Chris Lynn hit the highest score in the brief history of the T10, but fell just short of becoming its first centurion.
The Australian opener seemed set to become the first player to reach the milestone in official professional competition in the 10-over format, amid a barrage of sixes.
However, he was deprived enough strike in the final few overs, and was left unbeaten on 91 as Maratha Arabians posted 138-2 against Team Abu Dhabi. They won by 24 runs after restricting Team Abu Dhabi to 114-3.
“When you get that close to a hundred, you want to get there, but at the end of the day the guy at the other end [Adam Lyth] was hitting boundaries as well,” Lynn said.
“Yes, it would have been nice to get the first hundred of the T10, but there are plenty more games in this tournament to try and get there.
“Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity. I’m just pleased with the result. It has taken me three games to hit a six. In T10 you want to get off with a bang. It has been a slowish start, but I am here now, and more importantly the team has back-to-back wins.”
Lynn’s effort, which took 30 balls and included nine fours and seven sixes, bettered the previous highest score in this tournament – 87 not out by Alex Hales last season.
The fact he had to watch on from the non-striker’s end for much of the final three overs meant he missed out on becoming the first to register a ton in T10 competition.
Two players have managed it unofficially. Sherfane Rutherford hit a century in a practice match ahead of last season, while Will Jacks did it in a tune up to the English county cricket season, played in Dubai earlier this year.
Lynn’s salvo was all the more remarkable for the fact scores have generally been on the lower side since the tournament moved from Sharjah Cricket Stadium to Abu Dhabi for this new season.
The playing area at Zayed Cricket Stadium is far larger than in Sharjah, while the general feeling among the players had been that the pitch was slower in pace in the opening days, too.
Lynn’s blitz made a joke of those theories, though, as the tournament caught fire on its fourth day in the capital.
Earlier in the day, Kieron Pollard had hit 30 in one over from Sandeep Lamichhane, as the game’s biggest hitters showed that even the vast dimensions of this ground cannot contain them.
Yuvraj Singh sat the game out with a back spasm, but he was impressed by his Arabians teammate Lynn’s effort with the bat.
He suggested Kolkata Knights Riders will rue to decision to release him from their Indian Premier League side.
“It shows how the game has evolved, that guys are getting close to scoring a century in a T10 game now,” Yuvraj said.
“It is amazing how the game has changed over the years. Chris played an unbelievable innings.
“He is someone I have seen in the IPL, and has given some great starts to KKR. I really don’t understand how they didn’t retain him.
“I think that is a bad call. I must send [KKR owner Shah Rukh Khan] a message about that. He was really outstanding.”
For all Lynn’s dynamism, Team Abu Dhabi had been well placed in the first half of their run-chase, especially when Moeen Ali was at the crease. After he went for 31 from 11 balls, though, their challenge faltered.
Moeen, Team Abu Dhabi’s captain, said that Lynn’s innings showed that it will be possible to score a century in 10 overs, and predicted it will happen “very soon”.
“He was close, but he didn’t get much of the strike in the last couple of overs,” Moeen said.
“He was so good today, so strong. T10 is made for someone like him. When they come off, they are difficult to stop.
“We know there are players in the competition who can do it [score a T10 century], definitely. I am sure it is going to happen very soon.”