Andrew Salter believes the lack of expectation on Glamorgan has led to them thriving after the Welsh side got their hands on the Royal London Cup by defeating Durham in the Trent Bridge final.
Glamorgan lost batsman Colin Ingram, wicketkeeper Chris Cooke, all-rounders David Lloyd and Dan Douthwaite and seamer Timm van der Gugten to the inaugural edition of The Hundred, but those left behind have stepped up.
Kiran Carlson was appointed one-day captain in the absence of Cooke and Lloyd and he led the way against Durham with a belligerent 82 from 59 balls that helped Glamorgan post a competitive 296 for nine after they lost the toss.
Glamorgan were therefore left celebrating their first piece of silverware since winning the National League in 2004, while this was their first knockout trophy success in 58 years.
An overjoyed Salter said: “The key thing was there wasn’t that expectation. We weren’t playing with the massive pressure of being the frontrunners, we were the underdogs, we lost a lot of key players to The Hundred.
“I suppose that gave us that little bit of freedom to play and to see what we could do. If there’s one thing to take it’s probably not to pile on the pressure or expectation but just trust the boys.
“I’m delighted, it’s just an unbelievable day and (I’m) just a bit overwhelmed. I want to make special mention to Kiran for his captain’s innings and just the way he’s led the boys, we’ve matured under him. It’s exciting times.”
In Graham Clark and Alex Lees, Durham had the two in-form batsmen of the competition, the pair having registered a combined 1,153 runs in eight matches to reach this stage, but both were sent packing by Salter in a crucial period.
He produced a moment of magic to beat the outside edge of Lees before Clark holed out, while Salter had his third top-order wicket when David Bedingham, another key batsman for Durham, was out for a duck.
Salter added: “We definitely knew that they were coming in with good form and good stats behind them. I’m not a massive guy to spend too much time in statistics and looking at players because of that.
“I think we all know how our cricket can differ from day to day, I’ve played against both of those guys a bit, Lees is a power player and so is Clarky.
“I just knew I had to be at the top of my game, I couldn’t give them anything loose for them to pick up their momentum. There was no magic plan.
“I’m trying to build some pressure and dot balls and hope when they take that risk to hit out I’ve got the fielder in the right place and I’ve bowled the right delivery. It worked out here, on other days it ends up 12 rows back.”
Durham lurched from 47 without loss to 74 for four, largely as a consequence of Salter putting the squeeze on, before Cameron Bancroft and Sean Dickson kept the north-east side afloat with half-centuries.
While Bancroft contributed 55, Dickson was ultimately left with too much to do and ran out of partners at the end, stranded on 84 not out from 83 deliveries, a fine innings containing eight fours and Durham’s only six.
Dickson said: “When it comes to finals cricket there’s always a big element of pressure. A lot of players make their own pressure and unfortunately it just didn’t fall our way.
“We can’t look back and umm and ahh about situations that we should have been better at because that’s the way cricket is. But all credit to Glamorgan, they just outplayed us in all aspects.”