Paul Stirling says he was “taken aback” when he learned he was the best run-scorer in Abu Dhabi T10 history, and he doesn’t expect to keep the title for long, given the nature of cricket’s shortest format. During Team Abu Dhabi’s first eliminator win over Bangla Tigers at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday, the Ireland hitter passed the milestone with a brilliant 57. Even though he added 10 more points in the second eliminator, it wasn’t enough to get the capital franchise into the final for the first time.

Stirling, who now has 739 runs from 34 innings to lead the Abu Dhabi T10 run-scoring charts, was disappointed not to have been able to help Team Abu Dhabi reach the showpiece on Saturday, but was pleased to move clear as the format’s record batter after another “amazing” experience in his fifth year of T10 cricket. The Abu Dhabi T10 League has been an incredible experience: Stirling, Paul

When apprised of his accomplishment, Stirling commented, “It’s taken me by surprise, I must say. I’ve been quite fortunate in that I’ve been able to participate in all five T10 tournaments thus far, and it appears that I’ve managed to score a few points during that time. It’s a lovely honour to have, but given how many people are whacking it at the moment, I’m sure there are plenty of others who aren’t far behind.

“It’s been an incredible experience [at the Abu Dhabi T10], both last year and this year. From a cricketing standpoint, it’s sad that we’re in the same situation as last year, but maybe we can continue to improve year after year.” Stirling was a champion with Kerala Kings in the first edition of the event, and he also played for Kerala Knights and Delhi Bulls until being signed by Team Abu Dhabi for the 2021 season in February.

Since then, it’s been a great fit, and Stirling was quick to applaud both Team Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Cricket for making him feel so at ease within the franchise and for the venue’s ongoing improvements. “Everything has been amazing,” he continued, “we’ve been very well looked after. I enjoy travelling to Abu Dhabi, and the city appears to be improving all the time, especially at the stadium. It’s been fantastic to be a part of.”