pooran
Pune DevilsNasir Hossain
QalandarsSohail Akhtar
Team Abu DhabiLuke Wright

1st season – 2017

Kerala Kings won the inaugural T10 tournament by defeating Punjabi Legends in the final by eight wickets.

Punjab, which included the likes of Shoaib Malik, Carlos Brathwaite, Faheem Ashraf, Ravi Bopara, Misbah-ul-Haq, Luke Ronchi and Umar Akmal, scored 120/3 in ten overs.

Kerala Kings chased down the target with two overs to spare despite losing the first wicket early.

Ashraf dismissed Kerala opener Chadwick Wolton for a duck.

He returned to the hut after facing only one delivery. But the Kings reached the 121-target with eight wickets in hand, courtesy captain Eoin Morgan’s and Paul Stirling’s blistering half-centuries.

Key performers

Luke Ronchi

The former New Zealand wicket-keeper was the star of the first edition of the T10 league.

He was the top scorer in the final (70 off 34) as well, but lack of support from the other end couldn’t get his side through.

He struck five huge sixes and five fours while batting at the strike rate of 205. Ronchi notched a total of 197 runs in the competition.

On the other hand, Hasan Ali, Riyad Emrit and Sohail Tanvir grabbed the most wickets (five apiece) as they stood head and shoulders above other bowlers.

2nd season – 2018

The second edition witnessed the entrance of two more teams which made the tournament even more competitive.

West Indian star Rovman Powell saved his best performance for the final to win North Warrior the second Abu Dhabi T10 League.

He bagged the Player of the Match award for his 25-ball 61 against Shahid Afridi-led Pakhtoons.

His half-century and Andre Russell’s late cameo propelled the Warriors to a mammoth score of 140/3.

The Pakhtoons were 22 runs short of the run chase.

The Warriors were no less than a force to reckon with in the second edition.

They lost only one of their six games and had the best net run rate in the tournament (+3.076).

Key performers

Nicholas Pooran

Nicholas Pooran lived up to his hype throughout the tournament.

Although the Warriors skipper was dismissed for only 18 in the final, he was the season’s top scorer.

He smashed 324 runs in only six games.

Hardus Viljoen

Hardus Viljoen may not be the biggest cricket star South Africa has produced, but his addition can strengthen any bowling unit.

The right-arm fast bowler, who represented Pune Devils, was declared the Player of the Tournament for claiming 18 scalps.

No other bowler has been able to take his many wickets in the tournament’s brief history.

3rd season – 2019

Dwayne Bravo-led Maratha Arabians secured their maiden T10 title in 2019.

The Arabians overwhelmed a dangerous Deccan Gladiators by eight wickets in the final.

It was a comfortable win for Bravo’s men because Chadwick Walton was seeing the ball better than ever.

The wicket-keeper batsman struck a 26-ball 51 and carried his bat to chase down the meagre 88-run target.

Key performers

Chris Lynn

Queensland star Chris Lynn had a terrific tournament.

His 371 runs in the tournament is the highest amount of runs ever scored in the T10 league.

Lynn’s contribution to Maratha Arabians’ title win was enormous because of his consistency.

The right-handed power hitter hammered the opposition in almost every game, apart from the final where he fell for 16.

George Garton

English cricketer George Garton was the pick of the bowlers in the third T10 competition.

The Qalandars starlet inspired his team to the second spot, picking 12 wickets to his name.

An uncapped Garton did not have a very impressive resume coming into the tournament, but the left-arm pacer led Qalandars from the front in 2019.

4th season – 2021

Nicholas Pooran made history in the fourth season by becoming the only captain to lift the Abu Dhabi T10 trophy twice.

Northern Warriors won the finals with a comprehensive win over Delhi Bulls.

The Warriors first dismantled the Bulls to 81/9, then completed the run chase with 10 balls to spare.

None of the Dwane Bravo’s men stood up on the big night.

The Bulls bowlers dismissed big hitter – Sherfane Rutherford, Ravi Bopara and Evan Lewis – before they could go berserk.

Muhammad Nabi was Bull’s top scorer in the final for his 21 runs.

As for the title winners, it was Sri Lankan spinner Maheesh Theekshana who delivered a match-winning performance.

The 20-year-old bowling prodigy was declared Player of the Match for his 3/14 in two overs.

Key performers

Sohail Akhtar

The T10 tournament has been a great platform for the uncapped stars to showcase their skills.

This year, it was Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar who was the best batsman of the tournament with 248 runs.

Akhtar also leads Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League.

Jamie Overton

Jamie Overton was the highest wicket-taker of this year’s edition with 12 scalps to his name.

The uncapped County star got into the T10 tournament on the back of consistent performances for the Surrey Cricket Club.

The 27-year-old right-arm fast bowler is knocking on the England national side’s selection panel with back-to-back performances in the white-ball tournaments.

Apart from having a knack for uprooting the stumps, Overton is a reliable lower-order batsman as well.

His 38 runs off 11 won Pune Devils a game that was getting away from their reach until the Englishman walked in.

5th Season – 2021

The dates for Season 5 have been announced. It will be held from Nov 19th to Dec 4th which is great news for all the T10 fans out there!


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