They ended the Strikers’ seven-game winning streak while forcing Pollard to retire tactically.
Mushtaq Ahmed’s team entered the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Saturday evening knowing they needed to win three games in a row to maintain their Abu Dhabi T10 title, and they did just that.
Gladiators sneaked into the playoffs but were far too strong on the final weekend, defending their 94-run total against Team Abu Dhabi in the eliminator before successfully chasing down Morrisville Samp Army in the second qualifier.
Given the benefits of chasing in short-form cricket and the dew factor coming into play later in the evening, whoever won the toss in the final was always going to chase. On record, the New York Strikers were the best team in the league after finishing first.
Gladiator break Striker’s winning streak
They entered the final on a seven-game winning streak, and after winning the toss and opting to chase, there was every reason to believe that seven could turn into eight. The duo deftly handled the dangerous Rashid Khan before taking on Jordan Thompson and Wahab Riaz.
Wahab’s first two overs alone yielded 43 runs, with Wiese blasting him for 24 in the ninth. Wiese had only achieved 31 runs in nine games, but he surpassed that with an unbeaten 43 off 18 deliveries in the final. The big-hitting allrounder had saved his best bat for last.
Nicholas Pooran continues his dream touch
Meanwhile, Pooran continued his amazing form, scoring 40 runs off 23 balls to finish as the tournament’s highest run-scorer. Except for Pooran’s 345 runs, which included more sixes and fours than anyone else throughout Season 6 of the competition.
“I had a challenging year this year so it was good to come and play cricket with a smile on my face and just enjoy it,” he said after the game.
The strikers’ pursuit never got off the ground. Josh Little bowled the in-form Muhammad Waseem off the second ball of the innings, and after Mohammad Hasnain removed the lethal Paul Stirling and the veteran, Eoin Morgan, in the second over, the game was effectively over.
Azam Khan tried to reply by hitting Zahir Khan for four and six consecutively, but he was out the next ball by a flighted-up delivery, and the Strikers’ sorrow came full circle when Pollard tactically retired near the end of the innings. Little returned to dismiss Pollard’s replacement Rashid for his tenth wicket of the tournament, finishing with two wickets for four runs off two overs to secure the trophy.
“Four years, three finals, twice winners. It’s a wonderful feeling altogether,” said Gaurav Grover, the owner of Gladiators.