Abdul Shakoor blasts Maratha Arabians to thrilling victory over Northern Warriors in Abu Dhabi T10 opener

Out-of-favour UAE international smashes match-winning 28-ball 74, while Pune Devils ease past Deccan Gladiators in second game at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Thursday

Maratha Arabians v Northern Warriors Abu Dhabi T10 Season 4. Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi. 28th January 2021. Courtesy Abu Dhabi T10
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Out-of-favour UAE international Abdul Shakoor emerged the unlikely hero for Maratha Arabians as they began their Abu Dhabi T10 title defence with a thrilling last-ball victory over Northern Warriors.

On the tournament's opening night at Zayed Cricket Stadium on Thursday, Shakoor blasted a 28-ball 74 that contained five sixes and seven fours, to set the platform for his side to clinch a five-wicket win after being set a tough target of 128.

Maratha nearly stumbled at the last when Shakoor departed with 10 runs was needed from eight deliveries.

Warriors left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell brought the equation down to five from two balls, before the Maratha captain Mosaddek Hossain hit two fours to take them over the line.

“I have no words to describe what I did in the middle tonight,” Shakoor said of his match-winning knock.

“It was very tough to come out of quarantine and play a match at this level. I just had one hour of practice the previous night. It was really difficult to spend four days inside a room and then come out and play against a big team like the Northern Warriors.”

Shakoor, 32, has been overlooked by the UAE but the wicketkeeper batsman believes his performance on the night may improve his chances of a return.

“I’m not in the UAE team anymore but should I get another opportunity I want to do even better, he said.

“I enjoyed my batting which was the easiest part for me. However, we dropped a few catches, which need to improve in the coming games. This start will give the team a massive boost.

“I got to score for my team in this game and hopefully I can take this momentum forward.”

The Warriors, sent into bat first, put up a challenging score courtesy of the West Indian quartet – Lendl Simmons, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell.

Simmons led the charge with a 31-ball 54 not out, sharing a 62-run opening stand with King (29 run out).

Pooran smacked a six and two fours in a nine-ball 19 and Powell blasted two sixes and two fours for a seven-ball unbeaten 22.

In the night's second game, Kennar Lewis stroked an unbeaten half century as Pune Devils defeated Deccan Gladiators by seven wickets.

The West Indian opener clubbed half-a-dozen sixes and three fours in his unbeaten knock guiding his side past their target of 105 with four balls to spare.

Pune, electing to field first, restricted Deccan’s to 104-5. The Bangladesh international Nasir Hossain (3-18) and Oman’s Munis Ansari (2-11) took five wickets between them to cause the damage.

In the night’s final game, Johnson Charles' 35-ball 73 for Bangla Tigers went in vain as the Delhi Bulls won by seven wickets with seven balls to spare.