Akeal Hosein posted best-ever Abu Dhabi T10 bowling figures to lead New York Strikers to a final against defending champions Deccan Gladiators.
Hosein took five wickets for six runs, including a hat-trick, in his two overs as the Strikers ended Morrisville Samp Army’s six-match winning streak in Qualifier One at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday.
The left-arm spinner from the West Indies had the Samp Army reeling at 13-5 in the third over to help restrict them to 80-9 in reply to the Strikers’ total of 121-5.
Hosein bowled an arm-ball that got through Andries Gouz’s defence before having Dewald Brewis caught off a leading edge by Chamika Karunaratne. Ibrahim Zadran then played on from another arm-ball as Hosein clinched his hat-trick, the eighth player to do so in the history of the Abu Dhabi T10. The spinner also snared Faf du Plessis and Najibullah Zadran.
“It’s a great feeling to get into the record books,” Hosein said. “It was basically using what was working for me on the night. I’m a spinner but if the ball is swinging, and if that works for me, I stick to that, and just execute as much as possible for my team.
“The first time I played this format I got some advice from the legend Dwayne Bravo, and he said, ‘When you get here, see it as a challenge’, particularly when bowling during the powerplay. So, I came here with an open mind and to challenge myself.”
Samp Army elected to field first and began with an excellent first over from Jason Holder, conceding just one run. Karim Janat went for a six and a four in the first four deliveries in the next but bowled Muhammad Waseem (8) with the help of a thick inside edge as Strikers were 13-1 in the second over.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz cut loose in the fourth. The Afghan opener smashed spinner Jake Lintott for three sixes and a four to amass 25 in the over to take their tally to 49.
Gurbaz went on to rack up 58 off 28 balls with five sixes and four fours. Asif Ali was the only other batter to get into double figures, making 17 not out from seven deliveries as the Strikers posted a challenging total of 121-5.
“We always knew what we wanted to accomplish and we got our strongest team for this game,” Strikers captain Keiron Pollard said of his team’s splendid result on the night.
“We didn’t bat well in the last three or four games, and yes, it’s T10 cricket, and I think the pitch is not conducive to play every single delivery, but at the end of the day we wanted our guys to bat smart to get to a total that could put pressure on the other team.”
In the Eliminator, Nicholas Pooran and Tom Kohler-Cadmore starred in an entertaining opening stand of 116 from 40 balls as the Gladiators trounced Bangla Tigers by 10 wickets to set up a meeting with Samp Army in Qualifier Two.
Pooran smashed 70 off 25 balls and Kohler-Cadmore 43 off 16 in chasing down the Tigers total of 112-6.
The Gladiators took that momentum forward to crush Samp Army by 28 runs. They posted 117-5 and restricted last year’s finalists to 89-6.
Gladiators will now defend their crown against the Strikers at Zayed Cricket Stadium at 7:30pm on Saturday.