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Abu Dhabi T10 may feature a version of Super Over for league games next season

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In just its third edition of its existence, it is fair to say the Abu Dhabi T10 is still a work in progress. As a result, there are still tweaks to be made, issues to be ironed out and a lot of trials to be carried out.

From being a four-day, round-robin format played out between six franchises in its inaugural edition, the tournament went from 13 matches to 29 the following season as it welcomed two new teams into the fold. That second season stretched the competition to 12 days and while the same structure was retained this year, it has found a ten-day slot in its new home in the UAE capital.

The Super League stage has remained in place, but with every team playing each other bar their opposite number in the other group (for example, Deccan Gladiators and Maratha Arabians avoided each other in the Super League stage having topped Group A and B respectively and so on), there is little jeopardy as the tournament moves into its second stage.

And this existing league structure is something Abu Dhabi T10 owner-cum-chairman Shaji ul Mulk says he and his team plan to address after Sunday’s final.

“It’s possible [that the tournament format changes],” Shaji told ESPNcricinfo. “Because we have eight teams, we could be doing seven games a team so that we have a full round-robin. That would probably need us to increase the duration by another two days.”

Delhi Bulls captain Eoin Morgan, who has been involved with the tournament since its inception, also sees the potential for adjustments. “There are a couple of things but I don’t have a solution for them yet,” Morgan said. “We’re only in our third year, things will continue to evolve, maybe even more teams still in a shorter space of time.”

The group stage has also become a topic for conversation over its lack of tie-breakers, such as a Super Over, to ensure results in every match. They are in place for the knockout matches that begin on Saturday but after two ties this year, their absence has been notable.

When you throw in Wednesday’s rain that produced one farce and two no results, the difference between shared points and full points is something that cannot be ignored. And while the rain cannot be helped, other things can be.

“We’ve seen two ties already and I think all coaches agree we need to see a result, whatever form that’s in whether it’s a Super Over or how that’s determined,” Team Abu Dhabi coach Trevor Bayliss, whose side was hit by both that abandonment and T10’s first-ever tie, told ESPNcricinfo. “A result in every match would be good for everyone involved, not just the players but obviously the fans and the viewers at home as well.”

Morgan, like Bayliss, knows the finality of a Super Over more than most after this year’s ODI World Cup final and he would rather a ten-over game had a conclusion. “If we played in a tied game and we ended up a point short the argument is: would you rather have a result than one point each and I’d always err on the side of having a result,” Morgan said.

Shaji puts the fast turnaround of games as a reason behind the lack of Super Overs until the qualifiers and final, his argument based on the fact that one of T10’s greatest USP is its 90-minute game-time. When you factor in slots on TV schedules and advertising space, it is no easy thing to balance.

“We will be looking at it from next season onwards,” Shaji said. “Now that we’ve had two ties, we will probably consider changing those playing conditions. We want something innovative like two bowlers, three balls each.”

One thing the Abu Dhabi T10 will be hoping to sustain is the strong crowds that have turned out so far. The UAE is a notoriously difficult place to pull in supporters despite a cricket-mad diaspora. To combat it this year, organisers invested in buses from across the emirates to provide transport for people that otherwise would have found it difficult to source.

The result has been remarkable as evidenced by Friday’s enormous crowd-swell, and Morgan hopes that, in future, the showpiece events are scheduled to tie-in with what is a non-working day for the majority of the country.

“You look at the crowd today given that it’s the weekend here and that’s fantastic to see. Probably one of the things would be having the final on a weekend [Friday or Saturday] as opposed to [Sunday]. But it’s still great to see crowds like that today.”



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Cricket

Josh Philippe and Steven Smith guide impressive Sydney Sixers chase

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Aaron Finch struck his eighth T20 century – to go joint second in the all-time list – but the Renegades fell to another defeat



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Back the Stars, bank on Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell

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January 25: Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat in Melbourne

Our XI: Marcus Stoinis, Chris Lynn, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Cutting, Ben Laughlin, James Pattinson, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane

Captain: Marcus Stoinis

He’s been the Stars’ batting lynchpin this season, contributing in every other game and helping them to the top of the table. He also tops the batting chart with 590 runs in 13 games, so trust him to earn those 2x points for you.

Vice-captain: Glenn Maxwell

He is among the top run-scorers of the season and has been vital to the Stars’ success. The last time these two sides met, a Maxwell special – a 39-ball 83 – helped the Stars seal a thumping win.

Hot picks

Peter Handscomb

He did not have a great start to the season but hit form with an unbeaten 65 in the Stars’ previous game against the Adelaide Strikers. Although it came in a defeat, another batsman finding form is good news for the Stars.

AB de Villiers

The Heat still have the chance to make it to the playoffs and they will be turning to the experienced de Villiers to help them out especially in a pressure situation. He’s made just 69 runs in four games, but a typical AB innings cannot be far away.

Value picks

Ben Cutting: The big-hitter is a good all-round option to have in your side. He has nine wickets and 168 runs from 12 games and can swing the game if he gets in.

Adam Zampa: It was not that impressive a return to the Stars’ line-up from the India tour for Zampa, as he went wicketless for 38 runs. But he’s someone the side has depended on to rattle their opponents in the middle overs, and he picked up three crucial wickets the last times these sides met.



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Look no further than Steven Smith and Mohammad Nabi

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January 25: Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Renegades in Sydney

Our XI: Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Steven Smith, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi, James Vince, Josh Philippe, Ben Dwarshuis, Cameron Boyce, Tom Curran, Kane Richardson

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates.

Captain: Steven Smith

Smith comes in on the back of big runs in the ODI series n India, and based on evidence from Sixers’ last match, will probably bat at No. 3. That’s always useful, and in Sydney, you can count on him to be among the runs.

Vice-captain: Mohammad Nabi

Nabi could be a decent shout for captain too. He’s been in good form after being brought into the squad, both with bat and ball, and will play a central role in both halves of the match. Finch is back as captain and that’s a tactical boost for the Renegades in regard to how they can use Nabi.

Hot picks

James Vince

Vince is another offbeat shout for captain or vice-captain. He made an unbeaten 41 at No. 3 and then a 51 opening in the last match. One of the batsmen in form for the Sixers, and superb value as a top-order batsman on a pitch that isn’t easy to gauge.

Tom Curran

Curran is in a furious race with the Sydney Thunder’s Daniel Sams and the Adelaide Strikers’ Rashid Khan to be the highest wicket-taker of the season. With 19 wickets, he came one wicket off Sams’ 20 for the season after his last game. He has wickets in each of his last five innings, with two two-fors and a four-for.

Aaron Finch

Finch looked his brutal best in the ODI series against India and is coming back to a Renegades side that is now out of the race for the playoffs. There isn’t too much pressure on him or his team, and in this form, a free-flowing Finch can be valuable.

Value picks

Josh Philippe: The Renegades will miss out on Sam Harper’s services after he suffered a concussion, and have replaced him with rookie Brayden Stepien. Josh Philippe is therefore the primary wicketkeeping option in this fixture and brings both value and form – he made an unbeaten 52 opening the innings with Vince during the Sixers’ win last match.

Beau Webster: Webster continues to be the Renegades’ best batsman of the season (404 runs at 50.50, strike rate 137.88) and among the top run-getters overall. In his last outing, he got a fifty, and before that a 36. He rolled his arm over too against the Hobart Hurricanes, but the runs and his form alone are enough value.

Point to note

Keep a close eye on the Strikers’ match on Thursday. Should they lose, the Sixers will have the opportunity to finish on 19 points and seal second place on Friday, which gives them an extra shot at the finals.



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