Abu Dhabi: Rinku Singh, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ left-handed batsman, may have had a forgettable 2019 season in the Indian Premier League (IPL), scoring just 37 in total from five matches, but he shone with the bat in the UAE to lead the Deccan Gladiators to title in the Abu Dhabi Cricket’s T20 Ramadan tournament at the Oval.

Singh, coming in at No. 7, smashed a sensational 104 runs as Gladiators defended their total of 166-7 in 20 overs and won by 31 runs against New Medical Centre (NMC).

The southpaw, who represents Uttar Pradesh in India’s Ranji Trophy and made his IPL debut for the Kings XI Punjab in 2017 before moving to KKR, smashed nine sixes and six fours in his century knock which came from just 58 balls.

Singh later was also very effective with the ball and claimed two wickets to walk away with the Man of the Match award as NMC were restricted to 135-9 in 20 overs.

The Gladiators looked like they would pay a heavy price for messing around with their batting order after taking the first share of the crease. Openers Mohammad Qasim fell cheaply for one to Ghulam Murtaza while his partner and prolific run scorer Yassir Kaleem’s stay at the crease lasted 10 balls before falling prey to Akif Raja for seven.

Shair Wali then struck two more telling blows to send back Mohammad Ikram (0) and the reliable Shivam Sharma (5).

Prashant Gupta became Afsand Yaar’s victim and Gladiators were reeling at 50 for 6. However, Singh then turned the match over its head with his blistering partnership of 112 with Kashif Daud, who remained unbeaten on 18.

Singh had played a similar stellar role while leading Alubond Tigers single-handedly to the 2017 Ramadan T20 title. Singh, then too, had smashed a brilliant 94 off 60 deliveries to beat UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa’s One Stop Tourism (OST) by three wickets.