Team Abu Dhabi seemed like the team to beat halfway through the Abu Dhabi T10, with five victories out of five, thanks to their intimidating brand of cricket, fostered by Paul Farbrace, and the aggressive manner in which they were taking the game to the opposition. Captain Liam Livingstone stated that they will stick to their fearless approach and strategy, knowing that they would be bowled out for 50 or 60 runs at some point. He only wanted the day to never come when it mattered the most.

For much of the competition, that strategy paid off: they were the first team to qualify for the play-offs, and with last-ball sixes to seal triumphs over the Deccan Gladiators and Delhi Bulls, the championship appeared to be theirs to keep. Everything was going according to plan. However, as is typical with these events, it’s all about peaking at the correct time.

As the T10 neared its conclusion, their insistence on that identity was maintained, and it may have been the cause of its downfall. Team Abu Dhabi lost in the previous edition of this tournament at this stage, and as they were bowled out for 60 by Bulls in the second qualifier here, driven on by a determined Dominic Drakes who will no doubt be a name you will hear a lot more of in the years to come, their inability to adapt proved to be the reason why Gladiators and Bulls will instead contest Saturday’s final at the Zayed Cricket Ground.

After defeating the Bulls in the first qualifier to earn a spot in the final, Gladiators thrashed Bangla Tigers to eliminate Faf du Plessis’ team. As a result, the last act of Friday’s triple-header saw Livingstone and Dwayne Bravo’s teams battle head-to-head for a spot in the final. Wanindu Hasaranga’s vital removal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz – the tournament’s star – for just 19 runs earlier in the day presented a fresh challenge for the Bulls batsmen. They suddenly needed someone other than Gurbaz to take charge.

Despite Eoin Morgan promising to do something extraordinary by hitting three consecutive sixes at Andre Russell, the next ball he hit was a full toss straight to Odean Smith, and that was the end of it.