Sohail Akhtar hit a maiden Twenty20 century to power Lahore Qalandars to victory over Yorkshire Vikings by a six wickets and two balls to spare in the Abu Dhabi T20 at the Zayed Cricket stadium on Thursday.
Opening the inning for the first time in his career and playing his first game in Abu Dhabi the Qalandars captain battled through cramps in energy sapping conditions to setup his team’s triumph.
Sohail reached his century off 54 balls but hit the next straight to the mid-off fielder to leave his side needing 20 to win off 12 balls, which Phil Salt (37) and Abdul Razzaq (5) scored.
Salt did in in style by hoisting Bresnan’s fourth ball over the long-off for six in the Group A that also include Hobart Hurricanes whom they play on Friday at 3pm.
“We came here with a young team as most of our players are on national duty (against Australia),” said Sohail after his match-winning performance.
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“As a senior player I had a big role to lead from the front and I’m happy I was able to do that for my team.”
Sohail won the toss and elected to field first and it paid off with the dew factor increasing as the night progressed.
“That was the plan,” added Sohail. “We anticipated the dew to be more when you bat second but it was still a very close and exciting game. It was important for us to win the first game in this format and now looking forward for the next against Hobart.”
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Qalandars electing to bowl first had an early success when Zulfiqar Babar struck in the very first over to dismiss Tom Kohler Cadmore (2) in the first over.
Adam Lyth (32) and Harry Brook (37) came together to share a 58-run partnership for the second wicket to lay the platform for the middle order to chip in with useful contributions.
Gary Ballance (33) Jonathan Tattersall (36) and Jack Leaning (26 not out) took Yorkshire to 184 for five.
Lyth and Ballance added 50 for the fourth wicket after the left arm seamer Shaheen Afridi provided a double blow by removing both Brook and Lyth in successive overs.