The England opener hit 110 from 59 balls as Desert Vipers maintained their winning run at the start of the new competition with a 111-run thrashing of Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.
Hales’s effort was watched from the Royal Box at Zayed Cricket Stadium by David Cameron. The UK’s former prime minister is in the capital for three weeks, teaching politics students at the New York University Abu Dhabi.
It set the platform for the Vipers’ third win in succession, a run that leaves them top of the table. The Knight Riders, by contrast, are bottom having lost all four of their matches.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be the first centurion in a new and exciting competition,” Hales said.
“It was about being smart with the match ups. [Knight Riders captain] Sunil Narine is one of the best bowlers in the world.
“I was looking to rotate him for ones and twos, and then be positive with guys who are slightly more part-timers, and be aggressive and score runs.
“There were a few hacks, a few plinks, and a dropped catch. I had a little bit of luck along the way, but when you are in form, those little things tend to go your way. I’m going to try to keep enjoying riding the wave.”
The ILT20 has been set up with the aim of giving UAE players a platform to play alongside some of the stars of the world game.
Hales has struck up a partnership with UAE all-rounder Rohan Mustafa at the top of the order for the Vipers, who also have home-based players Shiraz Ahmed, Ali Naseer and Dhruv Parashar in their ranks.
“I think it is such a good experience for guys like that, to rub shoulders, train, play, and to pick the brains of some of the best players in the world,” Hales said.
“It is a huge chance for the local UAE players, and we have some exciting ones in our side.”