Eoin Morgan and Azam Khan led the New York Strikers to a thrilling eight-wicket victory over the Deccan Gladiators in the first match of the Abu Dhabi T10 Day 4 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, here on Saturday.
Riding on Odean Smith’s 38 and Suresh Raina’s 28, Deccan Gladiators scored 109/7 in their 10 overs. In reply, Morgan (42 not out from 23) and Khan (26 not out from 20) put on an unbeaten 68 runs for the third wicket and carried their team from 42/2 at 3.3 to victory on the last ball of the wicket. An innings bearing some tight bowling from the Deccan Gladiators.
The event began with Deccan Gladiators winning the toss and being elected to bat. They lost their opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore on the third ball from the first off Akel Hussain for a duck, caught by Izharulq Navid off a third man short. Jason Roy hit the last ball of the bounds first ball through the covers.
The second match was more eventful as Motiullah Khan took the prize wicket from Nicholas Pooran with the second ball. Pooran was dismissed by Muhammad Wasim for 7. The wickets continued to fall in the next over when Jason Roy was caught by Hussain by wicket-keeper Azam Khan for 5.
The New York Strikers were on top, displacing three top batsmen in just 2.3 overs. The mantle of team scoring fell on both India’s seasoned veteran Suresh Raina and David Wise, a consistent player in the leagues. Wiese escaped being caught behind Motiullah Khan in the fourth inning as Azam failed to take the inside edge.
In the fifth, Wiese hit Thompson for consecutive sixes. But he reached Thompson’s third over to Muhammad Wasim at mid-wicket. Thompson also took the prize wicket for Andre Russell, caught just like the previous class. Mohamed Waseem took his third catch of the innings and this time again at mid wicket.
With half the team back in the dugout with the halfway mark of only 42 runs on the board, the New York Strikers wanted to go for the kill. However, Muhammad Waseem bowled the sixth to give him 12 runs. Wahab Riad was introduced in the seventh to tighten things up but Odin Smith hit him for a six and he went over the bounds 20 overs.
Thompson, who bowled the eighth, continued to give nothing up until the fourth ball when Smith pulled him for six. Raina also made it to another six off the last ball. When it was over with 17 rounds, the odds of the score passing more than the 100-point mark became apparent.
Wahab Riad tried hard to contain the flow of runs the second time around. Although Smith pulled it to the bounds, he pulled Raina out with the fifth delivery. Paul Sterling took a great catch to the lead off Raina, and ran back. Raina hit of 28 had twos and a six.
The score passed the 100-point mark when Smith Izhar-ul-Haq kicked Naveed six wide off the first ball at the end. With the last ball of the innings, Fletcher had Odin Smith caught by Navid off the ball for 38. His 19-ball batting had three boundaries and three sixes. From a disastrous 37 for 5 in 4.4 overs, the Deccan Gladiators scored 109 for 7 at the end of the tenth inning.
The New York Strikers’ chase started on an exciting note. Opener Andre Fletcher scored six off the first ball of the innings from Josh Little. He hit the third delivery for Borders and the fifth for six more. But he was also dismissed on the last ball of that, caught by Russell at mid-match for 16.
Tom Helm’s second innings yielded only three runs, but opener Stirling used the third to bowl well as Khan appeared for consecutive sixes, both at mid wicket. Odin Smith who also bowled the fourth over was hit for a six and a boundary off his first two deliveries by Stirling.
With the third ball, Smith finished off Sterling’s stroke after Wiese caught it deep mid-wicket. Khan back threw an impressive second after giving up just eight runs. The New York Strikers’ hopes now rest on Eoin Morgan and Azam Khan.
The sixth began with Azam Khan hitting Andre Russell for two straights off the first two balls and taking 12 runs from that. Helm has been reintroduced to tighten up the running flow. Azam hit the second ball to reduce through the covers. Morgan also picked two boundaries from the fifth and sixth deliveries.
The New York Strikers have needed 31 of their last three overs. Andre Russell was introduced in the eighth position. Although Morgan picked a boundary off his third delivery, Russell only gave six runs. Morgan smashed Odean Smith to a long six and boundary to bring his team close to the target. Azam also hit Smith to take a limit of 19 runs.
In the end, the New York Strikers needed six runs off their last out. Josh Little, who bowled last, gave singles off the first two deliveries. Morgan got two runs from the third and one from the fourth. Azam could get no runs from the fifth over, but won the match off the last ball by hitting Little to the middle of the net for one out and winning the match by eight wickets.
Brief scores: Deccan Gladiators 109/7 in 10 overs (Odean Smith 38, Suresh Raina 28; Akeal Hosein 2-9, Jordan Thompson 2-34) lost to New York Strikers 110/2 in 10 overs (Eoin Morgan 42 not out, Azam Khan 26 not out; Joshua Little 1-22) by 8 wickets