Abu Dhabi, 28 January 2021:
Defending champions Maratha Arabians, riding on UAE’s wicketkeeper-batsman Abdul Shakoor’s whirlwind knock of 73 runs off 28 balls studded with five sixes and seven boundaries, pulled off an exciting five-wicket win off a last-ball thriller in the opening match of the fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 at the Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Northern Warriors posted a challenging 127 for 2 but Maratha Arabians, displaying their winners’ traits that helped them win the title last year, got off to a winning start. The match lived up to this format’s edge of the seat thriller trademark when Maratha Arabians needed eight runs off the last over. Despite South African left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell giving away only three runs off the first four balls, Maratha Arabians young 25-year-old captain Mosaddek Hossain from Bangladesh hit the fifth and sixth ball to the boundary to pull off a last-ball win.
Earlier, Maratha Arabians won the toss and elected to field. Opener Brandon King and Lendl Simmons gave Northern Warriors a fluent start. 26-year-old King from Jamaica hit the first six of the tournament off the third ball of the match from Nepal’s Sompal Kami over mid-wicket. In the next over, West Indies experienced opener Simmons unleashed his strokes and hit Afghanistan’s Yamin Ahmadzai for three boundaries to take 16 runs off that over. In the fourth over, King played some glorious shots. He hit Mohammad Hafeez for three sixes to take 21 runs off that over.
The opening pair put on 62 runs in 5.1 overs when King got run out in a mix up off a direct throw from wicketkeeper Abdul Shakoor for 29. Next man Nicholas Pooran too would have followed three balls after but for Ishan Malhotra who dropped his catch when he was on 2 off Bangladesh’s medium pacer Mukhtar Ali.
Pooran celebrated his luck by hitting Ali for a six and a boundary off the next two deliveries. Bangladesh’s off-spinner Mosaddek Hossain and Ali bowled a tight seventh and eight overs giving away 11 and five runs respectively. Ali also removed the dangerous Pooran in the eighth over by having him caught at deep midwicket by Sompal Kami for 19.
In the ninth over, Simmons on 43 escaped being caught behind as Shakoor dropped an outer edge off Yamin Ahmadzai. Next batsman Rovman Powell hit 22 runs in just seven balls to accelerate the Warriors’ run flow. Even the last ball of the innings from Kami was hit by Powell for a six. Simmons remained unconquered on 54 off 31 balls with seven boundaries and one six.
Chasing their target of 128, Maratha Arabians lost an early wicket when Afghanistan opener Javed Ahmadi got caught at long-on by Powell off the third ball of the first over from Sri Lankan off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana for 6.
From the second over, opener Shakoor, who has played three One Day Internationals and six T20 Internationals for UAE began to hit out. He hit Wayne Parnell for 18 runs which included a six and two boundaries. In the third over he was more aggressive and hit Wahab Riaz for 23 runs which included two sixes and a boundary. Shakoor reached his half-century in just 14 balls. In the fifth over, Fabian Allen removed Laurie Evans having him caught at extra cover by King for 9. In the last five overs, Maratha Arabians needed just 49 runs with Pakistan’s experienced batsman Mohammad Hafeez and Shakoor in full flow. Hafeez fell for 19 off Allen in the seventh over getting caught at mid-wicket.
When ten runs were needed off eight balls, Shakoor fell top-edging Emrit to fine leg for 73. This was followed by the last over drama that resulted in Maratha Arabians walking away as the winners.
Maratha Arabians bt Northern Warriors by five wickets. Northern Warriors 127 for 2 in 10 overs (Brandon King 29, Lendl Simmons 54, Rovman Powell 22) Maratha Arabians 131 for 5 in 10 overs (Abdul Shakoor 73, Fabian Allen 2 for 11) Man of the match: Abdul Shakoor