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Feature

Morgan turns back the clock as New York Strikers topple Deccan Gladiators

The former England captain is looking forward to seeing how Bazball goes in Pakistan

Aadam Patel
26-Nov-2022
Eoin Morgan hit an unbeaten 42 off 23 balls to ice New York Strikers' chase  •  Abu Dhabi T10

Eoin Morgan hit an unbeaten 42 off 23 balls to ice New York Strikers' chase  •  Abu Dhabi T10

It took nine games for a side to successfully chase down a target in the sixth season of the Abu Dhabi T10 and it came as no surprise to see Eoin Morgan there at the end as New York Strikers beat the reigning champions Deccan Gladiators by eight wickets.
Morgan may be past his prime and in the closing stages of his career but he rolled back the years to finish off the job at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The former England captain came in after Josh Little dismissed Andre Fletcher in the first over and navigated his side to their second win in three matches, with an unbeaten 42 off 23 deliveries.
It was a game that was in the balance until Morgan and Azam Khan took Odean Smith for 19 runs in the penultimate over, leaving the Strikers needing just six off the last over. And despite Little taking the game to the last delivery, Azam flicked the final ball away to get the single and seal victory for the Strikers.
"I think conditions have been different to previous years," Morgan said. "The couple of games that we've played before this have probably had a bit more bounce in the pitch and a bit more pace which is great for the game but it's just a case of adapting. Today, the wicket was a little bit slower as it was a day game so I think it's just taken a few days to adjust.
For Morgan, after some time working for Sky Sports over the T20 World Cup, he admitted that it has been nice to get back out in the middle over the past week.
"Yeah, I still love playing the game," he said. "It's obviously a completely different challenge to international cricket. The level of expectation just isn't there anymore. I'm here to enjoy myself."
That is pretty much where Morgan is at after calling it a day from international cricket in June and it remains to be seen whether he will enter the IPL auction after going unsold last year, but the Abu Dhabi T10 is benefitting from his services in what is now his fifth season playing the competition.
"I'm a huge fan of T10, I thoroughly enjoy coming," Morgan said. "It's just a fun tournament to play in and all the overseas players like coming here. Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place to play and tour. The one thing that playing in T10 does is that is exposes everything that is exposed in certain periods during a T20 game so when you look at powerplay and death bowling - the two biggest moments in T20 cricket. You have them in abundance in T10."
The Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub has seen an influx of England players over the past week with the Test squad and the touring Lions party in town. Around 60 of England's male cricketers have been enjoying the facilities and after seeing the red-ball set-up thrive in recent times under the leadership of his close friend Brendon McCullum, Morgan admitted his enjoyment but also his sense of regret.
"I still look at them and I'm very much jealous of the way that they're playing and the attitude they take into the game. It's a completely free-spirited attitude that epitomises what Brendon and Stokesy are about," Morgan said. "Over the years, we've tried playing defensively and traditionally and tried to bat for long and that hasn't worked so he's taken the initiative to change things that suit the personnel that he's bringing in and hopefully the success continues in the long-run. It certainly has short-term."
And with England embarking on their first tour to Pakistan in 17 years, the World-Cup winning captain shared his excitement at seeing how Bazball goes in Pakistan.
"Yeah, definitely [it's exciting]," Morgan said. "We experienced it when we first started our shift in 50-over cricket and it's actually more interesting to see how the opposition react and how they change because it has the power to make the opposition really think In Test cricket, you usually have a plan A and you stick with that for as long as you can. But against this England team, you need a lot more than just a plan A."

Aadam Patel is a freelance sports reporter who has written for BBC Sport, the Daily Mail, ESPNcricinfo, the Cricketer and other publications @aadamp9