Web Desk :
It was a remarkable team performance from the New York Strikers on Saturday in the Final of the Abu Dhabi T10 as the side led by Kieron Pollard defeated the defending Champions Deccan Gladiators by 7 wickets.
After electing to field, Strikers managed to restrict the opposition to 91/5 on a good batting track, courtesy of a magical spell from Sunil Narine, who recorded figures of 2/6 in his 2 overs. With Asif Ali smashing an unbeaten 48 off 25 balls, the Strikers chased down the total in 9.2 overs to lift their maiden trophy.
“Congratulations to the whole team. It was a total team effort from the time we started. The guys were a bit nervous and hungry. But the way they played throughout the tournament, there was never any doubt that we would go all the way once we held on to our nerves. It was a matter of staying calm,” skipper Pollard said after the title win.
“In games like these, the team that stays calm the longest is going to win. For us, limiting Deccan Gladiators to 91 was remarkable. I told my batsmen we have 60 balls to get the total. We don’t have to get the total in 8 overs. We don’t have to think of the run rate, we can play all the balls. The main thing is that Asif Ali came out and played fantastic. He was itching to get that opportunity. From the time he took that catch – it was a tournament-winning catch. And the way he batted, he showed the experience of an international player,” he added.
While Pollard and Asif were in the middle during the chase, former New York Strikers mentor Yuvraj Singh shared a message to the New York Strikers’ support staff, backing Pollard to successfully finish off the chase. After being informed of the former Indian cricketer’s message, Pollard said that Yuvraj is a class act and credited his teammates for the big win.
“I have played a lot of cricket against Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi is a class act. He has entertained us for a long period. We played together and he was a mentor here, last year. So obviously, he knows my capabilities. But as of now, I try to take a backseat. I have had my time in cricket. It is good to see Asif Ali, Muhammad Waseem, Gurbaz, Karunaratne, Akeal, Sunil, Amir and everybody chipping in. So, congratulations to everybody,” he said.
Meanwhile, New York Strikers opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz explained what the title win means to him on a personal level. “Everyone is excited about achieving what we wanted to achieve. I have played in three Abu Dhabi T10 finals – and finally, it feels good to be the Champions. It’s a personal excitement for me. It was also good to see the crowd enjoy the game. Every team was strong here – but as a batsman, you have to stick with your plans. We were the strongest bowling side. But we applied the plans made by coaches and captains, and it worked out for us,” he said.
Top-order batsman Muhammad Waseem further added: “We are proud of the win. Last year, we lost the final but we were upset. New York Strikers are like a family. I give credit to the bowlers for restricting them to a low total. For our batting line-up, it was a total we knew we could chase.”
New York Strikers Head Coach Carl Crowe praised the team’s atmosphere this season and delved deeper into how everyone supported each other in the dressing room.
“It was a bit of pain last year to not win the trophy. There was only one focus for us this time. Of course, that is never easy. On the way, there were some good games and bad performances. But ultimately, we got over the line,” Coach said.
“One thing we had here was a real family feeling. The culture was fantastic and we had an amazing captain in Kieron Pollard. Everyone wanted to play for him. Everyone was very clear in their roles. We had the best bowling attack in the competition. Restricting the opposition to 90 in the Final was an amazing achievement. We won the game fairly comfortably. An all-round great performance this season,” he signed off.
New York Strikers owner Mr. Sagar Khanna praised the players for their fighting spirit and relentlessness displayed throughout the season. “We are elated to lift our maiden trophy. It was our mission statement from day one this year – we knew what we wanted to achieve and our players gave their all to fulfil the promise. It was a dream team for us this season – everyone performed to the best of their abilities and ensured we got our hands on the trophy. I congratulate our players, the support staff, and everyone here at New York Strikers family.”