Eoin Morgan’s half-century saw Kerala Kings book their place in the T10 League final after a five-wicket victory over Maratha Arabians.
Set a target of 97 at Sharjah Stadium, the England T20 and ODI skipper was in fine form, smashing four sixes and four fours in his 53-run knock off 32 deliveries.
His team’s cause was helped by Maratha Arabians’ Mohammad Amir, who was expensive in his two overs, conceding 26 runs including a no-ball six to Morgan.
For Maratha Arabians, just 12 balls into the game, they were already in big trouble on the final day.
Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir and England’s Liam Plunkett both took two wickets in their six deliveries as Alex Hales, Rilee Rossouw, Ross Whiteley and Asghar Stanikzai were all dismissed with just 19-4 on the scorecard.
By the time opener Kamran Akmal was caught by Wahab Riaz, Arabians were reeling 33-6 at the half-way stage.
Desperately, in need of boundaries, Dwayne Bravo (27) smashed two consecutive sixes off Kieron Pollard with Imad Wasim also getting into the act with two boundaries as Arabians racked up 37 in two overs.
A smart catch from Pollard saw Tanvir remove Wasim but late runs saw Arabians post 97-9.
Kings will play either Pakhtoons or Punjabi Legends in Sunday’s final.
The iconic Sharjah stadium came alive as over fifteen thousand fans witnessed the opening ceremony of the first ever-international T10 tournament on Thursday evening.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance cut the ribbon, unveiled the trophy and set the tournament underway after hailing the power and skill needed to play this shortest version of the game.
Sheikh Nahyan congratulated Shaji Ul Mulk, the man behind the initiative in his capacity as Chairman of the T10 League, as well all those owners and directors who came out and unstintingly supported this version of cricket. Also present was Dr Nowhera Shaik, Founder & CEO Heera Group, the title sponsor and Salman Iqbal, President, T10 Cricket League.
In a delightful and relaxed manner after the formalities, the six teams did a round of honor of the field each accompanied by dancers from the specific region the teams represent and appropriate music in the background. A riveting display by performance artists and choreographed dances on stage plus a light and sound spectacle truly heralded a great start to the four-day tournament.
Well known players like Shahid Afridi,Virender Sehwag, Darren Sammy and Shakib Al Hasan received lusty cheers as they walked past. Not to mention the warm welcome received by celebrity attendees including Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu, the wrestler the Great Khali, Suneil Shetty, Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan, to name a few.
Kerala Kings defeated the Bengal Tigers by eight wickets in the first T10 international ever played. In the second match, the Pakhtoons defeated the Maratha Arabians by 25 runs.
Friday will see four matches being played starting at 4pm.
Team Fujisoft Falcons were crowned B Division champions of the Y AXIS InSportz Indoor Cricket League after beating Team SFS by 22 runs.
Batting first, SFS scored two runs in their allotted 16 overs with Abdul Raheem Masood top-scoring with 15 runs.
With a low score, Team Fujisoft Falcons cruised to victory with Barjinder Singh (4), Sandeep Nazareth (7) and Muhammed Zaidi (9) impressing with the bat.
Hariharan Gurumurthi of Fujisoft Falcons was named player of the tournament, after scoring 57 runs as well as taking nine wicket for -4 runs.
In the C Division final, Khaleej Times defeated Infinity by 25 runs.