Morrisville SAMP Army players and dignitaries pose during the unveiling of the jersey ahead of the match.
Mohammad Abdullah, Gulf Today
England’s vice-captain Moeen Ali credited the fearless brand of cricket as their key to success at the recently concluded T20 World Cup in Australia.
England defeated Pakistan in the World Cup final to claim the T20 title. With the victory, they also became the first team to hold both 50-over World Cup and World T20 titles simultaneously.
England decimated a timid Pakistan in the final with a dominant performance. They restricted Pakistan to a paltry 137 and went over the line for the loss of five wickets.
Pakistan did make some in-roads through their bowlers but failed to maintain the pressure as Ben Stokes hit a fifty to steer England to safety.
“We have been playing a fearless brand of cricket. We believe in playing attacking cricket. So this is the strategy and that seems to be working more times than not,” said Moeen.
The English all-rounder also said they were wary of Pakistan before the final.
“We knew Pakistan are a very good team and they could beat any team on a given day. So we were a little apprehensive before the final.
“But, we were also confident as we had been playing very aggressive cricket throughout the tournament and we deserved to win the title,” added Moeen, who was speaking on the sidelines of the jersey unveiling of the Morrisville SAMP Army.
Moeen was also named the captain of SAMP Army at the event. SAMP Army is the latest franchise to join the Abu Dhabi T10 League. The sixth edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 League is already under way. Two new teams have been added to the tournament.
Moeen squashed the rumours that the demons of the defeat of 1992 World Cup final were haunting England even after 30 years before kick-start of the T20 World Cup final in 2022.
Pakistan, who were almost ruled out of a place in the semis, got into the last four by virtue of South Africa’s loss to Netherlands. But Pakistan capitalised on that chance and beat New Zealand to set up the final showdown with England.
Pakistan had a faltering start in the 1992 World Cup and they limped into the final in similar fashion, in which Imran Khan-led Pakistan defeated England to lift their maiden World Cup crown.
“We knew that a lot of messages were swirling around on the social media. But we did not pay any attention towards them.
“We wanted to play Pakistan in the final. Because we had played with them in the bilateral series a few days ago. We had beaten them so we had a psychological advantage,” he added.
SAMP Army captain Moeen exuded confidence in his team and vowed to instil the same aggression in his team at the Abu Dhabi T10.
“We are going to play the same brand of cricket here. We will play fearless and aggressive cricket.
“I am very much confident of winning the title because we have a strong squad. All the players have been playing in some league or the other around the world and they are all experienced,” he stressed. Moeen’s team lived up to the claims of their captain as they got off to a winning start with a victory over Bangla Tigers in their debut match by 15 runs.
In the modern day cricket, the batsmen have become a pampered species and bowlers have been reduced to mere cannon fodder. Moeen, who is an all-rounder, said it is a challenging role for bowlers to play in T10 cricket.
“It is not easy to bowl in this format. It is very challenging. But at the same time it can be a great opportunity for any bowler. He can pick up three or four wicket and make a name for himself,” he said.
“In this format there are no clear favourites as this is very unpredictable. Any team can beat any team. So all the teams have equal opportunity irrespective of their experience,” he added.
Ritesh Patel, the owner of SAMP Army, said that he is very much delighted with the selection of his team.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have all these players in my line-up. I am confident that this team has the capability to win the title,” said Ritesh.
He also hinted at expanding his portfolio.
“This is our maiden foray into franchise cricket and we are looking forward to expand our portfolio in other leagues around the world.”
He also hoped that this will help in the growth of the popularity of cricket in the USA.
“I believe that our participation in the tournament like this will help in making cricket popular in the USA.”