Sharjah: Alex Hales shattered the record of the highest individual score of the T10 League to steer Maratha Arabians to a seven-wicket victory over Bengal Tigers in the first Eliminator at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Hales cracked an unbeaten 87 off 32 balls, studded with eight sixes and six boundaries, to ensure his team a victory with five balls to spare.
Sent into bat, Bengal’s opener Luke Wright fell for a duck in the fourth ball of the first over from Roelof van der Merwe.
In the third over, Rashid Khan bowled skipper Sam Billings for only three but that did not stop Sunil Narine smashing two sixes in the same over.
When it looked like Bengal were stabilising, Sherfane Rutherford fell to Dwayne Bravo in the fifth over for seven runs.
Narine who was looking strong so far also succumbed for 40 to Richard Gleeson in the sixth over.
Mohammad Nabi, who hit James Faulkner for a six, along with Rikki Wessels shared a crucial 40-run stand in only 2.4 overs.
Bravo bowled Wessels for 17 and Kevon Cooper for a naught in the ninth over.
Nabi went on to hit Bravo for two sixes but Bravo had Nabi caught and bowled for 46.
In the last over, Mohammad Usman hit der Merwe for two sixes and swelled the total to 135 for seven.
Arabians’ chase began with opener and in-form aggressive batsman Hazratullah Zazai hitting the first ball and last ball of the opening over from Aamer Yamin for boundaries.
Hales took the aggressive route hitting Morne Morkel for a six and boundary off successive balls but the South African pacer hit back picking the prized wicket of Zazai for nine.
In the third over, Kevon Cooper packed off Najibullah Zadran for no score which got in Kamran Akmal. Akmal began striking it well from the first ball scoring a boundary and then hitting a maximum of Cooper.
At the halfway mark, Arabians needed 73 runs.
In the sixth over, Hales hit Nabi’s first ball for a six over deep square leg and reached his half century in 20 balls.
The second ball he dispatched it to deep midwicket, then scored a boundary in the following delivery only to further add two more impressive sixes and a four off the last delivery fetching him 32 runs in that over.
Akmal fell to Mujeeb Ur Rehman in the seventh over after adding 71 runs from 4.1 overs. When skipper Dwayne Bravo too hit Cooper for two sixes, the victory was just a formality.