Eoin Morgan leads New York Strikers to a spectacular run chase:
Eoin Morgan, carrying the experience of being a part of many nail-biting thrillers, displayed his skills that made him one of the finest limited over batsmen to carry New York Strikers through a nerve-cracking run chase and pull off a last ball win. The 36-year-old former England captain, who had once remarked that ‘T10 was one of the best tournaments and enjoys playing in it’, cracked an unbeaten 87 off 35 balls with 12 boundaries and three sixes to chase down Northern Warriors’ huge total of 143 for 3. Through a one-man show, Morgan took the team to the target hitting a boundary off the last ball.
Earlier, Northern Warriors posted 143 for 3 through Usman Khan’s 48 and skipper Rovman Powell’s 54. Their efforts went in vain in the 22nd match on the eighth day of the Abu Dhabi T10 at the Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Northern Warriors won the toss and elected to bat. The first over from Akeal Hosein yielded just a boundary to Adam Lyth. In the second over too, Lyth could get only one boundary off Muhammad Waseem. In the third over, Usman Khan hit the first six of the innings off Hosein to deep mid-wicket. Off the fourth ball Hosein had Lyth caught and bowled for 14. Stuart Binny bowled a tight fourth over giving away just four runs.
Muhammad Waseem was re-introduced for the fifth over and Usman Khan flicked him for a boundary off the first ball and also flicked the second for a six. He continued to flick and get a boundary off the third ball and sliced the fifth ball to third man for another boundary. Twenty runs came off that over and Northern Warriors reached the 50 run mark at the end of the fifth over.
Binny who bowled his first over tight could not repeat it in his second. Usman Khan hit his first delivery and fourth delivery for boundaries. He gave away 13 runs in that over. Skipper Rovman Powell who had faced only six balls to score five runs till the end of sixth over, hit the first ball of the seventh from Jordan Thompson for a boundary over mid-off. He also hit the fifth ball for a six to over deep square leg to move to 20.
With three more overs to go and score at 81 for 1, Usman hit Rampaul to fine leg for a boundary while Powell hit two consecutive sixes off the fifth and sixth deliveries to take the score past the 100 run mark. Thompson got Usman out for 48 with the first ball of his ninth delivery. Sherfane Rutherford hit the first ball he faced from Thompson for a six to long-off and a boundary off the next through extra cover. Powell too hit the fourth and fifth deliveries for a six and the last ball for a boundary. The total swelled to 130 for 2 by the end of the ninth over.
The last over was bowled by Pollard and Rutherford hit the first delivery over extra cover for a boundary. Powell reached his half century off 18 balls hitting Pollard over the covers for a six. He got out to the next delivery caught behind by wicketkeeper Azam Khan for 54. His knock off 19 balls had two boundaries and six sixes. Northern Warriors thus posted a healthy 143 for 3 in 10 overs.
The strange trend of openers falling to the first ball of the innings happened in this match too. Opener Andre Fletcher got caught behind by wicketkeeper Kennar Lewis off Mohammad Irfan. Paul Stirling, undanted by the fall of his opening partner, hit Irfan for a six to deep mid-wicket. Eoin Morgan joined Stirling began with a boundary to deep mid-wicket. In the second over, Morgan hit Abhimanyu Mithun over cover for another boundary and the last delivery through the covers for his third boundary. Stirling got a boundary off Junaid Siddiqui’s first delivery but got out to the second delivery, clean bowled for 12.
The heavy scoring Azam Khan walked in and picked a boundary off the first ball he faced to third man. Morgan picked his fourth boundary off the fifth ball. The score went past the 50 mark when Azam began to score freely. He picked a four over the keeper’s head and the next he smashed through the covers.
The first ball of the fifth over from Wayne Parnell was hit by Morgan for a six over deep point. The next he edged over third man for yet another boundary. He also hit the last ball for a boundary to take the score to 72 for 2, needing another 72 from the remaining 30 balls. Mohammad Irfan struck with the second ball of the sixth over by having Azam Khan caught by Lyth at deep mid-wicket for 16. Skipper Kieron Pollard fell to the first ball he faced, clean bowled by Irfan. Muhammad Waseem denied Irfan the hat-trick and then hit the last ball of that over for a six high over mid-wicket.
Morgan reached his half century in 19 balls through his second six off Udana’s seventh over. The score then went past the 100 run mark. With Morgan in full flow, New York Strikers needed 40 runs in the last 18 balls. Waseem hit Mithun for a boundary to make it 27 from the last 12 balls.
Parnell was introduced for the ninth over and Morgan hit his first delivery effortlessly over mid- off for a boundary. The second ball he pulled for a boundary and the fourth he slashed to third man for yet another boundary. Waseem got out to the last ball of the ninth over to a stupendous catch on the long-on boundary line by Powell. Despite losing balance, he went out of the boundary line but came back and took the catch.
With 12 runs needed off the last over, Morgan escaped being caught behind off the first delivery from Junaid Siddiqui. He picked a double off the next two deliveries. He got no run off the third, and off the fourth and fifth he picked two runs each. He hit the last ball for a boundary and returned to standing ovation.
New York Strikers bt Northern Warriors by 5 wkts. Northern Warriors 143 for 3 in 10 overs (Usman Khan 48, Rovman Powell 54) New York Strikers 144 for 5 in 10 overs (Eoin Morgan 87n.o, Mohammad Irfan 3 for 21)
Player of the Match: Eoin Morgan.