Kuumar Shyam (Aletihad)
A seven-wicket win over Deccan Gladiators saw New York Strikers get their act right at just the second time of asking since joining the Abu Dhabi T10 and made up for their loss in the final last year to the same opposition. Their revenge also denied Deccan a hat-trick of titles at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday in the seventh season of the tournament.
Before the first ball was bowled, this was clearly labelled as the clash between the best bowling (New York) and batting (Deccan) sides of the seventh season in the tournament. Deccan were clearly the favourites as two-time champions.
So New York backed themselves to chase down any target and decided to bowl first on winning the toss. They had a challenge at their hands when Nicholas Pooran and Tom Kohler-Cadmore went about smashing Mohammed Amir and Mohammad Jawadullah all over the packed ground with 23 runs coming off the first two overs. But once Sunil Narine squeezed the run flow straightaway on being introduced, Kohler-Cadmore holed out due to his impatience.
That started the slide with Pooran also following two balls later on the same score. Gladiators threw caution to the wind and went down to 41-4 and later 57-5. Narine ended with a superb spell of two overs for just six runs, and he finished them in quick time even as the innings eventually finished nine minutes over time. Andre Russell (30 not out) and David Wiese (20 not out) gave the score a respectable finish after the mid-innings stumble.
They were helped by some loose bowling in their second overs by Jawadullah and George Scrimshaw respectively, probably because they changed ends. Narine’s good spell meant Akeal Hosein, their best bowler, bowled out the final overs of their innings and ensured the Russell-Wiese pair did not get the final flourish they had put themselves in that position for with some effort.
Interestingly, New York had reached an identical score of 91 for five last year in response to Deccan’s 128 for four, but this time it was what they needed to win on a slower surface.
Perhaps too conscious of preserving their wickets, New York openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Muhammad Waseem started in a circumspect way. Yet, the format of T10 is such that it only ended up adding pressure and both perished each trying their first ambitious shot still without conviction.
When they lost their third wicket at 38-3 in the fifth over, it looked like the slow and steady strategy might backfire. The nerves started to build up as Asif Ali and Kieron Pollard came on the crease with both not having done much of note with the bat. They needed time and confidence.
Once past the seventh over, in which Nuwan Thushara’s full toss was dismissed by a straight-bat six from Asia, the gears changed. With that, New York had to just cautiously put their foot over the line.
Brief scores: New York Strikers bt Deccan Gladiators by 7 wkts. Deccan Gladiators 91 for 5 in 10 overs (Andre Russell 30, David Wiese 20 n.o. Sunil Narine 2 for 6) New York Strikers 94 for 3 in 9.2 overs (Asif Ali 48 n.o, Kieron Pollard 22 n.o)
Player of the Match: Asif Ali
Player of the Tournament: Akeal Hosein
Bowler of the Tournament: Akeal Hosein
Batsman of the Tournament: Tom Kohler-Cadmore
UAE Player of the Tournament: Mohammad Jawadulah